Alice Briney-Rockswold—2014 Fellow
Year: Class of 2016
Major: Political Science and Education Studies
Organization: Teach for America – Twin Cities
A growing body of research suggests that educational success, especially for students from non-dominant cultures, depends largely on the relationships between communities, families, and schools. Teachers play a critical role in the cultivation of these relationships by initiating the processes that bring these influencers together. However, many teachers find family and community engagement to be their biggest challenge. Contributing to this problem is a general lack of training and support teachers are given on the subject.
I partnered with Teach For America – Twin Cities on developing the resources and support systems teachers need to form meaningful partnerships with the stakeholders in their students’ lives. Specifically, I focused on home visiting as a strategy for building connections and trust between parents/guardians and teachers. Other aspects of my project included a teacher “toolkit” with specific engagement practices, office hours where teachers can ask questions and develop action plans for the upcoming school year, and a locally focused website for teachers to share their own ideas and experiences.
I am confident have gained much more from the staff at TFA and the rest of the Chuck Green cohort than I will be able to impart by the end of the summer. Their humility, compassion, and optimism is encouraging and inspiring.