Ed612 Parent Involvement Handbook

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  • 1. UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA - SOUTHEAST
     
    COMMUNITY, SCHOOLS
    A Parent Handbook
     
    Submitted to Bernie P. Gurule, Instructor
    In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
    School and Community Relations
    Education 612
    U.A.S. Campus, Sitka Alaska
    Chris Coffeen
    Meaghan Loughlin
    Fiona Worcester
    Noah Zogas
    July 16, 2010
  • 2. “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand.” – Confucius
    Table of Contents
    Who Are Parents? 3
    Parental Involvement 5
    Standard I: Communication 6
    Standard II: Parenting 8
    Standard III: Student Learning 10
    Standard IV: Volunteering 12
    Standard V: Decision-Making 14
    Standard VI: Community Collaboration 16
    In Conclusion… 18
    References 19
    Fundamental Beliefs of Parent Involvement
    Parents want what is best for their children.
    Parents, regardless of their background or circumstances, can be a key resource in their children’s education.
    All children can learn, and the focus of educators’ efforts needs to be on children’s success
    2
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
  • 3. “It takes a village to raise a child.” – African Proverb
    This handbook is a tool to help you get involved with your child’s education.
    Thank you!
    Just reading this handbook means you are taking an active role in your child’s education!
    Who are parents?
    In this handbook, a parent is anyone who shares responsibility for a child’s education and development. A parent could be an aunt, a grandfather, a cousin, a foster parent, a legal guardian, a sibling, or even a neighbor or family friend.
    3
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
  • 4. The key to your child’s success is YOU!
    Surprising fact:
    The best predictor of a students’ school success is not their wealth, but how well their family:
    1) Creates a home environment that encourages learning.
    2) Communicates high but reasonable expectations for the child’s achievement and future career.
    3) Becomes involved in the child’s education in the school and in the community.
    We all have a responsibility for our children, and we all win when students grow up prepared for the world after school!
    Our focus areas are taken from the six National Parent-Teacher Association standards shown below. For more information, see their helpful publication, Building Successful Partnerships.
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    OUR SIX AREAS OF FOCUS:
    Communication
    Parenting
    Student Learning
    Volunteering
    Decision-Making
    Community Involvement
    4
  • 5. “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” – John Ruskin
    Parental Involvement
    You are your child’s primary educator. Our goal is to make it easier for you to become involved in your child’s education, beyond parent-teacher conferences. We want to:
     
    Foster two-way communication between you and the school.
    Aid you in your role as the primary educator of your child.
    Provide resources to help you make decisions about your child’s education, health and well-being.
    Work with school educators and the community to support your child’s education.
    Introduce you to community organizations and volunteer opportunities that support our vision of success for all children in our community.
    In the following pages, we’ll discuss ways to involve parents, family, students, and the community in the education process.
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Studies show that parent and family involvement in education produces meaningful, lasting results.
    5
  • 6. I. CommunicationCommunication between home and school is two-way, regular, and meaningful
    Parents, teachers, administrators, and students must listen to each other
    Communicate goals and concerns
    Create goals together
    Continue communicating about progress made
    Whales sing to communicate. Have you done your form of singing today?
    Research shows that everyone benefits with improved communication.
    PARENTS
    STUDENTS
    SCHOOL STAFF
    Gain awareness of progress and abilities
    Better understand expectations and rules
    Become more aware of student-parent partnership
    Better understand school activities and rules
    Become more aware of child’s progress
    Become more involved in child’s learning
    Appreciate parent volunteers
    Gain understanding of parents’ views of their child’s work
    Are better teachers as result of talking with parents
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Concern #1: It can be difficult to communicate with busy or single-parent families or across cultures.
    Concern #2: Parents may be unfamiliar with the school and ways to communicate.
    Solution: This book! We created this tool to foster communication and help parents get connected and involved.
    Solution: Communications need to be sensitive and account for social and cultural differences between staff and parents.
