The staff at St. Helen Elementary School believes that schools clearly work best when parents are involved in their children’s education. Based on Joyce L. Epstein’s research, which shows that parental involvement is a critical component of the learning process, St. Helen Elementary School strives to involve parents in every aspect of their child’s education.
St. Helen Elem School parents are involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the school wide plan.
Parents are invited to attend the annual Title I meeting held at the beginning of each school year. This meeting informs parents of the Title I program and services offered by St. Helen Elementary School.
St. Helen Elementary School has a Parent Advisory Committee that meets monthly with the Title I Building Leadership Team to discuss components of the schoolwide plan. Discussion topics include annual review of the comprehensive needs assessment, development of academic goals; plan and review school activities, and evaluate effectiveness of parental involvement in regards to the schoolwide plan. Parents have input on the plan through the Parent Advisory Committee, administrators, staff, and various parent surveys administered throughout the school year.
The Parent Advisory Committee in conjunction with the St. Helen Elementary School’s Title I Building Leadership Team will annually evaluate the Parental Involvement Plan. The purpose of this evaluation is to identify barriers to greater participation and devise strategies to increase parental involvement.
Sr. Helen Elementary School will gauge the effectiveness of schoolwide events by offering parents the opportunity to provide feedback on an evaluation form regarding parent/student activities. This information will be used by the Parent Advisory Committee and the Title I Building Leadership Team to determine if certain activities should continue or be modified to improve parental involvement.
St. Helen Elementary School has a Parental Involvement Mission Statement and a Parent/Student/Teacher Compact that addresses the true partnership for learning that exists between home and school. (See Appendix __and __) This compact was developed using survey data obtained from parents, students, and teachers. In the spring, representatives from each stakeholder group will review their portion of the compact and make suggested revisions. This compact is used annually at parent/teacher conferences to focus on the responsibilities of each stakeholder in order to improve student achievement and address schoolwide goals.
The St. Helen Elementary’s Parent Involvement Plan is reflective of the six standards of parental involvement based on the work of Dr. Joyce Epstein, John Hopkins University. Below you will find the six identified standards for parental and community involvement and related strategies from Keys to Success provided by the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE) that we have identified for implementation at St. Helen Elementary. You will also find a brief description of our past strategies and future strategies concerning each one of these parent standards. We will continue our past strategies and we will continue to develop the future parent involvement strategies presented under those sections. Standard I Communication Communication between home and school is regular, two-way, and meaningful. Successful Key Strategies Assess family’s needs and interests about ways of working with the school. Develop multiple outreach mechanisms to inform families, businesses, and the community about family involvement policies and programs through newsletters, slide shows, videotapes, and local newspapers. Use creative forms of communication between educators and families that are personal, goal orientated, and of new communication technologies. Past Strategies We have always provided parents with the school newsletter entitled, The Scoop We have offered both traditional parent/teacher conferencing and student led conferencing. We have accommodated parents with different schedules for conferences. We have provided a substitute teacher for the full day and the teachers have come in at noon and worked until early evening in order to accommodate working parents. In order to encourage immediate and more contact with parents and teachers about their child we have installed phones in every classroom this year. We have always provided informal activities at which parents, staff and community members can interact. We have a district and building website (http://www.ghsd.net) where parents can access policy information, past and present editions of The Scoop, curriculum information, various educational links and many other helpful links. We have developed a district and building listserv so that parents can obtain immediate feedback The St. Helen Elementary School personnel assist parents in understanding the state’s standards assessment using the MDE’s Parent Report to help parents comprehend their child’s MEAP scores and to monitor their progress in mastering state grade level expectations. This report is a tool parents and teachers can use to monitor their progress in mastering state grade level expectations. We have developed new Standards Based Report Cards for two reasons: report on student progress on the standards of their grade level and to also educate parents on what the GLCEs are that their child is responsible for learning. It makes the report card much more informative and provides a road map for parents of where their child has been, is and will be in regards to their learning. Parents of Special Education Students are given a copy of the IEP, IEP Progress Reports and NWEA Progress Results. All parents are given Parent NWEA (MLPP, Math & Science) Assessment Results Reports Parents of Grades Future Strategies Mail report cards