Family Engagement

Family Engagement
Posted on 03/04/2016

The School District of the Menomonie Area (SDMA) strives toward a vision that includes quality, well-rounded educational experiences, high student achievement, well-prepared graduates, effective systems and staff, and the prioritized use of resources aligned with community expectations. Perhaps one of the most important parts of the vision of the school district, however, is the commitment we have for developing “strong partnerships with students, families, and the community in order to increase trust and shared responsibility”.

 This past week, the school district collaborated with The Arc of Dunn County to host a seminar related to Family Engagement. After a free dinner for everyone in attendance, Daniel Parker, a consultant from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, presented a message about family engagement. Parker shared a wealth of information about the importance of family engagement, a framework for thinking about family engagement in education, and suggestions for how family engagement can improve relationships and effectiveness in the school setting. While the focus of the event was well aligned with The Arc of Dunn County’s goal to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families, much of what was presented could be applied to other areas of education and our community as well.

 It was very encouraging to see so many parents, community members, and SDMA staff members in attendance at the family engagement event. The children in our school district are fortunate to grow up in a community that places such a high value on education and providing our youth with a safe, healthy, and supportive environment. Our community has a rich tradition of supporting our youth in many ways, including the support and encouragement that is provided for our children with learning disabilities or other special needs.

 Approximately 50 people listened to Parker’s presentation which included a video clip and discussion of best practices for family engagement by renowned educational expert Karen Mapp.  Dr. Mapp, a senior lecturer in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, shared that the best way for school districts to promote family engagement is to improve how we welcome families, how we honor the family’s role in the educational process, and how we connect with families and sustain relationships. 

 While I often observe SDMA educators regularly implementing many of these best practices, we are always looking for ways to better serve our community. By partnering with community organizations like The Arc of Dunn County and promoting best practices in our school district, we will continue to work with families and community members toward our school district’s mission of preparing ALL students in the School District of the Menomonie Area to be lifelong learners, caring individuals, and responsible citizens.

 Should school stakeholders have any questions about the School District of the Menomonie Area, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (