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5 Family and Community Engagement Strategies to Improve Student Outcomes

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Strong school-family-community partnerships bring exceptional value to children’s education. A recent book by Karen L. Mapp, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and four other co-collaborators synthesizes the available research to explain who benefits from these partnerships and the many advantages of family and community engagement.

Everyone Wins! The Evidence for Family-School Partnerships & Implications for Practice (Scholastic, 2022) cites various research to demonstrate how family-community-school partnerships benefit all stakeholder groups when they’re approached effectively:

  • Students have higher grades, better attendance, deeper engagement in school, greater self-esteem, and higher rates of graduation and college attainment.
  • Educators enjoy better job satisfaction, better success motivating students from different backgrounds, more family support, and an improved mindset about students and their families.
  • Families have stronger relationships with their children and better rapport with educators. They can navigate school policies and advocate for their children more effectively.
  • Schools enjoy a better climate, more support from their community, and improved staff morale—leading to better teacher retention.
  • School districts and communities become better places to live and raise children. They experience fewer disciplinary problems, greater participation in afterschool programs, and more family and student involvement in decision-making.
community members talking and hugging in matching green volunteer t-shirts in front of an outdoor mural

What elements make school-family-community partnerships particularly effective? Here are five tips for how school systems can successfully promote family and community engagement in education and drive better student outcomes.

1. Successful Family Engagement Requires Intentional Leadership

Engaging with families has to be a core activity and not just an afterthought. It requires a total commitment by school and district leaders, and this commitment must include investing in the tools and training needed to help educators effectively engage with families from all backgrounds. It must be a real and intentional focus, and as Mapp says: “It’s real when I see it on your budget sheets.”

2. Teachers and Administrators Must Communicate Clearly and Consistently

To encourage family involvement in their children’s education, educators must interact with families frequently—and in many ways. For instance, teachers and administrators might engage with families in person during school drop-off and pick-up periods, set up a Family Information Board in the school’s lobby, write and distribute regular newsletters or blog posts, and/or send emails or text messages to parents.

Communicating effectively is one of the National PTA’s “National Standards for Family-School Partnerships,” which guides how schools and families should work together to support student success. Teachers and administrators should learn about and meet families’ preferred methods of communication, and families should be able to share and receive information in culturally and linguistically relevant ways.

3. Develop Healthy, Positive Relationships Based on Mutual Trust and Respect

Interactions between educators and families should be positive and reciprocal, with families feeling valued and supported. Educators can establish trust and encourage healthy, two-way communications with families by sharing information about their children’s positive behaviors and accomplishments and which skills may need work. Listen to all parents and provide opportunities for shared decision-making.

4. Be Mindful of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Welcoming all families and fostering a sense of belonging is another National PTA standard. When families engage with your school, do they feel respected, understood, and connected to the school community?

To ensure equity and inclusion, learn about the families you serve and their unique needs and challenges. Use culturally responsive engagement practices. Create opportunities for connection, especially with historically marginalized families and students. Learn about and seek to remove barriers for families to participate fully in their children’s education.

5. Help Families Support and Extend the Learning at Home

Students learn more effectively when they have opportunities at home to practice, reinforce, or extend the skills and lessons they’ve learned in school. Educators can facilitate this process by giving families specific ideas for expanding their children’s learning at home, such as by incorporating core math and literacy concepts into everyday routines.

Schools can also make instructional resources such as take-home packs, activity sets, and other materials available to families to support their children’s education.

How School Specialty® Can Help

School Specialty has more than six decades of experience in providing tools, resources, and strategies that promote successful education both in school and at home. We offer arts and crafts, early childhood, ELA, math, science, STEM/STEAM, physical education, special needs, and social emotional learning resources for families, as well as games, puzzles, and general supplies.

How do you promote family engagement in your classroom and community? Let us know in the comments!





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Student Engagement with Hands-on Science

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This month on It’s Time for Science, we talked about student engagement with a special guest. Host Tom Racine interviewed award-winning science communicator Maynard Okereke, the Hip Hop MD.

Episode Summary

Tom talks with Maynard about the importance of staying curious and keeping students and ourselves engaged. They discuss why you don’t need to be an expert to teach science, embracing changing perspectives as a part of science, and why representation matters for everyone. Maynard then shares the most surprising thing he’s learned from doing an investigation!

Episode Guest

Maynard Okereke

Maynard Okereke, better known as the Hip Hop MD, graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is an award-winning Science Communicator, receiving the Asteroid Award for “Best Streaming Content” and the People of Change Award for his community outreach efforts. His passion for science and entertainment and his curiosity for new innovations have taken him through an incredible life journey.

