Family Engagement in Ninth District PTA

For January, assess your practices in meeting Standard 3 – Supporting Student Success.

Families and school staff should continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Sharing information about student progress: Do families know and understand how well their children are succeeding in school and how well the entire school is progressing?
  • Ensuring parent-teacher communication about student progress:  For example, parents can contact teachers through e-mail, notes, or phone messages and receive a timely response. Teachers make contact with all families at the start of the year to establish positive relationships.
  • Linking student work to academic standards:  For example, teachers display students’ writing assignments to demonstrate how students used skills such as clear and concise language, proper spelling, and staying on the topic
  • Using standardized test results to increase achievement: For example, the principal explains at an informational meeting when and which standardized tests are given at which grade levels, and why the tests are being given.
  • Sharing school progress: For example, the principal or other school administrators host parent meetings for each grade or subject matter to present academic goals for the year and to solicit feedback.
  • Supporting Learning by Engaging Families: Are families active participants in their children’s learning at home and at school?
  • Engaging families in classroom learning. For example, grandparents discuss life under segregation during a lesson on civil rights.
  • Developing family ability to strengthen learning at home: For example, an expert is invited to give a presentation to help parents deal with the tough issues of raising teenagers.
  • Promoting after-school learning: For example, fliers about school-based as well as community-based programs are sent home with the student. E-mail, Web announcements, and phone calls in families’ home languages are also utilized.

    Click here to download the entire Family Engagement guide.

Family Engagement

Family Engagement acknowledges families as the first teachers of their children and realizes the integral role that families play in the total development of the child. The commission supports parents, guardians and family caregivers by:

  • Strengthening/teaching parenting skills and encouraging involvement in schools and at home
  • Supporting the understanding of childhood development stages
  • Providing resource materials such as Parents Empowering Parents – PEP Guide (Los Padres Eligen Participar).
  • Networking with agencies and groups focusing on parent involvement

California State PTA and the National PTA have developed a guide for Family-School Partnership that supports the LCFF and LCAP and focuses on the following six standards.

Click under each of the Standards below to assess your practices in meeting them.

Standard 1 – Welcoming All Families

Actions for making families feel welcomed, valued and connected to each other and the school.

Click Here to Learn More About Standard 1

Assess your practices in meeting Standard 1 – Welcoming All Families.

Schools are all about relationships. The interactions among teachers, students, families, principals, other school staff, and visitors set the tone for everything else. That’s why the first of the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships is about creating a welcoming school community. Walk into any school and you can feel right away if it’s a happy, productive place where people enjoy working and learning or if it’s…something else. Parents tell us that being greeted warmly and treated with respect is the number one reason behind their school involvement.

Standard #1 of the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Assessment Guide offers some advice to help encourage parent involvement.

Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.

Here are some ways to get started

  • Creating a Welcoming Climate: When families walk into the building, do they feel the school is inviting and is a place where they “belong”?
  • Developing personal relationships. For example, a staff member or family volunteer, using the family’s home language, gives a new immigrant family information about the school and a tour of the building
  • Creating a family-friendly atmosphere. For example, entrances are clearly marked and a sign inside the front door welcomes families in the main languages of the community.
  • Providing opportunities for volunteering. For example, a small group of parents are used by the school when volunteers are needed.
  • Respecting all families. For example, PTA/parent group members from different neighborhoods and backgrounds work with school staff to ensure that media center and classroom materials reflect the diversity of the community.
  • Removing economic obstacles to participation. For example, the school book fair offers a section of new or gently used books donated by other parents to be made available at no cost.
  • Ensuring accessible programming. For example, a family dinner and science exploration program is held on a Sunday evening instead of a weekday

Standard 2 – Communicating Effectively

The building blocks to effective communication between parents, schools and parent groups

Click Here to Learn More About Standard 2

Assess your practices in meeting Standard 2 – Communicating Effectively.