home instead of giving them to the students. The principal will start a new program called, “Just Dropped In”. Every Thursday she will come into several classrooms, where she observes and writes notes to the teachers, paraprofessionals and students to let them know that she was impressed by something she saw that day. For the students she will use post cards that she will mail directly to their home. In order to again attempt to provide the parents with the opportunity to speak informally about the school we to do an after dinner dessert time with Mrs. Rees at the end of the PTO meetings every other month. We will establish daily homework assignments on our website for each of the classes. We will implement a Social Studies NWEA Assessment Standard II Parenting Parenting skills are promoted and supported. Successful Keys Strategies Ensure access to information about nutrition, healthcare, services for individuals with disabilities, and support provided by schools or community agencies. Past Strategies We have offered first aide classes for parents on the weekends. Through the School Links program we have offered parent workshops on very specific health topics. We have offered parent symposiums on a number of educational and health issues. We have offered parent-training sessions during the day and at night for behavior management and teaching parents how to work with their children instructionally. We have offered make-it-take–it workshops for reading and math. We have a parent section in our library full of parent resources. Book Buddy Program Counselors and professional staff conduct one on one conferences to help parents work effectively with their children, and provide referrals to community resources as needed. Future We will develop Summer Family Kits built around relevant games, conversation starters, or other tools for parents to interact with their children on specific topics. We will extend our parent library to include educational games and toys. We will change our Book Buddy Program to books on tape in the back packs as tools for learning. Standard III Student Learning Parents play an integral role in assisting student learning. Successful Keys Strategy Schedule programs and activities flexibly to reach diverse family groups for family interactive learning. Past Strategies We have arranged Child Study Team meetings to help parents to connect with their child’s learning and provide them with the opportunity to communicate that they value what their children achieve. We have created grade level brochures for parents and community members to inform them of the expectations in each subject at each grade level. Through our Everyday Math program we send home “Home Links” which enables the parent to provide appropriate assistance, monitor homework, and give feedback to teachers. Our Science Fair requires parents and students to work together to develop the science fair project that will be on display during the science fair. Student Portfolios are being used at student led conferences Pre-4 grades. By consulting our website and district & building listserv parents can view various policies and programs in which their children are participating. Teachers provide individual student academic assessment data to students and parents at parent teacher conferences which are held in the fall and spring as needed. Individualized Educational Program Team (IEPT) special edcuaiton assessment data is updated at IEPs and a copy of that information is given to the parents of special education students. Standards Based Progress Report Cards are provided three times a year. Addtional progress reports as issued per parent request. Future Strategies We plan to devote a section of the SCOOP to reporting research findings on how parent involvement can promote student success. Also to provide information sheets to guide parents in helping their child with a particular skill. We plan to develop and have available videotapes of teachers explaining our Everyday Math Program, Project Read and Science Fair. We will send home summer internet links to suggested websites for parents to use to support math, language arts, science and social studies during the summer.
Standard IV Volunteering Parents are welcome in the school, and their support and assistance are sought. The school works collaboratively with Community agencies and communitv olunteers. Successful Keys Strategies Mobilize parents/families/community members as volunteers in the school assisting with instructional tasks, meal service, and administrative functions. Family/community members might also act as invited classroom speakers and volunteer tutors; Past Strategies The principal and the PTO organization have completed a parent volunteer program which contains both a Parent Volunteer Handbook, as well as a Teacher Handbook. The Teacher Handbook contains everything a teacher needs to request volunteers. It also outlines appropriate jobs for volunteers. Parents volunteer to assist in the classrooms. A parent survey was conducted regarding parent interests, talents, and availability. At the end of the year at an Ice cream Social parent volunteers are given appreciation certificates. St. Helen Elementary works with Catholic Human services volunteers to provide assistance programs which utilize small group settings to help students cope with divorce and step families, family abuse, and life skills trainings such as anger management, self-esteem, and conflict resolution. The St. Helen Elementary School counselor works with the Department of Human services. The St. Helen Elementary School counselor works Probate Court. St. Helen Elementary students and parents have opportunities to participate in the Children’s Theater at Kirtland Community College. St. Helen Elementary School Title I program collaborates with an