HumanLinks Foundation is committed to the academic achievement and well-being of students in Washington's schools. We view education and healthy development as cornerstones of thriving communities. HumanLinks Foundation recognizes the impact of the learning environment on student achievement. Schools that respond to the needs of the students, families, and communities they serve and engage students in their learning are more successful in providing the knowledge and skills young people need. Our work focuses on family supportive schools, responsive schools, and student voice. In seeking opportunities to support strategic efforts for the improvement of the learning environment in schools, the following beliefs guide our work:
- A supportive and engaging environment for learning improves the academic success and well being of students.
- Students, families, schools and communities are interdependent and essential stakeholders in improving public education.
- Systemic change requires a comprehensive, integrated and coherent approach.
We are committed to building relationships and partnerships to create change. We are working to connect people, align efforts and leverage resources.
Family Supportive Schools: HumanLinks is interested in building educational systems that encourage a sense of community and engage and support parents as partners in the education of their children. To that end, the HumanLinks Foundation has supported the development of the Achieving Family Friendly Schools (AFFS) curriculum and training program over the past eight years. This support includes a case study evaluation of the Achieving Family Friendly Schools curriculum and training program. The Case Studies 2006 report identifies changes in attitudes, behaviors and culture as a result of attending the Achieving Family Friendly Schools (AFFS) training and follow-up efforts by participating schools to become family-supportive schools. The Case Studies 2006 report is available for download on this site.
HumanLinks Foundation has taken the support for the development of family supportive schools to the next level by investing in the planning and development of a statewide Center for Family Supportive Schools and Communities in the Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University. This center will provide leadership for the professionals working with children and families to:
- Champion family supportive schools and communities as a vehicle for improved student learning.
- Support research and evaluation of family-centered work in schools and communities.
- Create a standard of practice and competencies in family support practices on which to credential and evaluate teachers and school administrators.
- Develop curricula within teacher and administrator preparation programs.
- Integrate these curricula into existing programs for the preparation of teachers and school administrators.
- Disseminate the new curricula to colleges/schools of education in Washington via a statewide consortium of higher education institutions.
- Create a clearinghouse for best and promising practices in school-based and school-linked family support.
Student Voice: The HumanLinks Foundation believes that meaningful student involvement has significant potential to address educational issues, improve teaching and learning, and promote deep systematic and attitudinal change. Over the past eight years, HumanLinks has supported research and development of publications that define and explain meaningful student involvement as well as trainings and workshops to increase knowledge and understanding of student voice in school transformation. The most recent publication is the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum, an implementation guide for meaningful student involvement. SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum is designed to teach students about student voice. The curriculum is available for download on this site along with five other publications about meaningful student involvement. We invite you to explore and use these publications to benefit your schools and students. Further information about student voice is available at www.SoundOut.org.