Two Clark County Public Schools have been recognized for their commitment to family engagement: Baker Intermediate School and Conkwright Elementary School have been certified as Family Friendly Schools by the Prichard Committee.
The Family Friendly Schools certification is awarded to schools that demonstrate a commitment to engaging families in their children’s education. Schools must meet a variety of criteria, including having a family engagement plan, providing opportunities for families to participate in school activities and communicating with families regularly. This is the second year that both schools have received the certification as both schools were also recognized in November 2022.
Both Baker Intermediate and Conkwright Elementary have a long history of family engagement. Conkwright Elementary Principal Megan Swart and Baker Intermediate Principal Josh Mounts enjoyed being able to highlight many of the things they had already been doing to encourage family engagement as well as consider other areas where improvements could be made.
The certification process was found to be relatively easy for both schools. They received great support from the Prichard Committee, which oversees the certification process. Swart said that the Prichard Committee employees were “helpful with any and all questions.” Mounts said that the multiple people from the Prichard Committee were “always willing to assist and provide guidance when needed.”
In order to complete the Family Friendly Schools application, the Prichard Committee encourages schools to form a small, diverse team of teachers, families, and building leaders. Both schools looked to their Family Resource Center (FRC) coordinators for assistance. At Conkwright Elementary, their Family Resource Center Advisory Council, which was already in place, was utilized as the engagement team. This group is the guiding force of the FRC and already aware of Conkwright’s initiative to serve students and families. Michelle Mitchell, Conkwright’s FRC Coordinator, was very involved in the process and a driving force behind family engagement.
At Baker Intermediate, Casey Davis, the FRC Coordinator, was instrumental as she had already developed an immense calendar of events to include and involve parents in many aspects of their child’s educational experience. These events ranged from opportunities to volunteer in the building to educational classes they could attend led by community members. Overall, input from a variety of stakeholders and community members was certainly key during the process of application completion.
Since both Conkwright and Baker were seeking recertification for the 2023-2024 school year, each building made some minor changes to their practices in order to meet the requirements of the certification. Conkwright Elementary updated its application to reflect the school’s ongoing growth and improvement. Baker Intermediate tweaked a few things to make various experiences better for the families it serves.
Both schools are committed to keeping their family engagement work alive. Conkwright Elementary will continue to work with the Prichard Committee to improve its Family Friendly status and opportunities for families and the community to work together to support student success. Baker Intermediate will continue to build on its strong foundation of family engagement to create a school where all families feel welcome and supported.
The Family Friendly Schools certification is a valuable recognition of Baker Intermediate and Conkwright Elementary’s commitment to family engagement. While Clark County is full of schools that are committed to embracing families and their contributions to student education, we are especially proud to have two officially certified Family Friendly Schools. Clark County is excited to shine a spotlight on the importance of family engagement and the great work that these schools are doing.
Alyson Hill is an instructional specialist with Clark County.