    6
  • 7. Why? To educate parents about the school’s emergency lockdown procedures (from a parent’s perspective).
    What? We will go through the different roles that the parents, district employees, and local authorities will execute in case of an emergency school closure.
    When/Where? At the request of the school district, the fire chief will be available the Friday before school starts. We will have a barbeque at 4:00 pm in front of the outdoor basketball courts.
    Materials: Printed copies of emergency lockdown procedures, comment cards, parent/guardian pamphlet, white board, projector screen, chairs, hamburgers, soda, and chips.
    Success? A comment card will be sent out to parents who attended. Also, an emergency procedure pamphlet with parent input from the meeting will be sent out to every parent and guardian at the school.
    Action Plan I. CommunicationOpen discussion with parents, staff, and authorities on emergency lockdown procedures
    Concerned about a language barrier?
    Our solution:
    Printed materials will be sent home ahead of time. Translators may be available if you call ahead.
    Concerned abouttransportation?
    People Mover bus passes will be available upon request.
    7
  • 8. II. ParentingParenting skills are promoted and supported
    Almost every job requires training, except for the most important job of all - parenting! Many of our school staff are parents themselves, and understand the challenges you face – ask any of them and they will admit to moments of anger and confusion. However, there are many resources available to help you. We all have the same goal – your child’s success.
    Puffin parents take turns sitting on the nest. Who are the “puffin parents” or mentors in your child’s life?
    Research shows valuing and supporting parents benefits everyone.
    PARENTS
    STUDENTS
    SCHOOL STAFF
    Attend school more regularly
    Gain awareness of the importance of education
    Are more aware of parents’ role in their education, and are more respectful
    1. Become more aware of the challenges in parenting
    2. Feel more confident in their relationship with their child as a “student”
    Gain greater respect for the efforts and strengths of families
    Better understand student and family diversity
    Are more in touch with families’ goals and concerns
    Concern #1: Parents may be too overwhelmed to get more involved in their child’s education.
    Concern #2: Divorced or separated parents may not share information regarding their child’s education.
    8
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Solution: All materials sent home from school will be transmitted to both parents whenever possible.
    Solution: A LOT of resources are available to students and parents at the counseling center.
  • 9. Why? To show our appreciation for parents’ contributions and input and to give parents the opportunity to network with other parents.
    What? Teachers will provide food for an evening of informal socializing without a set agenda. Come celebrate your children and your dedication to them.
    When/Where? April 15th in the school foyer from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.
    Materials: All members of the staff and faculty participate. Tables, chairs, dinnerware, food donations.
    Success? Full faculty participation and a good parent turnout.
    Action Plan II. ParentingSchool staff and administration will host a potluck for parents
    Children need your presence, not your presents.” – Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr.
    Your time is the most valuable thing you can give your kid(s). As the most important person in their lives, you are your child’s primary educator, and you have the greatest influence on who they become.
    9
  • 10. III. Student LearningParents play and integral part in assisting student learning
    School-aged kids spend six hours of their school day with teachers. They spend the rest of the time with you (parents) and other caretakers. By taking a hands-on approach in helping your child to learn, you can go a long way in leading them to succeed!
    Polar bear cubs rely on parental guidance for their first two years of life, just as your child relies upon you for many things.
    Research shows that when parents are involved in a child’s school work, everyone benefits.
    PARENTS
    STUDENTS
    SCHOOL STAFF
    Become more confident learners
    Develop a better attitude about school and homework
    Get better grades and have better attendance
    1. Better understand how to support their child’s school work at home
    2. Talk with their kids about school more
    3. Better understand what their kids are learning
    Have more respect for family time
    Create more interesting and interactive homework
    Recognize parent and family involvement in school success
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Concern #1: Parents not fluent in English may not understand the curriculum or how to help their child learn at home.
    Concern #2: Parents (or teachers) may assume parents are not able to help their children succeed in school.