The lifeblood of any relationship and any organization is communication. Communication is a process through which information is exchanged. Yet many ways that schools give out information, such as handouts, newsletters, handbooks, automatic phone messages, and websites, do not provide an easy and routine way for families to respond. Even PTA/parent group meetings are often seen by school leaders merely as a way to get the message out to families. The most effective way to build a real partnership is to create regular opportunities for open, honest dialogue.

Does your school keep all families informed about important issues and events and make it easy for families to communicate with teachers?

Here are some ways to get started

Goal: Focus on how to break down barriers at your school by:

  • Sharing information between school and families – Does the school keep all families informed about important issues and events and make it easy for families to communicate with teachers?
  • Use of multiple communications paths – The PTA/parent group and school keep families informed of upcoming events in a variety of ways, including regular print and electronic notices, in the languages spoken in the community.
  • Surveying families to identify issues and concerns – For example, the executive committee of the PTA/parent group and the principal meet over the summer to discuss the parent survey results and plan strategies to address barriers.
  • Providing information on current issues – For example, the principal meets monthly with the PTA/parent group president to review issues that may affect families and student learning. The issues discussed are determined solely by the principal.

Standard 3 – Supporting Student Success

Encouraging parent involvement to heighten student achievement

Click Here to Learn More About Standard 3

Assess your practices in meeting Standard 3 – Supporting Student Success.

Families and school staff should continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Sharing information about student progress: Do families know and understand how well their children are succeeding in school and how well the entire school is progressing?
  • Ensuring parent-teacher communication about student progress:  For example, parents can contact teachers through e-mail, notes, or phone messages and receive a timely response. Teachers make contact with all families at the start of the year to establish positive relationships.
  • Linking student work to academic standards:  For example, teachers display students’ writing assignments to demonstrate how students used skills such as clear and concise language, proper spelling, and staying on the topic
  • Using standardized test results to increase achievement: For example, the principal explains at an informational meeting when and which standardized tests are given at which grade levels, and why the tests are being given.
  • Sharing school progress: For example, the principal or other school administrators host parent meetings for each grade or subject matter to present academic goals for the year and to solicit feedback.
  • Supporting Learning by Engaging Families: Are families active participants in their children’s learning at home and at school?
  • Engaging families in classroom learning. For example, grandparents discuss life under segregation during a lesson on civil rights.
  • Developing family ability to strengthen learning at home: For example, an expert is invited to give a presentation to help parents deal with the tough issues of raising teenagers.
  • Promoting after-school learning: For example, fliers about school-based as well as community-based programs are sent home with the student. E-mail, Web announcements, and phone calls in families’ home languages are also utilized.

Standard 4 – Speaking Up for Every Child

Methods for becoming an effective advocate for children and their education

Click Here to Learn More About Standard 4

Assess your practices in meeting Standard 4 – Speaking up for Every Child.

All children need an advocate—someone to speak out and stand up for them. Most likely that “someone” will be a parent, guardian, or close family member. Students whose families don’t know how to advocate effectively and constructively are at a real disadvantage. School staff and PTAs/parent groups can make a critical contribution by ensuring all students have an advocate—whether it’s a family member, teacher, or community volunteer—and by offering opportunities for parents and community members to learn and practice the special set of skills that speaking up for children requires. Advocates often address issues affecting groups of children, but every child also needs someone who will step in and look out for him or her as an individual. To be a strong advocate for a child, a person should know the child well, talk to him or her often, and deeply want him or her to succeed.

Standard #4 of the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Assessment Guide offers some advice to help encourage parent involvement.

Advocates often address issues affecting groups of children, but every child also needs someone who will step in and look out for him or her as an individual. To be a strong advocate for a child, a person should know the child well, talk to him or her often, and deeply want him or her to succeed.

Here are some ways to get started

Goal 1: Understanding How the School System Works: Do parents know how the local school and district operate and how to raise questions or concerns about school and district programs, policies, and activities? Do they understand their rights and responsibilities under federal and state law as well as local ordinances and policies?