area business (Office Central) to sponsor math and reading Family Involvement Nights. St. Helen Elementary School collaborates with the local Federally Qualified Health Center , MidMichigan Health Services, to provide health care services to the area’s students and their families. St. Helen Elementary work collaboratively with the Visiting Dentist. The principal of St. Helen Elementary has developed a Community Wrap Around Committee called R.A.D.A.R. This group has developed a Needs Assessment to identify student and parent needs and connect them to appropriate community resources. St. Helen Elementary School allows parents to work with students in the educational expereice as chaperones for field trips and helping in team building activities. Future Strategies We will issue volunteer badges to parents so that they are easily identified as such. We will offer an appreciation dinner at the end of the year for the parents and community members who volunteered throughout the school year. At that dinner appreciation certificates will be awarded. We will provide a consistent place and process for parent volunteers to sign in and list the hours served. We will develop a Volunteer Information Packet as part of their orientation containing the following pieces of information: accident procedures, building map, emergency exit plans, equipment operation instructions, parking information, student handbook, sign-in/out procedure’s, suggestion form, volunteer welcome letter and list of benefits, volunteer work locations, where to go to get help, directions concerning what to do with their coat and other belongings while they are in the building. Standard V School Decision-Making and Advocacy Parents are full partners in the decisions that affect children and families. Successful Keys Strategies Set clear and measurable objectives based on parent and community input, to help foster a sense of cooperation and communication between families, communities, and school. Evaluate the effectiveness of family involvement programs and activities on a regular basis. Past Strategies With the support of some very interested parents the principal assisted in the development of the new PTO. Parents have participated on our School Improvement committee. Parents have also served on subcommittees. Parent and School Board representation is always present on new staff interview committees. Annual reports are reviewed in a public meeting. A teacher representative is present for all PTO meetings and reports issues to both the PTO members and staff members. Future Strategies We will encourage parents to participate in decisions that affect students. We will develop a system that will allow parents the opportunity to have input on their child’s placement for the following year. We will ensure there is St. Helen Elementary will have parent participation on the revision of the district school improvement plan. We will provide training for the staff and parents on collaborative partnering and shared decision-making. Standard VI Collaborating with Community Community resources are used to strengthen schools, families, and student learning. Successful Keys Strategies Provide staff development for teachers and administrators to enable them to work effectively with families and with each other as partners in the educational process; Past Strategies We have developed a very complete interagency collaboration plan . These plans develop community partnerships, which support collaboration to provide family support services. We have coordinated services with 25 different agencies. Future Strategies We will contact agencies and offer them the opportunity to be placed on our volunteer program. They may be interested in participating in other things from time to time aside from the action plans that they have previously written. We will develop ways to foster student participation in community service. We will develop community partners to hold special events such as health fairs, technology fairs or other learning opportunities to inform parents and families of community resources and activities. We will develop a way to recruit school or program volunteers from our local senior citizen complex. We would need to provide recruitment information that is highly specific about tasks to be performed, timeframe, and specific program requirements. We will make sure that on the local Chamber of Commerce website, they include a request from the principal and the superintendent for employer cooperation and encouragement of parent attendance at parent-teacher conferences and other parent involvement activities. Also encourage them to check the St. Helen Elementary Website and click on the School Newsletter to find out events that are taking place in the school. Family/Community Involvement Special Activities Action Plan DateActivityWho’s ResponsibleEvidence9/3/09 Preschool Open HouseMarci HoweySign In Sheet9/3/09Kindergarten Open HouseJean ChristiansenSign In Sheet9/30/09Grades 1-4 Open House/Title I MeetingKathy ReesSign In Sheet10/15/09Reading NightOffice CentralSign In Sheet10/23/09Children’s TheaterKirtland Community CollegeNumber of Tickets We Purchase12/10/09Christmas ConcertTammy ChmielewskiNumber of Programs Distributed1/21/10Math NightOffice CentralSign In Sheet2/12/10Valentines DanceKathy ReesNumber of Permission Slips Returned3/19/10Children’s TheaterKirtland Community CollegeNumber of Tickets We Purchase4/30/10Talent ShowTom Rodgers/Marci HoweySign In Sheet5/13/10Science FairTom Rodgers/Kacey LaceySign In Sheet5/21/10PTCO FairJodi GreenSign In Sheet6/2 – 6/4/104th Grade CampKacey LaceyNumber of Students and Parent That Attend6/8/10Ice Cream SocialKathy ReesNumber of Certificates Picked Up6/10/10Family Fun DayLinda BrittonSign In Sheet6/10/10Awards CeremonyKathy ReesNumber of Certificates Picked Up