K to A: Families and Schools Together Program
Minahik Waskahigan School delivered the Families and Schools Together Program (FAST). FAST is a research based program that focuses on empowering and connecting children, parents, families, and schools to improve students’ educational climates as well as enhance community engagement. During the program, youth and parents talked at the school for 15 minutes about topics selected by the youth. While the sessions were mainly quiet in the beginning, by the end, youth and parents were talking well over the scheduled time and would request additional time to keep talking. Additionally, an increase was seen in participating parents’ presence in the school, their checking in with teachers, and helping actively to make plans to improve their child’s academic behaviours and grades. Formation of new friendships was also seen among the youth, as well as more positive parent-parent interactions, among participants in the program. Each parent and youth completed a survey at the beginning and end of the FAST program, and the data showed that parent-child, school-child, and parent-school relationships significantly changed in a positive direction in terms of communication, acceptance, and feeling of inclusion.