• IDRA Newsletter • June- July 2009

IDRA has previously published the principles underlying our Family Leadership in Education model, as well as how those principles apply directly to a school principal (see resources below). The article by Dr. Rogelio Lopez del Bósque on “Creating a Campus Culture of Teacher High Expectations and Support” includes some information about parent engagement. He was an excellent model of IDRA’s family leadership principles during his five-year role as principal of Eastwood Academy in the Houston Independent School District. Below are highlights of principal behaviors like his that are congruent with IDRA’s family leadership principles.

The family friendly principal creates a campus that is welcoming, warm and accepting of all families.

He or she models, expects all staff to emulate, and demands, respect and excellent customer service to all who enter the campus with a very special focus on the families of the students who are enrolled at the school.

The family friendly principal operates from a “valuing” perspective about children and their families.

All students and their families, regardless of social class, educational background or language spoken, are seen as having great merit, intelligence and many gifts to offer.

The family friendly principal sees parents and families as key resources for understanding the children and as partners in seeking the best way to teach the children.

Parents receive critical educational information in a language and vocabulary that is comprehensible to them. They are seen as a key resource on information about the students. Conversations, dialogue and many forms of two-way communication are the norm, and all parents’ ideas, concerns and suggestions are taken seriously.

The family friendly principal considers family input important in all aspects of the educational enterprise.

Conversations about budget, curricula and instruction are conducted with parents in meetings and one-on-one. Special efforts are made to explain jargon and complex educational concepts in ways understandable to those who are lay persons in relation to education.

The family friendly principal is creative in finding connections, collaborations and partnerships with families.

Parents participate in a variety of ways, although traditional volunteerism is replaced with more critical participation. Parents’ educational and participatory needs are considered, and relevant classes, events and participation opportunities are offered.

The family friendly principal not only says the words that are congruent with IDRA’s principles but walks the talk. Each principle is validated by the actual context of the school.

Articles and podcasts for more information…

Go to the IDRA Newsletter Plus for quick links.

Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at idra.org.

[©2009, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the June- July 2009 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]