Grants, Budgets, Numbers, Spreadsheets vs. Family Engagement

So I want to be less cryptic about my current position. As mentioned last week, I am the Family Engagement Coordinator. As such, I support schools’ efforts to engage families in meaningful, authentic learning experiences. Family engagement goes beyond inviting families to school for meals and student performances. While that certainly is one component of creating a welcoming environment, family engagement really focuses on “doing with” families—teaching families how to support and continue their child’s learning outside of the school building; sharing decision making with families about school direction; providing opportunities for families to interact with the school during the school day; the list goes on. As the coordinator, I help school staff further cultivate their current initiatives and offer suggestions for new opportunities. It taps into my drive to lead professional learning and communicating. I certainly love it!

 

Another facet of my job is managing a specific grant for after school programming. When I first started this job, I looked forward to the management side. However, I did not realize how much I WOULD LOVE IT! The fulfillment of writing, rewriting, number crunching, researching, analyzing, reviewing, editing, and so forth came quickly and naturally.   The joy of this work was unexpected but I welcomed it. I often compare it to a giant puzzle piecing together a dynamic portrait of a successful after school program. Currently, the grant is at midyear evaluation submitting data for program success and documentation of accurate accounting and spending. Oddly, this part is equally (if, I dare not say, actually more) exciting as the original writing and submission.

 

While my job has multiple parts beyond managing a grant and supporting engagement, it is these two parts that have truly captured me. Today, I cannot tell you which of the two I like best because I love it all. But if forced to choose just one today, I would say I am a fan of puzzles. But tomorrow, when hearing a family engagement success story, I’d say, ”I love my job!”

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