Students and staff at Immanuel Lutheran College on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast are reaping the benefits of a new program that taps into the skills and experience of the school’s parents and past students.

The program dubbed “B2B @Immanuel” has unearthed a wealth of business connections in the community which the school has been able to call on for work experience placements, student mentoring and classroom talks.

Amy Thompson, Head of Design, Innovation and Business at Immanuel Lutheran College introduced the concept and works closely with fellow teaching staff and the Marketing and Communications department, to host networking opportunities for the community.

She said while the program had only been running for 12 months, the College already had a database of more than 120 business professionals they could call on.

“We have a high concentration of small businesses in our school community and we wanted to leverage opportunities for those businesses to not only mentor and connect with our students, but also to get to know those small businesses so we can support them, which in the current climate is really important too,’’ Amy says.

The school has held two networking events and their senior business students are now compiling a directory of businesses run by current and former parents, as well as former students, which will be circulated amongst the school community.

Rich well of professionals now able to be called on for learning

There have been many practical benefits for the students and teaching staff – such as having a rich well of professionals to call on for class talks and work experience placements – but there were also plenty of subtle benefits, Amy reports.

“For me this was about making sure we had some really authentic connections (with parents), not just saying ‘what can you give to us, or can you sponsor this’,’’ she says.

“It was about everyone getting benefit from it and for ongoing relationships to be established and giving these businesses owners opportunities to help in a way that before might not have been visible.’’

Parent engagement makes sense

Amy said research showed the concept of ‘parent engagement’ in children’s education (which the B2B program is a great example of) worked.

“We know that when parents, teachers and students collaborate and work together, student outcomes and their engagement in the classroom is significantly higher,’’ she said.

“Fostering connections is a big part of the picture.’’

The school chose to postpone the most recent networking event due to social distancing recommendations from authorities, but the events will resume at an appropriate time.

Find out more about the research into parent engagement

Read more about parent engagement in our most recent story here.

Download our one-page factsheet on parent engagement here.

Read about the partnership between Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network and Independent Schools Queensland to develop an overarching Parent and Community Engagement Strategy for member schools here.

Read in detail about parent engagement and how schools can implement effective strategies in the recently released report The Parent Engagement Implementation Guide by Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) here.

There is a rich well of information and research about parent engagement, which we have compiled on our website. | LEARN MORE

There are also many wonderful websites with tips and advice for parents who want to connect school learning with life at home, which we have compiled for you here. | READ MORE