When developing a First 10 School and Community, common questions arise. The answers to the questions below can help guide your planning and initial implementation. They may also provide insights about the process. If you don’t find answers to your questions here, or need additional assistance/clarification, please reach out to Lee Anne Larsen
Why would you want to form a First 10 School/Community?
First 10 schools and communities enable many stakeholders to work together to provide equitable and integrated student and family supports. This coordinated approach helps families access and advocate for the resources they need in order for their students to be healthy, engaged and successful learners. Schools are not the only body or agency that drive initiatives to foster child development and student and family wellbeing (Weiss & Reville, 2019, pg. 5). Creating a First 10 school and community forges partnerships across organizations with similar goals of meeting the needs of both children and families through a collaborative approach.
Wiess, E. & Reville, P; 2019; Broader, Bolder, Better How Schools and Communities Help Students Overcome the Disadvantages of Poverty; Harvard Education Press, Cambridge MA
How do you begin to form a First 10 School/Community?
Establishing a First 10 school/community is a process that will take time. The first step is to form a First 10 Team, of around 10 to 12 members (see below for possible members to include). Tasks that First 10 Teams typically engage in at the beginning of the work are:
- Development of group norms.
- Needs assessment for school, community, and families.
- Working toward staff/stakeholder buy-in and discussion of next steps.
- Deciding on goals and desired outcomes.
- Assigning team members to research options, interests and community partners (which could be included in your Action Plan).
- Reviewing sample plans from the current Frist 10 schools, listed here.
- Networking with districts that have similar goals to yours would be valuable.
- Visit this page of our website for more information.
Who should be on the First 10 School/Community team?
First 10 School/Community teams should encompass of a wide variety of members, which may be comprised of Superintendents, Principals, School social workers and/or family advocates, Educators, Community stakeholders such as Parents, Childcare and preschool administrators and educators, Health officials, Safety officials, Local agencies who work with families (such as Healthy Kids, or your local CAP agency), and Staff or representatives of other (private) funding sources.
What does collaboration look like across a First 10 School/Community?
Collaboration will look different across schools and communities, depending on desired outcomes, needs assessments, and available resources within the community. Partnerships could be between childcare and preschool programs, community agencies, medical and dental providers, nutritional programs, and/or non-profit organizations or private businesses. Collaboration should focus on shared goals that can be realized more fully through partnerships that contribute their expertise and resources to benefit children’s growth and development by enhancing ties between children, families, schools, and communities.
What are the benefits of collaboration across the community?
There are many benefits of collaboration across communities when partnerships are built. Specific goals and desired outcomes will vary, but some benefits may include:
- Community and school stakeholders (staff, students, children, families) working together to strengthen school and community connection.
- Shared funding and resources.
- A deeper understanding of the needs of the community, and how the basic needs, such as food, housing, and heating resources, can be secured for families in need, to ensure that students are ready to learn.
- Stronger positive outcomes for students in school, preschool, and child care programs.
What are examples of collaboration?
Some examples of collaboration include;
- Partnering with Local Head Start programs for high-quality pre-K programming,
- Collaboration with a local library to give families opportunities within the community to enjoy educational programming,
- Working with a transportation company to ensure parent and caregiver ability to attend school functions Collaborating with local childcare centers and preschools to develop or strengthen transition plans for students entering public pre-k and kindergarten (and beyond) and their families,
- Engaging a community dental or medical program for parent and caregiver education on health, nutrition, and prevention,
- Engaging educators from the community and public schools to work together to align curriculums, assessments, and data for students,
- Partnering with a local agency to facilitate Play and Learn Groups for younger children and their families and caregivers as an introduction to school and other programs in the community and to promote family engagement.
- How do you ensure collaboration across the community?
The First 10 team will be the place to start. Ensuring collaboration across a community is everyone’s job, and an important focus of building a First 10 School and Community. The following are goals to work toward to help ensure positive collaboration;
- Open and consistent communication,
- Timely meetings,
- Inviting new team members and incorporating new staff into the group,
- Setting realistic goals and timelines for the team’s work,
- Revisiting outcomes, actions, and strategies over time to ensure that they are relevant or determine if they need revision
- What is the role of a Family Service Coordinator? Why is it important? How can it be funded?
A Family Service Coordinator acts as a liaison for families in the school setting. They are the professionals who work with families to document strengths and set goals and help families access resources to meet their goals. They enable the school to serve the whole child, to ensure that basic needs are met, that families are educated and that families have the ability to advocate for themselves and their children. The Family Service Coordinator also oversees parent groups and workshops in response to identified school and community needs and promote other opportunities for family engagement and inclusion.
Funding for this position can be done in multiple ways, as discussed within the First 10 Team