  • Understanding how the school and district operate: For example, the school handbook is available in print and on the school website. It is also available in various languages as needed.
  • Understanding rights and responsibilities under federal and state laws:  For example, information about each of these mandates is posted on the school’s website with links to other programs related to these mandates
  • Learning about resources:  For example, the school and parent group create a school handbook with academic resources that is available in all languages spoken in the community
  • Resolving problems and conflicts:  For example, a Guide to Identifying and Resolving Problems at School is developed and made available on the school website and in print, in appropriate languages.

Goal 2: Empowering Families to Support Their Own and Other Children’s Success in School: Are parents prepared to monitor students’ progress and guide them toward their goals through high school graduation, postsecondary education, and a career?

  • Developing families’ capacity to be effective advocates:  For example, the PTA/parent group provides monthly tips (on the school website and in print) on how to be an advocate for student success.
  • Planning for the future:  For example, local employers are invited to speak at a school career expo, and asked to offer field trips to work sites
  • Smoothing transitions:  For example, an elementary school organizes visits to the middle school for parents and students, who are given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new environment and to ask questions.

Standard 5 Sharing Power

Ways to share power between families, students, teachers, school staff and the community

Click Here to Learn More About Standard 5

Sharing Power

In a true partnership, all parties have an equal say in important decisions. This is what it means to share power. The lessons we teach our students about democracy in social studies class should come alive in our schools. If families, students, teachers, other school staff, and community members can speak their concerns, take part in elections and other decision-making processes, and meet openly to debate important questions, they will be actively practicing democracy.

Standard #5 of the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Assessment Guide offers some advice to help encourage parent involvement. Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs.

Here are some ways to get started

Goal 1: Strengthening the Family’s Voice in Shared Decision Making: Are all families full partners in making decisions that affect their children at school and in the community?

  • Having a voice in all decisions that affect children. For example, the school informs families in advance about changes in the school schedule or building renovations, and offers contact information in case families have questions.
  • Addressing equity issues. For example, parents and faculty work on shared strategies and jointly determine best practices in raising student attendance.
  • Developing parent leadership. For example, leaders greet families as they bring their children to school events, and get their ideas for family learning activities.

Goal 2: Building Families’ Social and Political Connections: Do families have a strong, broad-based organization that offers regular opportunities to develop relationships and raise concerns with school leaders, public officials, and business and community leaders?

  • Connecting families to local officials. For example, the PTA/parent group supplies voter registration forms in the school’s front office.
  • Developing an effective parent involvement organization that represents all families. For example, all parents interested in leadership roles in the school are invited to participate in leadership training, and those holding such positions are required to participate.
  • Understanding how the school and district operate For example, the school handbook is available in print and on the school website. It is also available in various languages as needed.

Standard 6 – Collaborating With Community

Resources for connecting the school with the community

Click Here to Learn More About Standard 6

Collaborating with Community

In a true partnership, all parties have an equal say in important decisions. This is what it means to share power. The lessons we teach our students about democracy in social studies class should come alive in our schools. If families, students, teachers, other school staff, and community members can speak their concerns, take part in elections and other decision-making processes, and meet openly to debate important questions, they will be actively practicing democracy.

Standard #6 of the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Assessment Guide offers some advice to help encourage parent involvement.

Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.

Here are some ways to get started

Goal: Connecting the School with Community Resources: Do parent and school leaders work closely with community organizations, businesses, and institutions of higher education to strengthen the school, make resources available to students, school staff, and families, and build a family-friendly community?

  • Linking to community resources.  For example, the school office has a bulletin board and resource table with brochures about local colleges, health services, sports teams, and service learning opportunities.
  • Organizing support from community partners.  For example, the PTA/parent group plans an After-school or Summer Camp Resource Fair.
  • Turning the school into a hub of community life.  For example, the PTA/parent group approaches scout groups and 4-H clubs about organizing chapters that can meet at the school
  • Partnering with community groups to strengthen families and support student success.  For example, holding a health expo at a Cinco de Mayo celebration or a job fair on a soccer field.
California State PTA Resources

http://capta.org/focus-areas/family-engagement/

Download the complete family-school assessment guide:

 

 


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