Strategic Investments in Family Engagement Training – Lower Kuskokwim School District

May 2, 2024 · Jennifer McFerran

Early this spring we shared that the Lower Kuskokwim School District trained five site administrators in the art of hosting community dialogues. The administrators went on to host rich conversations in their communities that helped bridge the gap between life at school and life at home. 

In Tuntutuliak 26 people took part in a dialogue focused on relationships. Participants started by sharing a time they felt connected and/or supported and why. Common themes were: trust, empathy, acceptance, helping each other, and communication. Next, they discussed what gets in the way of students feeling connected/supported with peers and adults. Common themes were: low self-confidence, not knowing how to communicate feelings, trust issues, technology, and lack of traditional values were mentioned. Lastly, they discussed what might they do to foster feelings of connectedness, support, and belonging. Common themes were: being kind, celebrating successes, building good rapport, asking questions, providing guidance and getting to know the kids as people and not just students.

“The dialogues foster the idea that both the school and community are important and can work together”, said Ashely Crace LKSD’s director of Special Education and Early Education. “This is a great way for everyone to provide feedback.” 

The dialogue training was part of Lower Kuskokwim School District’s strategic decision to focus on working with school administrators (the district spans 20 different communities.) LKSD brought the administrators together (a feat that requires travel in small planes, housing and per diem) through the AFEC mini-grant program.