Crissy understands that the family plays an essential role in a child's education. School-age children spend on average 60-70% of their time outside of a school building, so it is essential that families initiate and reinforce learning in the home.
There is a significant association between family engagement and the academic achievement of elementary and middle school students. Research says that the two most important things that parents can do are showing interest in homework and reading together as a family. It's an important distinction that knowing how to help with homework is not what is vital—it's being interested in homework that matters. How a parent or guardian interacts with his or her child outside of school sets the stage for progress in the classroom.
To promote the importance of strong school-family partnerships, Crissy helped organize a Back to School Neighborhood Knock with Cole Elementary School in Antioch. More than 100 Cole Elementary School teachers, administrators, and volunteers met Crissy at the school on a Saturday in July 2012 to divide into teams before making door-to-door home visits to the families of each Cole student. During the home visits, Cole Elementary representatives delivered important school information to families— including family engagement tips and resources—and welcomed the students back to school.
Meeting with families at their front door is a great way for schools to highlight the importance of parental involvement in education; however, schools located in rural areas may find it more effective to meet with families in their community. In July 2012, Crissy participated in Dyersburg City Schools' Back to School Summer Bus Tour, to help encourage positive relationships and collaboration between the school and community. More than 75 Dyersburg teachers and faculty participated in the bus tour, making stops at local recreation centers, parks, churches, businesses, and even the public pool, to visit with Dyersburg children and families.