The EdVenture Group, in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education, congratulates the 2023-2024 L.I.F.E. cohort. In April 2024, 31 school leaders from across the state of West Virginia completed the West Virginia Family Engagement Center’s (WVFEC) Leaders Investing in Family Engagement (L.I.F.E.) Program. Participants in this third 2023-2024 L.I.F.E. cohort represent ten schools across seven counties. Each participating school included a school team of three.

"L.I.F.E. has allowed EdVenture to connect with school leaders to bridge meaningful leadership skills to real applications in schools for families across West Virginia."

The L.I.F.E. Program focuses on building leadership capacity, effective family engagement strategies, and connected, supportive networks for strong leadership. L.I.F.E. participants met virtually the first and third Tuesday of each month from September to April. On the first Tuesday, participants joined for a monthly content session that focused on an evidence-based leadership and/or family engagement topic. On the third Tuesday, participants joined together to collaborate in pods (breakout groups based on elementary, middle, and high school). This provided participants an opportunity to collaborate with leaders from other schools to share insights, brainstorm solutions to challenges, and consider new ways of implementing family engagement. During the pod session, school teams also focused on applying learning to a broader family engagement strategy while completing a pod activity.

L.I.F.E. Content Sessions

The L.I.F.E. Program content sessions included engaging topics relevant to school leaders, including:

In the first three years of providing services through the West Virginia Family Engagement Center, The EdVenture Group determined that there was a true need to help school leaders as they strive to enhance family engagement. The EdVenture Group has used their unique background in education, business, and leadership to design a program that stretches the thinking of school leaders- not only in leadership but in how these topics specifically apply to family engagement.

“If I’m being honest, there were times throughout the program where meeting as a group felt daunting- with a mile long to-do list, an excessive amount of responsibilities, and sometimes barely making it to the end of the day; I was exhausted. However, after each session my team and I talked to decompress and reflect. It almost started feeling like a therapy session- good for the soul and rejuvenating. Having meaning conversations and sharing ideas is something I very much started looking forward to. Hearing from other teams/ schools also played a vital role for me in this program. It created a sense of unity- “We may be in different boats, but we’re in the same storm.” The L.I.F.E Program put me in a mindset necessary to lead with a family focus and intently cultivating meaningful relationships with our families. I'm pleased that we made the decision to allocate our time and participate in this program, and I’m confident in our ability to improve our school environment where our families feel valued, supported, and empowered in their child's educational journey.”

About The EdVenture Group

The EdVenture Group is a national non-profit organization committed to creating customized solutions to educational challenges. Founded in 2001 by classroom teacher Dr. Lydotta Taylor, EdV is a nonprofit organization inspiring lifelong learning at all levels by developing and delivering innovative solutions to obstacles in K-12 education. The organization has managed over $25 million in federal, state, local, and private funding to provide proven processes, programs, and expertise to students, educators, and communities in Appalachia and across the nation. For more information, visit or contact Kayla Benson, Director of Impact, at [email protected]

About The West Virginia Statewide Family Engagement Center

The West Virginia Statewide Family Engagement Center was made possible by Grant #U310A180062 from the U.S. Department of Education. The program is based on current, evidence-based practices that engage families, educators, and community members in the educational process to enhance student academic achievement. This initiative offers families a variety of opportunities to participate in their child’s learning both inside and outside of school.