Community Engagment

Call to Action:

Successful Connected Learning environments link learning in school, home, and community, because learners achieve best when their learning is supported in multiple settings. In the Hive Chicago Community, our network’s strength is in the informal, out-of-school setting — we have an incredible ecosystem of programs for youth, from museums to after-school programs to community-based organizations, that recognizes learning when it happens anytime, anywhere.

But what happens when youth leave our programs? How is their learning reinforced in school, or at home? Beyond their own personal interests and passions, what motivates youth to attend our programs? And how well is Hive supporting the Connected Learning that happens before youth reach us?

How can we transform Chicago into a Connected Learning ecosystem, not just in our programs, but across all of the contexts in youth’s lives?

Moonshot Goal: integration of best practices to support the extended community of program participants (youth) as cheerleaders and challengers to enable youth to engage in Connected Learning in the long term.

Moonshot Lead- Amaris Alanis-Ribeiro | Chicago Botanic Gardens

 

Check out the latest Moonshot Health Report to learn more about past projects and future directions.

 

Check out the latest Moonshot Health Report to learn more about past projects and future directions.
If you would like to learn more about this work or get involved please join us at our next meetup or contact our Portfolio Strategist- Brenda Hernandez

Accountable Members:
Amaris Alanis-Ribeiro - North Park Village Nature Center, Chicago Park District

Responsible Members:
C. Meghan Hausman - Center for College Access and Success

Narrative

The Parent Engagement Moonshot pursues integration of best practices to to support parents in their roles as cheerleaders and challengers to enable students to engage in Connected Learning in the long term. We use the word "parent" broadly; our target audience includes other custodial adults, caregivers, and adults of influence who support our young people over time.

Read More

Successful Connected Learning environments link learning in school, home, and community, because learners achieve best when their learning is supported in multiple settings.. In the Hive Chicago Community, our network’s strength is in the informal, out-of-school setting — we have an incredible ecosystem of programs for youth, from museums to after-school programs to community-based organizations, that recognizes learning when it happens anytime, anywhere.

But what happens when youth leave our programs? How is their learning reinforced in school, or at home? Beyond their own personal interests and passions, what motivates youth to attend our programs? And how well is Hive supporting the Connected Learning that happens before youth reach us?

How can we transform Chicago into a Connected Learning ecosystem, not just in our programs, but across all of the contexts in youth’s lives?

Parents, custodial adults, caregivers, and other adults of influence are poised to be lifelong coaches of their children, helping them to connect their experiences and learning across multiple contexts. We know parents can be some of the best advocates for their children. We also know that learning is more personal, relevant, and sustained when it iss supported by engagement outside of the intervention of the program. Time spent at home or in the community with these adults of influence is well-positioned for this type of reinforcement.

It’s a complex landscape; our guess is that there won’t be just one solution, but many. To inform our work going forward, one of our first steps will be to survey the existing parents in our network to better define the problems and gaps in our thinking and to identify some well-informed solutions.

 


Exemplary Solutions

  • The Maker MOB (Mobile On-site Builders)

    Reach families unfamiliar with the maker movement in communities underrepresented in the STEM fields.


    The Maker MOB is a direct response to a challenge we face time and again as Hive members: we're running all these cool informal learning programs built upon the tenets of Connected Learning, but they don't look like school, and many parents don't recognize these experiences as valuable or accessible.

    A quickly-assembled pilot test at Chicago flea market Swap-o-Rama featured STEM and making activities in a place they might not normally be found. Young people eagerly approached us, ready to make balloon cars and newspaper geodesic domes. Parents let us know that they'd never seen anything like this at the market before. And child and parent alike tinkered side-by-side. We knew we wanted to offer more in this realm.

    Thus, we put forth the Maker MOB to bring STEM making activities into community spaces, meeting families where they're at, with the explicit goal of increasing the inherent value of maker spaces.

  • STEM Community Ambassadors

    Bridging community partnerships


    The STEM Community Ambassadors project found its origins in the need to build a bridge between the learning youth participants do in out-of-school programs and the communities they go to school and live in.

    This initiative supported local adults in leading programs in their neighborhoods by immersing the Ambassador in the world of connected learning while empowering them to provide a critical perspective during program development.


Seed Solutions

  • Surveying Our Network: To get a better sense of what parent engagement looks like in our network and beyond, we need to ask questions! We’ll start this through a Parent Engagement Curation Project, where we ask organizations to share how they’re already connecting with parents. We are also developing a survey for our in-network parents, to learn more about how they find opportunities and engage with our member institutions.

  • Parents at Hive is Five: Hive’s event in January will bring together many stakeholders invested in building and illuminating learning networks for Chicago’s youth. We need parents to be among the voices at the table. As we’re planning and spreading the word about Hive is Five, we want to get parent input and tap into networks that will help us attract a diverse set of parents who will inform our work going forward.

  • Getting Opportunities to Parents: We know Chicago has a wealth of opportunities to offer young people, and we want to make them more visible to families across the city. Possibilities include an aggregating site for Hive programs, a Hive Parent newsletter, and including our events and programs on existing parent blogs and websites. We should also look to the work of other Moonshot groups to see where efforts can combine.

  • Southside Mini Maker Faire: Parents and educators want information from each other, but with busy schedules it can be hard to find time to converse. A Hive Chicago Family Lounge tent at the 2015 Southside Mini Maker Faire will connect out-of-school learning providers and the parents of young Chicagoans. Hive members will staff the booth on a rotating schedule, providing water, information, and activities to encourage families at the free event to stop by for a few minutes (or longer). Our goal is to make meaningful connections with adult allies and to hear from them what they would like from their young people’s program providers.

    Learn More