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Family engagement specialists play vital part in the school community

In August 2003, Hampton City Schools hired new positions in six of the Title I schools.  These positions were called parent involvement facilitators.  At the time, this was a brand new position in HCS.  Diane Greene served as the coordinator of the original program and helped to create the guidelines of the position.  Chanda Epps, who now serves as the Title I coordinator of family engagement, was one of the first employees to hold this position. Fourteen years later, the position is called family engagement specialist (FES) and the Division currently has 13 serving in the following schools:

Aberdeen Elementary School
Andrews PreK-8 School
Bassette Elementary School
Booker Elementary School
Bryan Elementary School
Cary Elementary School
Davis Middle School
Forrest Elementary School
Lindsay Middle School
Machen Elementary School
Smith Elementary School
Syms Middle School
Tyler Elementary School

According to Epps, the position was aligned with guidelines from the federal government and created to engage and work with families to meet their needs.  The position is paid with federal Title I funds.  She said her primary job is to work with the FES and to provide training and assistances to the 13 individuals who hold this position.  The group meets monthly and each new FES is provided with a mentor to assist them.

“The job (FES) has many different pieces and you have to find the balance,” said Epps.  “It includes hands-on-training and shadowing others during the initial stage of the job.”

“In my role as Family Engagement Specialist at Jefferson Davis Middle School, I am honored to provide resources and support services to families, students and staff,” said Stephanie Cartwright.  “I love the opportunities that I am given everyday to build home, school, and community partnerships that foster student achievement and success, both academically and socially.”

The FES is involved in many aspects of school life including greeting parents and students each morning, coordinating volunteers, coordinating Family Nights, creating and distributing flyers and newsletters, and maintaining a presence on social media.  The FES sends regular messages to parents through Dojo (a digital app to build classroom community) and other outlets available.  Parents may access the Family Resource Center where they have access to computers for resume writing, to view job postings, and access their child’s grades through parent portal.  The FES is available to help parents during their visits to the resource center.

The FES helps to diffuse situations that arise in the school and they work as an advocate for the parent and child.  In addition, they work closely with the school counselors, social workers, and nurse to help the child’s needs be met so he or she can be successful and focused on school.

“As a family engagement specialist at Bassette Elementary School, my daily focus is to strengthen the whole family,” said Diane Campbell. “We work to paint a brighter future for our scholars and their families by modeling ways to be successful and challenging everyone’s growth.”

FES work closely with the community to find ways that community partners can help support the students and parents.  Some of these ways are through lunch buddies, tutors, reading buddies, and community gifts (i.e. coats, shoes, school supplies).  Faith-based partners also work with the FES to provide services to the schools.

Amy Killian, FES at Tyler Elementary School, said, “One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to connect our incredible community partners to family needs within the school.  Just last year we had a grandma with six kids in her custody who were sleeping on air mattresses. Grandma was doing her absolute best to make things work to feed and clothe everyone and pay the rent. Her students were always at school, on time, and she was a familiar face within our school walls. When we presented her need to our board of partners, the response was overwhelming. Within two weeks we were able to bless that family with two brand new solid wood bunk bed sets, four brand new mattresses, and four sets of new bedding. The donations were a team effort from two of our faith-based partners and two of our business partners. That is just one example of the numerous occasions when our partners have reached out and met practical needs within our school family. It is a gift for me to be the liaison for such outreaches, because I get to see first-hand the immense gratitude on the family's faces.”  

Epps says that the Title I department conducts surveys each spring and fall to monitor the success of the program and to discern what is working well and what they can improve on.

"We are committed to working collaboratively with our schools, families, and community to create partnerships that not only empower families, but also positively impact student success, both academically and socially,” said Epps. “Our family engagement team works to ensure family events are aligned with school goals to reinforce key skills and also allow parents/guardians to connect with the school in a welcoming, relaxed setting. Another essential element of our program is that each Title I school has a robust network of community partners. Family engagement specialists provide multiple opportunities throughout the school year for parents and guardians to connect with community resources, support services, and local programs.”


©2017 HAMPTON CITY SCHOOLS All rights reserved - One Franklin Street, Hampton Virginia 23669 - 757-727-2000

HCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or other protected classes in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Robbin G. Ruth, Executive Director, Human Resources, One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA 23669 757-727-2000. 

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY NOTICE

PURPOSE

Hampton City Schools (HCS) is committed to making its website accessible for all, including individuals with disabilities, and strives to ensure accessibility currently and as new technologies emerge.  The division welcomes questions and feedback on the site’s accessibility at each development phase.  By clicking on “Contact” at the upper right of the main webpage, all users are able to “Help Resolve a Concern,” “Share a Story,” “Provide Feedback,” and “Ask a Question.”  Additionally, the Contact Us page provides direct email access to HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, vcarper@hampton.k12.va.us

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Please note that some pages on the HCS website contain links to third-party sites.  HCS is not responsible for the content, facts, opinions or accessibility of third-party sites.

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The majority of pages in our site are available in HTML format that can be deciphered by screen readers. Some documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF), which require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

  • To download this free program, visit the Adobe website.
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Also, many popular browsers contain built-in accessibility tools, and there are other plug-ins that make websites more accessible.

The HCS website is designed and monitored by HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, who serves as the gatekeeper for website content and accessibility.   The Webmaster is under the direction of the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, supervised by the Director of Graphics.
 
Web visitors using assistive technology who may have trouble accessing information on the website may contact the HCS Webmaster, vcarper@hampton.k12.va.us., the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, dgulotta@hampton.k12.va.us and/or the Director of Graphics, mhouser@hampton.k12.va.us.

When submitting a question or concern via email, “accessibility” should be included in the subject line.  Every reasonable attempt will be made to address the user’s concern within twenty-four hours.  To assist HCS in responding appropriately, all inquiries should include the following information:

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SELF-MONITORING

HCS monitors all technology resource activity and requires all employees, students and individuals with access to HCS computer systems and networks to annually read and sign an Acceptable Use Policy.  See School Board Policy IIBEA for Students; School Board Policy GBBB for Employees.

Our continuing goal is for the HCS website to be accessible to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that statute's implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 104, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and that statute's implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

Good faith efforts are being made to ensure that our website complies with web accessibility standards. In addition to the federal regulations above, we are actively working to conform to level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Prior to posting new website content, the HCS Webmaster determines if the proposed content meets the criteria of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  Periodically the HCS Webmaster checks the website with a recognized website checker such as 508 Checker and WAVE.  If the audit identifies issues of concern or content errors that impede accessibility to any user, the concerns/errors are evaluated and remedied within a six-week period.

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HCS’s website and computer systems and networks are provided on an “as available” basis.  HCS makes no warranties, expressed or implied, without limitation, regarding the fitness for a particular purpose regarding any service provided by the system and any information contained or software used therein.  The division uses hardware and software provided by third-party technology vendors.  Therefore, the division does not warrant that the functions or services performed by, or that the information or software on the system, will meet the user’s requirements.