NYC’s Ojeda Hall – Meet Families Where They Are At: Building Trust

Ojeda Hall, Director for Family Information and Action in the NYC Department of Education shared some compelling insights about how she has worked with families to create safer neighborhoods and design a school that reflected their priorities.

To start, she met with families about their primary concerns and priorities for their kids’ education.  She shared two stories that highlight the importance of meeting families where they are at.  In one neighborhood in East New York, she heard from families that the school was doing a pretty good job, but families were very concerned about the safety in the neighborhood.  She helped facilitate families coming together to develop safety councils,  safety patrols, providing information to police and working together  to create safer neighborhoods

In Jamaica, Queens, Ms. Hall went to a big local church, and talked to parents and teachers about what they’d like to see happen in education.  This led to the creation of a new school.  Parents, teachers and local community leaders met weekly in the church basement to help create the school.

So, what was the major takeaway from Ms. Hall?  After my two years in grad school, Ms. Hall summed up the conclusion I’ve reached in one sentence. “There has to be a building up of relational trust between the adults involved in a child’s life.”  To make a difference and take action to help all kids succeed, people need to know each other, understand what’s important to each other.  Developing relationships is at the heart of this work.  As Ms. Hall spoke, I heard my passion reflected in her words.  No surprise – Ms. Hall is a community organizer.

I’m excited to learn more about NYC’s Office of Family Information and Action, and to learn from their resources.

I hope to learn more about how Ms. Hall has done this as I help create strong family-school-community partnerships.

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