The Cranston Family Center and COZ has been supported by the Cranston Public Schools for over 20 years. There are ten Child Opportunity Zone in the state.The COZ is Rhode Island’s community school initiative,and was instrumental in the inception of the Rhode Island Partnership for Community Schools.
The current Family Center is the outgrowth of the COZ model and its mission has also evolved to reflect the infusion of Title I funds. The Family Center is charged with the responsibility of insuring compliance for the Title I parent engagement requirements. While the Family Center has always promoted family engagement, our role was expanded to provide support to all the Title I schools in this area. The mission of the Cranston Family Center is to link families to the schools and learning to promote student success. To accomplish this, the Family Center employs a four tiered system.
Tier 1: Family Support and Strengthening
Tier 2: Family Engagement
Tier 3: Family Partnership
Tier 4: Family Leadership
The Family Center works with families to remove obstacles that inhibit their ability to actively participate in their child’s education.
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In Tier 1.Families are linked to programs and services to help meet their needs. The Family Center sponsors food and gift drives to assist families in need especially during the holidays. Assistance is provided through fund raising and solicitation of donations from community partners
Tier 2’s strategy welcomes families into the schools. Traditionally, families are invited into schools for Open Houses and report nights. The Family Center contacts each family at least twelve times a year to invite to school and Family Center programs. For parents who do not see their role as being actively involved in their child’s education, the invitation to become involved is paramount. Outreach is critical to engage families in school. Family Center staff contacts families by phone, invitation, in person and via email. Our web page creates a parent friendly resource page with links to additional websites; we monitor the number of visits to the site. This work is continuous and fundamental to building parent engagement. Families are invited to participate in Topic specific workshops with the their school Principal, family events and fairs. Family literacy opportunities are offered by the Cranston Public library and Cranston School librarians and facilitated by the Family Center. Each program offered is designed to build the parents level of confidence and self worth. We provide parent incentives at many of our programs . The Family Center is able to distribute new books at each of its programs to build home libraries through the COZ grant funding.
Tier 3 is moving families into becoming partners with the schools in educating their child. Family Center programming is intentional in its design to provide families with the opportunity to gain confidence in their ability to positively influence their child’s education. Once this occurs parents can partner with their child’s teacher to support learning and positive educational outcomes. Families are invited to participate in the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) facilitated by the Family Center which advises the School Improvement Team on matters of parent engagement including the Home-School Compact and the District’s and school’s Parent Engagement Polices.
Tier 4, Family Leadership is the top level of the system and draw parents who are ready to take action and lead others. Parents participate in the Institute for Parent Leaders offered in partnership with Johnson & Wales University. Graduates of the Institute have gone on to be PTO leaders, Family Center Advisory Board members, and members of district wide committees such as, the Cranston Educational Advisory Board.
To support these systems, the Family Center receives funding from Title I, Child Opportunity Zone legislative grant from RI Department of Education, Passport to Safety grant from the RI Office of Highway Safety, fund raisers, donations and in kind contributions.
The Family Center will continue to implement The Finish Line initiative, a program that promotes academic success for all students. The initiative incorporates a three prong approach, home library building through the BOOKS FUELING FUTURES/First Book program, promoting daily attendance through parent education incorporating AttendanceWorks . We will offer home learning with QUICKITS,
mini lessons for parents on curriculum topics to increase their understanding of what their child is learning .