Noticing a lack of minority involvement in STEM fields, Maynard created Hip Hop Science to encourage minorities and youth to pursue more advanced career paths. His background in engineering, acting, music, business, and credible work in STEM make him uniquely qualified to engage on a wide variety of topics from an entertaining perspective. This is highly reflected in his speaking engagements and daily social media posts, which provide both humorous and informative SciComm content.

Learn More about Hip Hop Science

https://www.hiphopscienceshow.com/
https://www.instagram.com/hiphopscienceshow/
https://www.facebook.com/HipHopScienceShow

It’s Time for Science! To get in touch with us, whether to offer some feedback, ideas for future episodes or reviews, or just to say hi, send us a message at itstimeforscience@schoolspecialty.com. We’d love to hear from you!

This month’s Insights article: Engaging Students as Active Science Learners with FOSS

Look for School Specialty and FOSS on X and FacebookIt’s Time for Science is produced by School Specialty® and the Full Option Science System (FOSS®) at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley.





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An ultimate guide to potty training – CHOC

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Published on: May 28, 2024
Last updated: May 24, 2024

Dreaming of a world without diapers and wipes? Get expert advice from a CHOC pediatrician on when and how to start potty training your child.

Link: https://health.choc.org/an-ultimate-guide-to-potty-training/



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Adidas Ultraboost Light Review: How the Newest Version Stacks up to Its Predecessors

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Men's Journal

Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. The products featured here have been independently reviewed. This article has been edited and published by Men’s Journal. Learn more here.

Adidas’ Ultraboost line produces some of the best running shoes I’ve used. Over the last few years, I’ve owned three iterations of Ultraboosts, and each version improves on the previous one.

After testing the Adidas Ultraboost Lights on multiple runs over a two-week period, this is my favorite iteration yet. As the name implies, the Ultraboost Lights are a bit lighter than previous Ultraboosts. I love the way they fit: snug in the mid and forefoot, keeping my foot locked in place, even during springs. The Ultraboost Lights also have a thick cushion on the heel that encourages me to strike heel-first during my stride. More details below.

Adidas Ultraboost Light at a Glance

  • Fit: True to size
  • Cushion: High
  • Upper Material: Adidas Primeknit
  • Outsole Material: Continental rubber
  • Weight: 10.5 ounces (men’s 9)
  • Drop: 10mm
  • Colors: 13 options
  • Price: $190 (select colorways often on sale)
Buy Adidas Ultraboost Light

Running in the Adidas Ultraboost Light

The Ultraboost Light has a snug, supportive fit across the midfoot.

Men's Journal

I’ve taken these shoes for 15 miles of test runs, splitting the miles between a treadmill, an indoor track, and the sidewalk around my neighborhood. Overall, the Adidas Ultraboost Light is one of the best running shoes I’ve tried. They fit more like a sock than a typical running shoe, which I love because I find it locks my forefoot in place, even when I sprint.

Related: The 8 Best Electrolyte Powders of 2024

Indoor Running

Before trying the Ultraboost Light, I read several Reddit threads and online reviews. One common complaint is the lack of cushion in the midsole. I’m a midfoot striker, so I expected to notice some discomfort immediately, but that was not the case on my first two runs on the treadmill.

I didn’t just feel more cushion than I expected, the Boost midsole also gave me a noticeable energy return—sort of like a platform that pushed off of the ground with my foot during my stride. Typically, I don’t run far enough to notice the difference between a springy sole and a supportive one, but on the treadmill, the Ultraboost Lights made me feel comfortable enough to add an extra half mile to my run.

Outdoor Running

Running on the sidewalk and road around my neighborhood was a different experience than running on the treadmill. On my first outdoor run, I felt pressure in my right knee joint that worried me because I start feeling pressure in my knee anytime I use a shoe that doesn’t have enough cushion in the midsole. I was able to finish my run, but if you’re a distance runner with a midsole strike, the lack of cushion is something to consider.

Related: The Best Running Apps of 2024

In the Gym

I know the Ultraboost line is not designed to be a daily trainer, but I decided to wear them during my regular workouts to see if they could double as workout shoes. Unfortunately, these shoes are not very comfortable when you’re standing still, and I felt unstable when trying to do any dynamic movements like cleans, step-ups, or burpees. After 15 or 20 minutes in the gym, I could feel how off-balance I was because of the thick heel counter on the Ultraboost Lights. Great running shoe, not recommended for the gym or casual wear.

