Burns Elementary School and Country Heights Elementary School are among the first five schools recognized as “Family Friendly Certified” by the Kentucky Collaborative for Families and Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education.
“Schools achieving Family Friendly status have demonstrated a commitment to embracing families as equal partners in student education. Burns Elementary and Country Heights Elementary are bright spots in the Commonwealth,” said Brigitte Blom, president and CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. “They have built the capacity of school leadership to understand and implement more effective family engagement best practices.”
Burns Elementary School was recognized for implementing home visits as part of their relationship-building process. Judges noted: “The equity component of two-way communication allows students to have a voice. They can choose a trusted adult to improve communication between school and home, giving students a sense of empowerment and (strengthening) partnerships with their school.”
Evaluators noted Country Heights Elementary School’s use of the books “Wonder” and “We’re All Wonders” to “introduce concepts that hold real-life values: kindness, resilience, and the importance of family.” Also recognized was CHES’s implementation of the “Golden Fork” program, an idea that was developed by students and designed to showcase and reward positive behaviors.
As part of the state-wide Family Friendly Schools Learning Network, a peer learning group of 60 Kentucky schools, these schools have been working to improve how the school partners effectively with families and community partners. Through the certification process, BES and CHES created teams consisting of families, classroom teachers and the principal of the school. The team used a self-assessment tool to evaluate what the school was doing well, areas in which there is room to improve relationships with families, and ways in which schools developed and implemented new practices to improve their Family Friendly score.