Colleagues describe Sennett’s Family Liaison Kimberly Robinson as a warm demander.
A warm demander is someone with high expectations for students, who believes in their brilliance and is committed to helping them achieve their potential.
Having trusted relationships with staff and feeling a sense of belonging are critical to students’ academic achievement.
According to the Climate Survey, feelings of belonging rose at Sennett by close to 20 percent for African American students.
These feelings of belonging make way for academic growth over time.
Belonging leads to long term results
If you’re a Sennett Middle School family, don’t be surprised if Kimberly Robinson shows up on your doorstep one evening at dinnertime. As Sennett’s Family Liaison, she believes in building close bonds with students and parents.
Family Liaisons work directly with families, school staff and the community to create the conditions for strong partnerships between home and school to support student learning.
“This is my home,” she says, not just of Sennett, where she has worked for 21 years, but of the larger community. “The kids see me in their neighborhoods. Matter of fact, I might just show up to dinner. I’m from the old school. It takes a village to raise one child. I tell my parents, we are your village.”
Colleagues describe Robinson as a warm demander, someone with high expectations for students, who believes in their brilliance and is committed to helping them achieve their potential. It’s a key equity strategy.
Consistent academic growth
It’s warm demanders like Robinson who have helped usher in a greater sense of belonging for African- American students and families. Feelings of belonging rose at Sennett by close to 20 percentage points for African American students and 100% of African-American families and 80% of Latino families who responded to the climate survey reported that they feel welcome at Sennett.
These feelings of belonging make way for academic growth over time, particularly for English Language Learners (ELL), students receiving special education services and African-American students. It has allowed for a gradual increase in proficiency, especially in gap-closing work, in student ownership over their learning and in student engagement.
Students meeting MAP reading growth targets:
All children can learn and achieve
This Robinson believes. Take one student who came through her door several times as an 8th grade student in 2015-16. She knew she needed to be candid with him about his potential. “Real talk,” she describes it, not sugar-coated. “I’m telling you right now what the future is going to look like if you don’t start showing these teachers you have pride and have a brain,” she told him.
Cut to the La Follette honor roll ceremony last March, when someone tapped her shoulder. It was him. Surprised, she asked about his progress. “Ms. R., I’m one of the students being honored,” he beamed. He had been on the honor roll for the past three quarters.