Equip is a parent engagement program which allows Fortress to identify needs and recommend resources for the families enrolled in its programs. It provides regular parent-involvement activities and classes which are designed to encourage, engage and empower parents to be more intentional in the academic and social development of their children.
The success of programs like the ones at Fortress depends on both family and community involvement. While Fortress's programs have proven to be successful in a number of ways (consistently improving reading and math literacy scores among its students is important to note), Fortress staff has realized that even greater strides can be made when parents are invested more intentionally in their children's success. Studies show that regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:
- earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
- be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
- attend school regularly
- have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
- graduate and go on to postsecondary education
(Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education, National Education Association)
Families of students in our after-school and preschool programs are automatically a part of Equip, where they have the opportunity to participate in biannual parent conferences, monthly classes and family events, and a weekly parent support group. Families must collectively complete 12 hours of parent engagement activities and two conferences each year to remain eligible for Fortress's after school, preschool, and summer programs.