Family Engagement Worskshops: Zoom Sessions… A Pivot That Will Stick

Workshops via zoom . It’s been a silver lining of this pandemic.

We can connect with families easier and provide them access to some learning opportunites. Hooray. When I got an email from Julia Goodman, Family Resource Coordinator at Beechgrove Elementary, asking if I would do workshops for her Parent Engagement program, I was ecstatic and honored. And what I’ve learned is that this format just works… and thanks to Julia’s phone call and inspiration, I’ve started working with other parent groups. Parents are hungry to learn easy strategies to use with their kids. I’ve gotten lots of inquiries, so I wanted to share some possibilities for reaching out to families. It is easy to replicate and you could 100% create a verion of this. (Needless to say, if you want to contact me to do workshops with your school/district parent groups contact me. I’m happy to send the info on how we can collaborate (and it’s a great way to get admin/PTA on board with SEL).

OPTION 1: Do a Virtual Parent Workshop/Family Engagment Program

This is how I did the parent workshop at my school with my counseling partner and also at a few local schools. This is probably the most common format.

  1. Book a date and determine a topic. (Consult with your advisory councils if you have them/admin/PTA to partner)
  2. Get a Speaker OR Prepare your Own Presentation. (I recommend 30 -45 minutes max… zoom faitgue is real for attendees)
  3. Advertise, put in announcements, send emails, put it on the marquee.
  4. These can be done in the morning (Coffee with the Couselor), mid-day (Lunch & Learn), or at evening. All can work.
  5. Send a link of the recording to your parents to those who were unable to attend. I usually post it in an unlisted YouTube video and send as a link. This has allowed the workshop to be seen by many more families and allows access for those with conflicts..

OPTION 2: OFFER A PARENT SERIES OF PRE-RECORDED 30 MINUTE WORKSHOPS.

This is the format I did with 6 districts/schools in Kentucky. I will explain how it seemed to work, but each district set it up differently.

  1. A pre-recorded session / parent workshop was prepared each month. (Want me to contract me to set up the content? Click here)
  2. Send your families the link to the workshop as well as a Google Form/Microsoft Form so you can hear what stuck with them about the 30 minute session.
  3. Incentivize families to listen to the session by giving away a gift card or two. You can do a drawing from the names of people who fill out the form.
  4. Attach handouts or links that go with the session to supplement learning for those interested.
Above are the 6 sessions I offered in the 2020-21 Year in the Parent Series

So, yes Zoom Family Engagements were a pivot needed to engage our community. And FOR REAL… it has allowed so much flexibility in spreading bite size nuggets of knowledge to parents/gueardians who welcome help to understand and thier kids in this uncertain world. Questions? Let me know. You can totally do this in your school in either format. Want to consult? Contact me.

Thanks to Julia and all the Family Resources Youth Services Coordinators in KY that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I’m looking forward to creating new content for 2021-22. For all the helpers out there … this school-family connection is so essential. Let’s do this!

And also, please share in the comments… what’s worked for your parent/family programs?

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