Community Engagement for Teacher Support

It takes a village. You hear this countless times in who knows how many different contexts. The concept applies to the schools we work in as well. A teacher should not be an island. A supportive group of friends, colleagues, administration, and parents should surround them, should surround you. Community engagement for teachers is imperative for a successful learning experience for students. 

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Community Engagement Matters

“Community and family involvement in student learning has positive outcomes: lower absenteeism, positive student achievement, better civic engagement, fewer discipline issues, and higher graduation rates. Developing community-family-school alliances can foster partnerships and opportunities to support students. Students can gain confidence and improve their academic performance when supported by their family and the community, and school districts can work towards equitable outcomes.¹”

Any teacher who has experience with more than one school probably knows that some communities rally around their educational institutions more than others. We know this doesn’t always come naturally. It takes time to build relationships.


Do you feel like you could use more support coming from outside of your school walls? Here are some ways to establish and cultivate these win-win relationships and build community engagement.


¹Three Ways Principals Can Build Long-Term Community Involvement in Schools,” source

Get engaged in your school’s community.


Putting a face to a name makes a big difference! People tend to be more willing to help out someone they know personally - for instance, they could come in as a mystery reader, speak to your class about their career, or volunteer to tutor in an afterschool program. For example, you could:


  • Work out at the local rec center
  • Attend your students’ club league games or piano recitals
  • Buy coffee from a parent-owned local coffee shop


Don’t get me wrong; you need healthy boundaries between your work and personal lives, and you can’t be all in all the time. But, if a locally-owned bakery is on your way home, stop in once in a while to grab yourself (and your family) a treat. Consider asking them for a special coupon to hand out to your students one day. Who knows - they may return the favor and help out by backing a school fundraiser one day.

The local businesses that you patronize are more likely to support the schools when you need them since they know who they’re helping. Don’t think of it as an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” type of relationship. On the contrary, think of it as both sides willing to help each other out because they genuinely want to. 

Engage with parents.

Parental involvement has a massive impact on student engagement, attendance, and attitudes toward school. For example: do your parents only hear from you when their child has done something wrong or is struggling academically? Teachers are pressed for time, but positive parent communication builds solid bridges between school and home. Trust me, it’s well worth your time.


Nowadays, there are all kinds of apps you can use to easily communicate with parents. Send out quick notes to keep parents informed about what’s going on in class (current curriculum, looming deadlines, etc.). Additionally, send out tips to help their kids at home as well. Above all, don't be afraid to reach out when you need something. Many parents are happy to help in the ways that they are able–whether it be by supplying items for the classroom, donating money, volunteering to attend a field trip, or sponsoring an event. But they don't know what your classroom needs if you don’t ask.


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Furthermore, show gratitude to your parents. Much like students thrive on positive reinforcement, parents appreciate knowing how their giving helps in your classroom. Something as simple as “Thank you for the boxes of tissues; my kids were having to use those awful, scratchy brown paper towels this week!” helps a parent know that even the smallest of gestures make a difference.

Get your students engaged.

Lastly, another way you can weave service opportunities for your students is to implement opportunities for community engagement into your instructional time. For instance, practice letter writing by having students write letters to veterans, then send them to the closest VA clinic or hospital. Moreover, have students learn the art of a campaign by having them plan, research, write, and carry out a food bank drive. They can craft letters, create posters, and brainstorm ways to get people involved. There are tons of learning opportunities along the way (sorting, organizing, counting, estimating, etc.).


Community engagement is proven to have so many positive impacts on schools, so taking a little time to build relationships is worth the investment. For more ideas, check out this link.

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