    Solution: We value your role in your child’s education and we want to help you help your child.
    Solution: We will make every effort to provide translated resources and bilingual assistance.
    10
  • 11. Why? To show parents from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds that materials are available in their native languages. Teachers and administrators want to involve all parents in education.
    What? An open house parent’s night geared towards parents who speak English as a second language or who are unfamiliar with the school.
    When/Where? September 15th from 5:30-8:00 pm in the school gymnasium.
    Materials: Parent involvement resource handouts translated into languages spoken at the school. Translators for as many languages as possible, tables and chairs, pizza, soda, water, and comment cards.
    Success? Request that parents fill out a comment card on the way out the door. Use comments to refine the parent’s night, to address issues which may not have been covered, and to reach out to parents further throughout the school year.
    Action Plan III. Student LearningBridging cultural and linguistic barriers to involve parents of different ethnic backgrounds in education
    Do you want to contribute but don’t know how?
    We always want parents involved!If you’re unsure how to help, talk to a teacher, counselor, or the school office to find out how.
    11
    Did you swear you’d never go back to school?
    We’d like to show you how things have changed!
  • 12. IV. VolunteeringParents are welcome in the school, and their support and assistance are sought
    As an adult and parent in this community, you have experiences, skills, and knowledge that nobody else has. This is why your direct involvement in school sports, activities, and leadership is so important. We want to make it easier for you to get involved – only you can do what you do.
    In the Iditarod, no team could make it to Nome without the volunteers. How can you help your school’s team get to its destination?
    Research shows that when parents volunteer their time, the entire community benefits.
    PARENTS
    STUDENTS
    SCHOOL STAFF
    Gain a variety of skills and knowledge taught by volunteers
    Learn skills that help them talk to adults
    Appreciate the time and talents of volunteers
    Appreciate parents’ talents and contributions
    Have more time to work with students
    Gain insight into students’ lives through interactions with parents
    1. Feel welcomed and valued at school
    Gain confidence in their ability to be good role models
    Better understand the teacher’s role
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Concern #1: Parents may not know if their talents are useful to the school or how to contribute.
    Concern #2: Parents may be uncomfortable being screened for volunteering.
    Solution: Remember, screening is to keep children safe, not to make you feel unwelcome.
    Solution: We can always use your help. Stop by the office and introduce yourself!
    12
  • 13. Why? To make it easier for parents to volunteer in school during the day.
    What? As part of their curriculum, the home economics class will provide childcare free of charge two days per week for parents who want to volunteer. Volunteers from the community will assist the class with childcare.
    When/Where? Throughout the school year, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in the home economics classroom.
    Materials: Liability forms, volunteer coordinator, informational pamphlets.
    Success? Relationships built between the home economics students and children, students and parent volunteers, and volunteers and the school. More parent involvement in the school.
    Action Plan IV. VolunteeringEncouraging parent volunteering through in-school child care
    Concerned aboutchild care?
    Our solution:
    Our childcare program includes trained students and responsible community members.
    Want to understand the school system better?
    You can contribute to your community and learn about local schools at the same time.
    13
  • 14. V. School Decision-Making and AdvocacyParents are full partners in decisions that affect children and families
    You are experienced in making good decisions for your child. The decisions you make about school affect all children. You can help ensure that the needs of children in our community are being met by giving your voice and investing your time in the PTA and other outlets.
    Packs of wolves raise their voices to howl together. How would your voice contribute to the group song?
    Research shows that parent involvement benefits students, parents and teachers.
    PARENTS
    STUDENTS
    SCHOOL STAFF
    1. Gain a voice in school decisions
    Feel a sense of ownership in their child’s school
    Learn about school and district rules
    Become aware of parents’ voice
    Understand that parents’ voice is as important as their own
    Understand their rights are protected
    Benefit from decisions reached
    Become aware of family’s voice in school decisions
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Concern #1: School decision-making often takes place at times when parents cannot participate.
