For Bryan ISD, meaningful and collaborative community engagement is a top priority, and several District leaders presented an informative session regarding their efforts in this area at the annual Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) conference held in September.
Superintendent Dr. Christie Whitbeck, Chief of Staff Ginger Carrabine and Dr. Hugo Ibarra, Coordinator of Community Engagement, shared the District’s ideas and strategies during a session entitled, “Leveraging the Power of an Engaged School Community: Tailor-made Solutions that Work.” The group discussed the need for community stakeholder involvement to ensure student success and discussed several effective partnerships that Bryan ISD has with its community and how these were developed.
“It starts with knowing your community and their needs,” said Dr. Whitbeck. “These are also the needs of our students, so engaging community partners is essential for creating new opportunities. Our goal is always to create lasting partnerships that are mutually beneficial, and we have some of the best community leaders in the state right here in Bryan. We were honored to share our stories at the state level.”
Participants learned about practical and innovative strategies to use when personalizing their efforts to build a community engagement plan. Discussion and clear examples also focused on building synergy among groups, such as faith-based leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses, media, higher education institutions and non-English speaking families.
Dr. Ibarra stressed that each district must find the unique opportunities in their own communities and then develop their own ideas that play to their strengths.
“We have such a sense of pride in knowing that we were sharing very tangible partnerships that are impacting our District right now,” Dr. Ibarra said. “These things are happening because of the eagerness and cooperative efforts of our community partners who do so much for Bryan ISD students. We’re also excited, though, because we know there is still work to be done and new opportunities that await for future collaborations.”