Two Clark County schools certified as family friendly

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Schools throughout Clark County have always sought to be a welcoming environment.

Now, another official certification helps them get such a status.

Through the Prichard Committee, 35 schools – including Conkwright Elementary School and Baker Intermediate School – have newly received Family Friendly Certification recognition from the Kentucky Collaborative for Families and Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s really cool. It’s a fairly new initiative”, said Conkwright Elementary School Principal Travis Marcum.

“We should be very proud of our schools and Clark County for the tremendous amount of work that goes on on a daily basis to impact the lives of kids and families for the better,” said Baker Intermediate School Principal Josh Mounts.

After hearing about the successes of Conkwright Elementary School, a friend of Marcum’s who works through the Kentucky Collaborative for Families and Schools reached out to him this past summer. From there, the journey toward certification began.

“She saw some of the cool things that were going on at the school through social media,” Marcum said. “She said there’s an activity coming in that you guys should take part in because you guys are clearly a family-friendly school.”

Shortly after that, Baker Intermediate School got involved after hearing about the program through Conkwright’s staff. When looking to gain Family Friendly Certification, the overall goal is to ensure that schools partner effectively with families and other community partners. As a result, five family-friendly objectives are honed in on. They are relationship building, communications, shared responsibilities, advocacy, and community partnerships.

En route to being certified, many individuals within and outside the community participated.

At Conkwright Elementary School, a Family Resource Center Advisory Council comprising Principal Marcum, the school’s family resource coordinator, two teachers, a few parents, and community members acted together when completing different tasks required before applying for certification.

A self-assessment tool based on the five family-friendly objectives was utilized, with each member giving the school an independent score. All members came to the conclusion that the score was at a level meeting expectations. Survey data was also collected from families both online and in person.

Yet, that wasn’t all.

“One of the requirements to be a Family Friendly Certified School is that you take the data that you received from surveys and then implement a change,” Marcum said.

Such changes yielded strong results for the schools involved.

“It’s just amazing what schools do for students and families to engage them, how we remove barriers, whether it be socioeconomic barriers or whether it’s language barriers,” Mounts said. “We work hard to reach all families, and it’s not just Conkright. It’s not just Baker.”

While the certification is rewarding, work plans to continue during this school year and beyond.

“The idea behind it is that we will have to renew the certification each year, so it’s an ongoing self-evaluation,” Marcum said. “It’s a good way to monitor how that’s going and make sure that we are implementing change based on community [and] stakeholder feedback.