Effective Organization of Content Helps Family Engagement Initiatives
At LiveBinders, we are lucky to be exposed to so many great resources and to hear from our users about the work they do to elevate student learning. Last month I saw binders by our members Evelyn Azbell and Fred Cochran, who both happened to be coordinating Family engagement projects. I was impressed with how they organized their binders – the time they took to get it ‘right’. It occurred to me that part of the reason we should take the time to organize our content is to make sure our readers are engaged. After all, everything we do is to make sure our audience ‘gets it’. Evelyn and Fred’s carefully curated binders not only caught my attention, but I learned something new upon examination of their binders. Here are some of my observations on what I found so intriguing.
Evelyn Azbell of @cesa9_families and @parenteducatorconnection is a Family Engagement Coordinator in Northern Wisconsin. Her binders provide direct access to hard-to-find resources such as grant schedules, program documentation, and other important information. The resources have always been available for anyone to access, but Evelyn has put her own curated guidance on those resources.
I like the use of the subtle dark grey sub tabs between the red main tabs and the black base tabs that stay consistent with CESA9 colors – also gotta love that red!
In her WSPEI binder below, Evelyn takes advantage of 3rd party web applications to make her binders more inclusive for her viewers. There is more than one way to get access to her documents. If you are responsive to the infographic model, you can click on resources laid out on a Padlet page she has added to the main tab of her binder. Or you can grab the same resources from a Google folder she has linked inside of the binder in a tile format. In addition, if you prefer the tab layout, each resource is also provided in its own tab or sub tabs of the binder. In other words, her audience will be able to find what they need in their preferred viewing format.
Using Padlets as an additional visual map to resources is a fun way to make your binder interactive for your audiences’ diverse range of skill sets.
Fred Cochran @cochran_fred is a Coordinator for San Joaquin County Office of Education and an instructor for Teachers College San Joaquin @TeachCollegeSJ. He has been providing training resources to help schools in his district start their own Family Engagement programs. What struck me initially was the order in which he shares his resources, making it easy for his busy team to find what they need quickly. Anything new that is added to the binder can be found in the Newly Added Resource tab.
Fred carefully chooses his tab linear layout to keep his busy staff up-to-date on resources to share
It later occurred to Fred that he could create a template binder that other school districts could use to start their own Family Engagement initiative. In the example below, he has created placeholders for a district’s documentation, including any resources that are in Spanish. For each main tab, he carefully crafted headers in a colorful image format with explanations of what each section is about.
In Fred’s Sample Parent Ambassador binder, he provides headers like this one in each main section to help guide the new Parent Ambassador. He also added placeholder sub tabs for Spanish version documents
If you are sharing resources across your state, feel free to review these binders as a model for your own design. Thank you Evelyn and Fred for sharing your hard work with us!
CESA9 Family Engagement Binder
RSDSS Region 6 Family
Sample Parent Ambassador Toolkit