Success Story: Fishkill Elementary
Engaging Families at Fishkill Elementary
Fishkill Elementary is a school of nearly 500 students in New York’s Hudson Valley, approximately 90 miles north of New York City. It serves a diverse community in which many of the parents commute to full-time jobs or take care of younger children at home, making involvement in the school difficult.
To make volunteer opportunities more accessible and more appealing, and thus increasing parent involvement in the school, the Fishkill School Leadership Team decided to initiate PTA Three for Me. The principal introduced the program at Parents as Partners Night at the start of the school year. Teachers wore “Ask Me About Three for Me” badges, used in-class introductions to invite parents to complete Three for Me promise cards, and explained how parents could volunteer on committees, at events, in the classroom, or even from home. Throughout the year, the PTA newsletter featured volunteer opportunities, while the program’s coordinator regularly distributed program reminders, progress reports, and volunteer stories.
Three for Me was a catalyst for parent involvement. Seventy percent of the school’s families now complete at least three hours of volunteer work during the year, with a significant number continuing to volunteer beyond their original commitment. The school has developed a more welcoming climate and a culture of volunteering, thanks to this growing network of parent volunteers. Parents who previously just crossed paths when picking up their children now have relationships with each other through their volunteering efforts, and everyone is invested in the common goal of supporting every child’s school success.