Talking School Safety & Family Engagement at Noble’s Parent Leadership Series

Photo shows an image of a Zoom meeting with several Noble staff and parents attending. Text over the top of the photo says "School Safety and Family Engagement at Noble's Parent Leadership Series" and there is a Noble logo in the bottom right corner
Published On: June 13th, 2022Categories: 2022, Anti-Racism Commitment, Gary Comer Middle School, Parents, Staff

The major topics of school safety and family engagement took center stage during our latest virtual Parent Leadership Series meeting, where parents across several of our campuses gathered with Noble staff to discuss important issues affecting our communities.

The Parent Leadership Series (PLS) is a program run by our Government & Community Affairs team at Noble Schools during the school year. It consists of workshops for Noble parents to sharpen their advocacy skills and share their stories to impact the Noble community and Chicago as a whole. 

In the past, PLS was focused on helping parents advocate with elected officials in their community. While that is still a focus, PLS has shifted more to make space for parents to give feedback and impact Noble Schools’ policies – something we identified as an important part of our anti-racism work in 2020.

>> Learn more about how parent feedback and engagement are important to our anti-racism work.

This latest meeting is a prime example of the shift to encourage more parent feedback at Noble.

Read more about what they discussed:


School safety is a major concern for many parents, students, and educators in Chicago as violence continues to rise in our city and across the country. It is definitely one of the top concerns for Noble Schools’ parents – as seen in the results of this year’s Family Experience Survey:

Graphic shows 10 person icons, representing 10 families. 7 of them are blue and 3 of them are yellow, showing that 7 out of 10 families believe their child generally feels safe at school

The majority of families worry about violence in schools; however, the vast majority (7 in 10) believe their child generally feels safe in school.

For this school year’s final PLS meeting, Noble Schools’ President, Mike Madden, and Director of Safety & Security, Jasmine Stratton, presented on current and upcoming initiatives to improve safety at our campuses to address these concerns.

Madden touched on how safety is our first and foremost concern because our students cannot learn without safe spaces.

“We absolutely have to provide safe spaces for our children,” Madden said, “If there are not safe spaces inside of our schools, then it’s really difficult to expect the rest of the great stuff to happen.”

After the presentation, parents voiced several questions and comments about school safety at their campuses. Stratton, Madden, and our Government & Community Affairs team took notes and fielded several questions about different routes of violence intervention we are pursuing and communication with families about safety.

Ellen Moiani, our Senior Manager of Government & Community Affairs, wrapped up the Q&A section:

“I want to say that the comments and experiences that are in this chat – we are going to share this with our leaders,” Moiani said to attending parents, “You might not know the impact that it has. But I can promise you that when we share your truths, it has an impact on how people are thinking and the work that they’re doing.”


While school safety took up the bulk of the meeting, a significant portion was also dedicated to getting feedback on how Noble can improve family engagement at our schools. In this year’s Family Experience Survey, family engagement showed the most room for improvement – with less than 1 out of 4 families feeling like they are connected to their school community. About 25% of families felt like they didn’t have even one trusted adult on campus.

Graphic shows two groups of 4 people icon. The first group has 3 blue icons and 1 yellow icon, showing that 3 in 4 families feel they have at least one trusted staff member on campus. The second group has 1 blue icon and 3 yellow icons, showing that less than 1 in 4 families feel connected to, involved, or physically present in schools

While over 3 in 4 families feel they have at least one trusted staff member on campus, less than 1 in 4 feel connected to, involved, or physically present in schools.

“What our team hopes is that we are able to refine our definition of family engagement and therefore, as a network, be able to make goals towards it… and to support staff to be thinking about it as well,” Moiani said.

Parents were sent into breakout rooms to discuss their experiences, how they want to be involved in their child’s education, and how they want staff to connect with them. The time cultivated rich feedback. Parents talked about how important Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meetings, building relationships with school staff, and connecting with other parents are.

“Having the opportunity to talk about parent engagement at the PLS meeting made me feel involved and heard. I’m proud to do my part and, hopefully, we will have more parent engagement in the future and I’m excited about that,” LeKeshia Smith, the parent of an 8th grader at Gary Comer Middle School, said.

If you’re a Noble Schools parent, you can get the latest updates on future parent opportunities like the Parent Leadership Series by signing up on our Family Partners list.

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