Related: The 9 Best Fitness Apps We’ve Tested to Help You Get in Shape

Weight

Even though these shoes are called the “Ultraboost Light,” they’re not as lightweight as I expected them to be. The specs list says a pair of men’s size 9 Ultraboost Lights weigh 10.5 ounces, my size 11s weighed in at 11.4 ounces. I don’t think this is a big deal if you’re a casual runner, but long-distance runners will want to consider the heavier weight when choosing running shoes.

Durability

My pair of the Ultraboost Light shows minimal wear after multiple uses.

Men's Journal

The shoes look as good as new after 15 miles. There are a few scuff marks on the outsole, but it seems difficult to damage despite feeling very soft to the touch. I even tried scraping the outsole with a rock I found in my driveway, and it didn’t leave a mark.

I’ve owned two pairs of Ultraboosts in the past, and my big toe wore a hole in the upper of both. However, the knit upper of the Light seems stronger than previous versions, so I am interested to see how they hold up over time.

Breathability

I expected the Ultraboost Lights to be very breathable, but I was disappointed. My outdoor runs were in 70- to 80-degree weather which left my feet very sweaty and hot, which is not unexpected, but my indoor treadmill runs felt the same. I’ve inspected the PrimeKnit upper material, and it seems like a tighter pattern than previous Ultraboost versions—great for durability, not so much for breathability.

Pros:

  • Boost foam sole that offers springy support for easy runs
  • Socklike fit that keeps your foot locked in place
  • Durable construction that won’t wear and tear on casual runs
  • Thick heel counter that offers strong cushion to heel strike runners

Cons:

  • Not very breathable
  • Heavier than many running shoes in the same price range
Buy Adidas Ultraboost Light

Who Should Buy the Adidas Ultraboost Light

  • Those who go on short to medium daily runs
  • Heel strikers
  • Runners looking for a well-cushioned shoe

Who Should Not Buy the Adidas Ultraboost Light

  • Runners looking for the lightest racing shoes
  • Runners who need a wide toe box
  • Distance racers with a midfoot strike

Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. the Competition

Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. Nike InfinityRN 4

The Ultraboost Light and Nike InfinityRN 4 are very similar running shoes on paper. The InfinityRN4 costs a little less at $160 (the Ultraboost Light costs $190). Both shoes are designed with thick heel counters that encourage a heel-to-toe stride and have similar color patterns. However, the Ultraboosts are a full two ounces lighter (10.5 ounces compared to 12.5 ounces), and based on online reviews, the Ultraboost Light seems more durable.

Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. Hoka Clifton 9

I used the Hoka Clifton 9 for several months before trying the Ultraboost Light, and I really like both shoes for different reasons. The Clifton 9 has a thicker cushion from heel to toe, especially in the midsole, plus they are one ounce lighter than the Ultraboost Light. I think I will continue to use the Clifton 9 for longer outdoor runs. However, the Ultraboost Light has a snugger fit, which keeps my foot from sliding around, especially in the toe box. I also think the Ultraboost Light will prove more durable than my Clifton 9s, which began showing wear on the outsole almost immediately.

Adidas Ultraboost Light FAQs

Does the Adidas Ultraboost Light Run Small?

I found the Ultraboost Light to fit true to size. The shoe features a snug, socklike fit that hugs your midfoot and forefoot, so I wouldn’t recommend sizing up because then your foot might slide. These shoes are narrow, so you may need to size up if you have wide feet.

How Much Lighter Are the Ultraboost Lights?

The Ultraboost Light weighs 10.5 ounces (men’s size 9), which is about half an ounce lighter than the Ultraboost 21, which weigh 10.9 ounces for a men’s 9. However, they are a full ounce heavier than the Adizeros (a men’s 9 weighs 9.5 ounces). The Ultraboost Lights are not the lightest running shoes, but they make up for their weight with exceptional durability.

Who Are the Ultraboost Light Running Shoes Good For?

After wear-testing them, I’d suggest the Ultraboost Lights are good for casual daily runners, short- to medium-distance runners, and heel strikers who need a thick, cushioned heel counter to maximize their comfort during their stride. The Ultraboost Light doesn’t have much support in the midfoot, and the shoes weigh more than most long-distance runners will like.

Is the Adidas Ultraboost Light Right for You?

The Adidas Ultraboost Light is a durable, comfortable running shoe. The snug fit keeps your feet secure and provides strong energy return, thanks to the Boost foam sole. The midsole foam is much thinner than the heel counter, but that didn’t cause me any problems when running on a treadmill. If you’re a long-distance racer, you may want a more supportive option, but these shoes are a great choice for casual runners.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.



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