DotCom Therapy is now Huddle Up

Here's the Secret to Building a Thriving School Community

This article was originally published on DotCom Therapy and has been updated as DotCom Therapy is now Huddle Up.

If there’s one thing we know about schools, it’s that they believe strongly in their students.

Through our partnerships with school districts around the country, we’ve seen innovative groups of people coming together to bring about creative solutions for their communities because they know that if a student’s support network is thriving, it increases the student’s opportunity for success as well. In fact, according to the Equity Matters: Research Review No. 5, “over 40 years of steadily accumulating evidence show that family involvement is one of the strongest predictors of children's school success and that families play pivotal roles in their children's cognitive, social, and emotional development from birth through adolescence.”

So, if family involvement is one of the most critical indicators of educational success, you may be wondering how we go about helping to facilitate a higher level of community involvement in schools.

If you’re a school administrator or PTO member looking for how to promote community involvement in your school, we’ve got you covered. Here’s some insight into the backbone of an exceptional school experience, as we have seen it played out with our partner districts, and how to create one for your students and their families.

Connection Is Key

How would you define a thriving school community? For most of us, our answer would have something to do with relationships. It might be strong bonds between teachers and students or a collaborative dialogue between a principal and parents. However you slice it, relationships and interpersonal connections are fundamental parts of any flourishing community.

At Huddle Up, we have seen this play out through our interactions with the schools and families that we serve. Through developing relationships during teletherapy sessions, parent coaching sessions, or IEP meetings conducted with a team approach in mind, our therapists and the school staff come alongside families and their communities to trade ideas and collaborate together for the betterment of students.

The Building Blocks Of Connection

In order to create connection, your school needs two things: communication and opportunity.

You can help foster communication between the school and its surrounding community by spearheading a school event calendar or inviting a school representative to be your group’s main point of contact for questions and concerns. You could also suggest holding a town hall meeting, where teachers, parents, and staff alike can come and participate in a respectful discussion about school priorities. Providing information for families through newsletters, or resources like Huddle Up’s podcast, Helping Kids Thrive, adds an extra layer of support for families who don’t know where to get information and encouragement in their parenting journey.

Additionally, one of the best ways to promote community involvement in schools is to provide opportunities for engagement. Schedule intentionally planned events that cater to the needs and interests of your specific community, such as school fun nights like a carnival or picnic, in addition to events that provide learning opportunities.

For example, DotCom Therapy, now Huddle Up, partnered with a school district to hold ‘Community Enrichment Nights’ for families to learn more about how they can support their children's social and emotional skills.

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Prioritize Individual Wholeness

When it comes to creating connection, there’s one more important piece of the puzzle: emotional well-being.

If a student’s needs aren’t being met, or they are anxious or depressed, they’ll be less likely to communicate with their school community or engage in fun events. In order for relationships to be strong, individuals, especially children, need to have the right tools to navigate their own feelings and mental health, and families need resources in order to meet their student’s basic and educational needs.

To that end, make your students’ and staff’s well-being a top priority. Consider offering mental health and behavioral counseling and social/emotional services for students via teletherapy. This allows them to learn and develop tools and strategies with a qualified mental health professional without having to leave the school. The more mentally healthy your school community is on an individual level, the healthier your collective relationships will be - which, above all, lays a strong foundation for a thriving community.

Interested in helping your students, their families, and your entire community excel?