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Fayette Public Schools holds Superintendent’s Leadership Institute with theme ‘Game On!’

Steve Constantino closed out the 2018 Superintendent’s Leadership Institute with a simple but powerful message: “Family engagement is not an event – it’s a process,” he said. “Family engagement is not about doing more. It’s about doing something differently.”

The Fayette County Public Schools leadership institute’s keynote speaker, a veteran educator and author from Virginia, reminded the audience of principals, administrators, and other school leaders how connecting with families is crucial to students’ success.

Constantino also emphasized that children need to feel safe and loved.

The conference took place at Bryan Station High School. (Photo provided)

“There’s a family out there that needs you and needs to know you care about their child,” he told the audience, gathered for the final SLI session at host Bryan Station High School.

Telling stories peppered with humor, Constantino shared memories of his days in the classroom and principal’s chair and effective ideas he has tried through the years. For instance, instead of sending home a weekly folder of an elementary child’s classwork, why not fill that folder with future assignments so the family can be involved on the front end?

In another example, Constantino instructed high school teachers to leave short but detailed and encouraging phone messages about a child’s progress in math, language, and other subjects to prompt actual dinnertime conversation at home.

Constantino also touched on the diverse make-up of today’s families, the struggle to provide equity in schools and outside the school day, and getting past people’s anger to unmask the underlying fear.

In one success story, he helped a troubled high school make a dramatic turnaround within six years after the families began supporting the school’s efforts.

“We slowly climbed out of the hole,” Constantino recalled. “I chose to restore hope. We changed the culture and understood we needed to harness the influence of the most influential teachers’ children have.”

The bottom line for Constantino is this easy-to-remember mantra: “Every family. Every teacher. Every child. Every day.”

The institute included a lead-off by Supt. Manny Caulk who challenged the group to “lead from their core, lead together and lead for results.”

Speaking on the second day was Adolph Brown III, a scholar-teacher who excels in the classroom, in research, and on the lecture circuit.

Fayette County Public Schools

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