Reflection on Wheel Results
The first step to cultivating the Roots in your school or district is to use the wheel with staff AND the community. You can use the Holistic Engagement Wheel through existing representative committees and groups, such as an LCAP Parent Advisory Committee, LCAP Student Advisory Committee, District and School English Learner Advisory Committee, School Site Council, and Community School Advisory Council.
In collaboration with families, students, and staff, districts and schools should develop a completed Holistic Engagement Wheel that accurately reflects progress toward implementing the Six Essential Roots.
You can choose from several protocols to help groups come to a consensus. Users can find protocols in the CEI Protocol Toolkit. View the Resources page to locate resources and strategies within the CEI Protocol Toolkit.
Identifying Areas of Strength and Growth
Schools and districts can use their Holistic Engagement Wheel to identify deep roots- those with high implementation levels. There is reason to celebrate these successes and to ensure schools/districts sustain the actions and initiatives that provided evidence for the point.
After noting and celebrating strong roots, schools and districts should pivot and examine those with lower ratings. These are the areas of growth where the Essential Roots need to be cultivated.
Schools and districts should select at least one Essential Root as a focus area for growth. The following section will share resources that can help organizations improve.
Strategies, Activities, and Resources: Growing Your Roots
For each of the Six Essential Roots of Community Engagement, you will find links to resources and ideas to help your school or district address the roots you’ve identified for targeted growth.
A few evidence-based strategies supporting Root 1:
- Build time into each meeting with families and students to intentionally build positive relationships. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 3 Relationship Building.
- Select a metric to track and monitor this root as you build trusting relationships with families and students (formative assessment data, reading scores, SEL measures, attendance rates, disciplinary referral rates, for example.)
- Develop practices where relationship building becomes the norm so when challenges occur, the positive relationships exist already.
- Go beyond statute requirements in sharing accountability data with the community. Use public board presentations, emailed information, and social media to expand your reach.
- Train school and district staff in Active Listening skills and strategies.
- Use community agreements for committees, councils, and roundtables.
- Consider power dynamics in meetings, committees, and councils. Adjust participant numbers and processes to shift power toward families and students. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 9 Shared Leadership
- Build relationships equitably, considering race, ethnicity, economic situation, language, and other factors that may marginalize a group.
- If trust has been broken in the past, take time to intentionally build trust and healing in meetings and forums.
A few evidence-based strategies supporting Root 2:
- Allow for authentic shared decision making. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 1 Shared Decision-Making and Protocol Group 9 Shared Leadership.
- Provide professional learning that builds staff belief in the expertise of families and students.
- Openly challenging statements and actions that suggest involving the community will lead to bad decisions.
- Educate families, students, and staff about LCAP, School Plans, and Community Schools governance so their input and decision-making align with statutes.
- Allow all family and student interest groups to be a part of decision-making, whether as a whole or in a representative role.
- Spend school and/or district financial resources to provide families and students with opportunities to build leadership skills.
- Use an Assets Map process to determine your community’s expertise and assets.
- For example, create a parent academy, parent leadership group, or bring in one of the many organizations, such as Families in Schools and the California Association for Bilingual Education, who can provide parent and family leadership.
A few evidence-based strategies supporting Root 3:
- Ensure all staff, not just Family and Community Engagement (FACE) staff, engage in professional learning around effective community engagement research and practices, particularly those used to reach marginalized community members.
- Implement learning resources and routines for staff, families, and students that offer opportunities to develop the following skills- relationship-building, facilitation, empathy, and understanding of power and privilege.
- Develop a formal definition of community engagement for your school or district. Determine how you will measure it.
- Provide staff with easy access to resources that help them improve community engagement and inclusive practices.
- Make community engagement skills part of job descriptions and interview processes.
- Assess and reflect on the impact of community engagement learning. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 8 Self-Assessment/Reflection
A few evidence-based strategies supporting Root 4:
- Develop school and district goals that explicitly provide resources for effective community engagement.
- Ensure actions align with commitments to shared leadership and decision-making. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 1 Shared Decision-Making and Protocol Group 9 Shared Leadership.
- District and school leaders should model inclusive practices and problem-solving. Provide ongoing opportunities to learn and grow these skills.
- District and school leaders can use strategies that support discussions and personal growth about race and develop open-mindedness. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 6 Open-mindedness
- Provide district and school staff professional learning opportunities that develop their own cultural competence.
A few evidence-based strategies supporting Root 5:
- Create opportunities for staff, families, and students to learn the use of Constructivist Listening.
- Conduct empathy interviews to grow an understanding of your community’s racial and cultural makeup.
- Use strategies that support discussions about race and develop open-mindedness. See CEI Protocol Toolkit- Protocol Group 6 Open-mindedness
- Ensure that documents and resources for the community are available in multiple languages and at a level that is easy for all to access. Include visual or picture representations to enhance understanding.
- Provide district and school staff professional learning opportunities that develop their own cultural competence. Provide these same opportunities to families and students.
A few evidence-based strategies supporting Root 6:
- Let families and students contribute to program and policy evaluations.
- Ensure that documents and resources for the community are available in multiple languages.
- Commit funding to purchase equipment for simultaneous translation for meetings and workshops.
- Ensure the vocabulary, acronyms, and professional terminology used with the community are accessible to all.
- Gather feedback from families, students, and staff about what community-friendly looks like in your district/school context and ask them for specific recommendations for improvement.
- Create documents such as LCAP Overviews, one-pagers, school plan summaries, and short videos that support community members’ understanding of statute-related forms and templates. (See examples in the Root 6 In Action recording from Lesson 2)