    Concern #2: Some parents may be wary of, or intimidated by, working with a PTA or other parent group.
    Solution: Let us know what would work better for you. We will try to be flexible when scheduling meetings and events.
    Solution: PTA and group leaders will review procedures to ensure that their decision-making processes are inclusive of parents.
    14
  • 15. Action Plan V. Decision-MakingParent-teacher Association meetings twice-yearly at the Bear Tooth Theatre
    Why? To increase parent involvement in our school’s decision-making processes.
    What?Serve pizza and award door prizes. Extend a special welcome to new attendees.
    When/Where? Once in the fall before Halloween and once in the spring after Spring Break.
    Materials: Donated door prizes, Bear Tooth cooperation, invitation/change-of-venue fliers, surveys, comment cards.
    Success? Good turnout, community participation, feedback from surveys and comment cards.
    Concerned about feeling excluded?
    Come join us in a new, more relaxed setting and help chart your school’s path for the coming year.
    15
    Want more say in the direction of your child’s school?
    You’re invited to get involved making decisions that affect your child every day.
  • 16. VI. Collaborating with the CommunityCommunity resources are used to strengthen schools, families, and student learning
    Our children can learn a lot from community centers, including charity and cultural groups. Local businesses and community groups also have a lot to gain from involvement with our children. By working together to solve community issues, we all benefit, learn, and grow!
    Beavers work in groups to cut down trees and build their homes. What contributions could you make to your community?
    Research shows that when the community is involved in schools, academic achievement and parent involvement increase:
    PARENTS
    STUDENTS
    SCHOOL STAFF
    Gain skills from collaborative school and extracurricular activities
    Form relationships with adults in the community
    Feel valued in the community
    1. Meet other families in the community
    2. Learn about resources available in the community
    3. Become aware of the community’s involvement in school
    Learn about community resources and how they can help in the classroom
    Learn about how to help families with specific needs
    Drawn from National PTA, 2000 & 2004
    Concern #1: Parents and teachers often don’t have extra time to spend on new collaborations.
    Concern #2: Racial, ethnic, or class divides may impact community cohesion.
    Solution: We all need to use our time as efficiently as possible in order to achieve common goals.
    Solution: We need to focus on shared traits and goals and move beyond prejudices.
    16
  • 17. Action Plan VI. Community InvolvementCommunity meeting to generate ideas for a community service class
    Why? To plan and implement an experiential class to connect students and the community.
    What? An inaugural pizza meeting involving interested students, staff, parents, and community groups to inform them of the developing plan, and generate additional ideas on how the class can work with the community.
    When/Where? In the school library at 2:10 pm on Monday, August 30.
    Materials: Pizza, dinnerware, notification to parents, administrators, teachers, students, and committed community groups, guest speakers.
    Success? Good community and student turnout, ideas and enthusiasm generated, plan for further action.
    Short on time?
    We know how you feel! By working together, we can use our time and resources more effectively to support each other.
    Be open-minded!
    Collaboration requires all of us to step outside our comfort zone a little. Take the leap – you might learn something!
    17
  • 18. In Conclusion…
    Thank you!
    We hope our handbook caught your attention and showed how crucial your involvement is to your child’s education. As parents, you are the most important people in lives of your children, and you have the power to affect not only their education, but to improve the school as a whole.
    We hope you will consider ways you can involve yourself in your child’s education – it may seem intimidating or difficult right now, but we think you will find it rewarding. As teachers and staff, we would love to help you get involved – just let us know. You can help your child, our school, and our community all at once.
    18
  • 19. References
    National Parent/Teacher Association (2000). Building successful partnerships: a guide for developing parent and family involvement programs.
    National Parent/Teacher Association (2004). National standards for parent/family involvement programs. Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree.Standard 1) pg. 26 for research findings.Standard 2) pg. 49Standard 3) pg. 71Standard 4) pg. 88Standard 5) pg. 113Standard 6) pg. 134
    19