Bruns Elementary

We’ve had the honor of working with Brenda Alston-Hasan for several years now, first in her position with Ashley Park PreK-8 School, and currently in her position as the assistant principal at Bruns Avenue Elementary in Charlotte, NC.

Bruns Elementary is a part of our family empowerment initiative, where we provide support to schools across the nation by helping them leverage data to determine family needs and co-create events and solutions in order to meet those needs, all while increasing levels of engagement and empowerment. Our team was doing this type of work at Ashley Park in Charlotte while Brenda worked there, and she saw the results firsthand.

It’s nice to know the support given to me at Ashley Park is also being transferred to Bruns, she says. By that, I mean helping us be laser-focused on our families and ensuring everything we do is what our families are asking for.


· Brenda states on average Bruns Elementary has between 200-250 families attending their family empowerment events year-round.

· During the 2021-22 school year, the school’s NPS score (a metric used to gauge satisfaction with an event or entity) increased 30 points. This took the school from “good” to “world-class.”

· By the end of the 2021-22 school year, 78% more caretakers reported attending events at the school, 19% more caretakers reported advocating for their child(ren) and 73% more parents reported connecting with other parents.

· At the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, 68.75% of respondents felt the school connected them to community partners. By the end of the year, that percentage was up to 92.86%

· At the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, only 8.59% of respondents said they had attended a school event during the previous academic year. By the end of the year, that had increased to 86.70%


Many schools struggle to get families involved throughout the year. Research shows that caretakers who attend school events and are active in their child’s learning environment have more positive things to say about schools, which can lead to increased enrollment and funding. Additionally, children with involved caretakers tend to perform better in school and exceed expectations in the classroom.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to get caretakers into schools as often as possible, but simply planning events doesn’t get to the root of the issue: families, particularly those in underserved and marginalized communities, might be facing challenges that prevent them from being as active as they’d like to be in their student’s educational environment.

We don’t only want families engaged in schools: we want to connect families with community resources, co-create solutions with them and empower them to take a greater role in their child’s learning.


The core of everything we do with our family empowerment program is data. It’s not a good idea to simply guess at what families in any individual district might need: instead, we ask them their needs through our pre-survey process.

Pre-surveys are distributed to families at our partner schools during the first half of the year through multiple forums. They are reminded of these surveys over the course of several weeks to ensure we collect as much data as possible. These surveys ask families questions about their feelings toward the school, resources they need access to and more.

After collecting the data, we go through it all to find trends, both specific to individual schools as well as regional trends that might inform larger efforts.

Armed with this information, we work directly with our partner schools to plan events which cater to the families needs so they can better support their students. Our team meets monthly with school leaders, teachers, parents and caretakers through the Family Empowerment Committee. This allows everyone to be involved in the planning, solution creation and implementation process.

Finally, at the end of the year we sent out more surveys asking the same questions so we can gauge our success. Oftentimes, we find parents have a higher opinion of the school, have engaged more with events and feel better suited to support their students at home at the end of the year.

These surveys take the guesswork out of planning get togethers for families and give schools tangible data to work with. Brenda believes the surveys are why we’re able to achieve the success we do at schools.

“At Ashley Park, we were seeing less than 20 families on average at events, and then we started to see astronomical increases of families participating in our events,” she says. “I thought maybe it was by chance, but then I was able to see it at Bruns. There’s a formula that works that’s being used, and I think it’s the family survey. The family survey is key – it’s pivotal to everything we do.”

The family survey is key – it’s pivotal to everything we do.


We began working with Bruns Elementary during their 2021-22 school year, making this our second academic year at the public school. During our first year with the school, we helped ideate and host three family empowerment events: a Black History Month Community Partner event, a Spring Fling Friday Night event, and a Summer Drive-Through event.

Through these three events, over 400 individuals were connected with 14 Charlotte community partners ranging from organizations with expertise in financial wellness to the local libraries.

During our pre-survey analysis, we were able to collect 128 surveys representing 147 students in the elementary school. These surveys ask questions and have respondents rate statements such as:

  • How confident are you that you can motivate your child to try hard in school?
  • How confident are you in your ability to support your child’s learning at home?
  • When I walk into the school, I feel the school is inviting and this is a place where parents “belong.”
  • I believe my ideas are valued at my child’s school.
  • If the school can’t help me, they will connect me to someone who can.

Across all questions and statements, we saw a positive increase in responses when we surveyed families again at the end of the school year. By the end of the year, 96.05% of families felt that when they walk into Bruns, it is a place where they belong, 94.44% of families reported feeling like their ideas were valued at the school and families overwhelmingly expressed their satisfaction with the way Bruns keeps them up to date on important events and issues (96.03%), as well as making it easy to communicate with teachers (94.44%).

While we were so excited to see the school’s numbers go up, we know there are always ways to improve, especially when it comes to students. Through our program, we are constantly analyzing data and sharing all the information we have with schools along with our recommendations so they can continue to build on the momentum we started. All of this information is compiled into a report and shared with our school partners at the end of the year.

Our partner schools, Bruns Avenue Elementary included, are partners throughout this entire process. We co-create the solutions for families not only with the educators in the schools, but also with the families themselves.

“SchermCo provides that support to ensure families are able to get the best from schools,” Brenda says. “I’ve seen it from two schools.”

We’re honored to support schools in this way! Learn more about our Family Empowerment Program here.

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