Keeping Parents Engaged at Chester County JHS

Chester County Junior High School in Tennessee is  working daily to make parent engagement a reality at their school. Principal Dr. Belinda Anderson says by doing so, she’s seen her students become more active learners, take more initiative, and become more independent thinkers.

There are so many ways parent engagement can positively affect a student’s journey. That’s why this year’s Summit Learning Spotlight theme is employing parents as partners in learning.

What is Summit Learning Spotlight?

Summit Learning Spotlight is an initiative that shares the stories and best practices of both schools and educators who partner with Summit Learning. Spotlight showcases exemplary models of personalized learning implementation and instruction.

The best part is members of the community — mentors, educators, parents, and more — personally nominate the schools or educators we spotlight.

Putting the Spotlight on Chester County Junior High School

Summit Learning Spotlight: Chester County Junior High School

It’s not often you see students go out of their way to talk to the school principal. It’s even more rare to see students high-fiving and sharing open and honest conversations with them. But believe it or not, it’s the norm at Chester County Jr. High.

Dr. Anderson’s rapport with her students is truly an inspiration (and every educator’s dream come true).

So, how was she able to build such great relationships with her students? She says her secret is finding ways to increase parent engagement.

Those efforts are why Chester County Jr. High is one of this year’s Summit Learning Spotlights. We received overwhelming feedback about their above-and-beyond efforts to involve parents and families in their child’s progress at school.

Here are some of the ways CCJHS made it easy for parents to support their child’s success:

Summit Learning Parents’ Night

Since a Summit Learning classroom looks a little different from a traditional classroom, Dr. Anderson wanted to ease parents’ minds by giving them a comprehensive overview of the program. She dedicated several nights throughout the year to educate them about Summit and show them how to use Platform data to optimize their child’s performance.

She even sent out videos like the example below for parents who couldn’t attend these events.
Chester County Junior High School Parent Video

Parents were also invited into classrooms to get a first-hand look at how project-based and personalized learning works.

Engaging parents through multiple channels

CCJHS parents have so many ways to stay engaged with their student’s progress. They get regular updates through text and social media. Not to mention, Dr. Anderson and her teachers make time to give parents personal phone calls, too.

They also set up the school with Google Classroom to streamline document sharing and communication. Most importantly, CCJHS is very open to accepting all questions, comments, concerns, and criticism.

Parents and students love CCJHS, and it shows!

It’s clear that CCJHS has reignited a love of learning at their school with more than just students but parents and teachers, too.

Child shares her experience with Summit Learning by saying, "Summit is good because I can set a goal for myself and accomplish that goal. It is the best thing for me."
Child shares her experience with Summit Learning by saying, "Summit has really changed the way we look at schoolwork. It provides us with skills that we might not have developed in a normal classroom setting. It helped me learn how to set a goal and achieve that goal, manage deadlines, and overall become a better student."

One parent was so proud to witness the progress her daughter made at CCJHS, she wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Chester County Independent about it. In the letter, Starla Teague said, “My daughter is experiencing a new altitude of success this school year. By equipping her with the study skills and the academic confidence she needs, this program has taught her the art of learning.”

From all of us at Summit Learning, thank you to everyone at CCJHS for all your hard work. We can’t wait to see how you continue to grow. Keep shining bright like a spotlight!

See how other Summit Learning Spotlights are making a difference at their school. Read their inspiring stories here.

About the author

Summit Learning
Summit Learning is a research–based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student–teacher relationships that prepare students for life after graduation. Created by teachers with experience in diverse classrooms, Summit Learning is grounded in decades of research about how children learn. With Summit Learning, students gain mastery of core subjects like math, history, English, and science, while also carefully developing the skills and habits of lifelong learners. Summit Learning is independently led and operated by the nonprofit, Gradient Learning.