Are you as a school wondering how to increase community engagement with your families? In this post we introduce briefly the work of Caldwell & Harris which is based on the International Project to Frame the Transformation of Schools. We show in part how schools are progressing in their pursuit of transformation and introduce a tool that schools can use to do build social capital within and beyond their school communities.
The role that ‘social capital’ plays as a useful asset or advantage in the transformation of schools is a key part of the process outlined by Caldwell & Harris (2008). Successful schools in the study revealed the importance of networks, including relationships with other schools or education providers, members of the local community, businesses and other organisations. Schools accept that support from the community has a reciprocal obligation for the school to contribute to the building of community.
In my own work, I have noticed a growing interest in community engagement by schools who are thinking about the value of broader community connectedness. One school I met with this week are looking for ways to increase their engagement with families, business networks and alumni on a more meaningful and practical level. After contacting us, their officer shared “It has been a good strong internal community. Now we need people to see who we are outside these walls”. Sadly though, often the know-how and tools for schools to connect on a more meaningful and purposeful level with their community is lacking, and creative ways beyond the basic newsletter or standard fete are much needed.
One initiative that is being launched soon is a services-finding platform called B2Me. B2Me is built around a social media design and serves as a digital business directory that the school can use to connect their members as well as with the broader community on a very practical level.
The Early Access version is Free and about to be rolled out to interested schools and other community groups in Perth. If you are interested in knowing more about digitising your business network directory or want a link to view the early release site, contact me via email@example.com.
Caldwell, B. J. & Harris, J. L. (2008). Why not the best schools? Camberwell, Australia: ACER Pr