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Statewide Family Engagement Center focuses on educational needs from “cradle to career”

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:22 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -The South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC) brings together students, families, schools, and communities together by focusing on learner needs. SFEC strives to ensure that all learners—especially English Language Learners (ELL), economically disadvantaged learners and minority students—have the supports they need to achieve academic, career, and life goals.

SFEC partnered with South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) to ensure success and implementation of their program. Beth Massa, Regional Director for SDCF, said “SFEC didn’t stop working, and stepped up our services for all of our families in South Dakota. We saw that there was so much information out there when it came to learning for families. We wanted a way to combine resources, that was not overwhelming, and to get the information to families, educators, and partnering organization.”

With the original grant of SFEC we did not anticipate addressing learner , educator, and family needs during the pandemic. Because of their partnership and support from the South Dakota Community Foundation we were able to move forward. Feedback from parents and teachers regarding the digest have urged SD SFEC to continue support for remote and at-home learning in ways that align to school curricula and content standards. Both parents and teachers have called the digest “a lifesaver” when it came to meeting the needs of learners during the pandemic. Additionally, feedback from educators and families has emphasized the need for support in helping each group better communicate with the other, especially around remote learning experiences.

Project Manager, Morgan VonHaden, is especially excited about the response from families and educators alike. VonHaden said “We continue to learn and grow and gather feedback from our families, educators, and partners. Family engagement is not new in our state, and what we have seen is that family engagement is more important now than ever before. We know that we won’t go back to how it was a year ago, and we are excited to continue with a better normal where we are connecting with families throughout the state.”

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