Setting Up Your Community Engagement Board

Set your board up for success! Watch our webinar and follow these steps to help establish your CEB.

Identify your team

  • The district truancy liaison should reach out to potential partners within the district that can support the work of the CEB
  • Consider reaching out to established MTSS teams/Attendance teams within the district
  • Research current work groups, committees, parent groups, youth groups, family liaisons, Tribal representation in addition to groups currently involved in your school/district’s community.

Familiarize your established team with state, district and school attendance policies

  • Review the MOU between your district, juvenile court and community partners
  • Consider expanding your MOU to include other agencies like the regional ESD that supports your district
  • Review your district and school attendance policies
  • Be updated on any truancy updates
Resource Links:

Assess the district’s existing tiered system of supports for attendance

  • Do schools have attendance teams in place?
  • What are the building level tiered interventions already in place? What’s missing?
  • What community partners are established?
  • What community resources are known?
Resource Links

Assess Community Resources

  • Internal district supports like family resource centers, family liaisons and student advocates, drug and alcohol prevention and intervention, etc.
  • Drug and alcohol treatment options
  • Mental health for both students and families
  • Financial support, free legal services, and housing resources
  • Culturally appropriate resources and partners
  • Tutoring and mentoring opportunities
  • Alternative educational programs

Establish school or district staff participation in boards

  • Who needs to support your boards at the school level? Administrators and/or school counselors can assist with making school decisions and provide the student and parent with school specific answers and assist in changing schedules etc..
  • Student advocates and liaisons
  • Attendance clerks and secretaries
  • School nurses

Establish your purpose

  • Determine the mission of your board and create a mission statement
  • Remember the goal of the CEB is to provide a supportive space where the student and family can opening discuss and identify the reasons of their absences
  • The board should be a space where students and families can avoid further truancy court intervention
  • The CEB can support the student’s successful return into a school setting

Establish the name of your board

  • The board can be as simple as “district” Community Engagement Board, but you can also consider more creative options to represent the message you want to relay
  • Example: VPS Re3

Establish when, where, & how frequently your CEBs will take place

  • Create a flow chart of the truancy process to help you decide where the CEB will best fit your process
  • Identify when you want the board to be: earlier in the process prior to a petition being filed, immediately after the petition is filed, or later in the process if you already have several interventions established such as strong attendance teams or attendance workshops
  • Establish a regular time and place for your boards. Decide how many your district would need? Is it as needed or do you need to host two or three per month?
  • Consider scheduling it during the evening if that is more accommodating for the working parents
  • Are your meeting times and dates reasonable for the student and family? Can you offer alternatives if necessary, like virtual meetings, or meetings on the weekend?

Keep equity in mind when meeting with students and families

  • Make sure your referrals and resources are culturally appropriate
  • Familiarize your board with community partners and resources that are supportive to the student and families attending the board
  • Understand and familiarize yourself with the barriers that face your students and families.
  • Give the student and families time to share their needs to the board

The Paperwork

  • The CEB invitation
  • Checklist for your board
  • A summary of information on the student for board members to review
  • CEB Agreement for the parent/guardian and the student
  • Resources for both the volunteers and one for the families to take home

Potential volunteers should:

  • Have an interest in working with students and the community
  • Demonstrate respect for the rights of students and their family
  • Be non-judgmental towards the students and families they are are working with
  • Have the ability to actively listen and communicate clearly with students and their families
  • Be able to identify the problems that are contributing to truancy and recommend services that will address the problem areas
  • Help to create an equitable and inclusive experience for each student and their family, addressing possible barriers such as preferred languages or limited transportation, helping to identify the resources that best fit each unique set of circumstances – Sample Equity Statement

Recruiting Your Volunteers

  • Connect to community advocacy groups and agencies that work with families in your community
  • Reach out to social service agencies, local healthcare programs, retired educators
  • Connect to your volunteer coordinator within your district (this is helpful because they have a screening process already in place)

Working with Interns

Reach out to local colleges and universities and connect to programs like Human Development, Education, Criminal Justice, and other social science degrees.

  • Interns can participate in your Community Engagement Boards
  • They can mentor students and assist you with your work in many areas

Identify the roles and responsibilities for your board members

  • Identify who will welcome the student/family and provide introductions. This person can also explain the process. It would be beneficial if this person is familiar with the family to help the board to be more welcoming
  • Keep track of the time, if necessary, assign a timekeeper. This person can also check on families waiting if the meeting is going over the time
  • Have someone take notes, fill out the CEB agreement, and obtain signatures. This person can also schedule any necessary follow up

Preparing your volunteers for the board

  • Screen your board volunteers (we recommend you use the screening systems already established for your district volunteers)
  • Training your volunteers – Racial Equity, cultural appropriate recommendations, information local resources, trauma/ACES
  • Encourage learning opportunities. Connect your board members to training opportunities in the community, host a book club, share podcasts and book ideas

Keep equity in mind when recruiting volunteers

  • Do your members represent the students and families that are attending the board?
  • If your members do not represent the students and families are they at least trained on:
    • Implicit bias and racial equity
    • Information on resources and community partners that will be helpful to students and families

Celebrate your board!

  • Host end of the year events, regular training opportunities, plan a kick off event at the beginning of the year
  • Reach out to local business for donations and have raffles and prizes

Other Considerations

  • Reach out to local districts to partner on training opportunities.
  • Partner with other districts if you lack resources.
  • Consider partnering with local universities and colleges and work with interns. These students can support the boards as volunteers but can also assist you in the process.