Parents, Teachers, Schools, Communities:Leveraging Partnerships and Promise Tracy Smith, Corie Maffett, Ashley Miller, and Cindi Bradshaw Appalachian State University
Interactive Activity Remain standing if… Requirement that staff members document contact with families PTO/PTA Organization Parental membership on multiple school committees Dedicated budget for parental involvement Paid staff member whose job is to support/increase parent involvement
Challenges What challenges do we face when we try to partner with parents and community? Transportation Parents are “burned out” from 6 years of elementary school Scheduling
Special Considerations for Middle School Parents often report feeling that children should do homework alone; parents shouldnt try to help if theyre not experts in the subject. The structure of many middle schools can also deter parents: larger and can feel more impersonal than most elementary schools, and students; receive instruction from several teachers(Rutherford, et al., 1997).
This We Believe in Action If parents are to become genuine partners with and supporters of their child’s middle school, every effort should be made to educate them regarding the format and functioning of an effective middle school. Parents should have a clear picture of how a middle school operates and, as part of their orientation to the early teen years, understand the importance of advisory and advocacy. Back to School Night provides an annual opportunity to inform parents. The first stop on such an evening should be a meeting with their child’s advisor. After explaining the program to parents, advisors can engage them in an advocacy exercise that will help them appreciate how advisory can serve their child (p. 154).
Why partner? This We Believe characteristic: School-initiated family and community partnerships Cultivating an Ethic of Caring Capitalizing on Funds of Knowledge Research Support and Positive Outcomes A comprehensive and meaningful partnership meets the needs of the families, schools, and communities involved.
The Ethics of Care Nell Noddings, 2002 Education (in its widest sense) is central to the cultivation of caring in society. Education is “a constellation of encounters, both planned and unplanned, that promote growth through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, understanding and appreciation.” Special emphasis on the home as a site for educational encounter. Indeed, she views the home as the primary educator. Need for re-orientation of social policy to this end. Not to sideline the role of schools but simply to recognize just what the home contributes to the development of children and young people.
Studies show that more students will be motivated to learn and will increase their skills if educators design class work and homework that enable students to draw from their families’“fund of knowledge” to understand the real-world applications of school skills. This We Believe in Action, 2012
Parenting TYPE 1--PARENTING: Assist families with parenting and child-rearing skills, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions that support children as students at each age and grade level. Assist schools in understanding families. Ex: Book groups on adolescent reading
Stop Cyber-Bullying Informational Night Just for Parents-March 7, 2013
Communicating TYPE 2--COMMUNICATING: Communicate with families about school programs and student progress through effective school-to-home and home-to-school communications. Examples: texting to parents, kikutext, Reminders 101(app and website), Texting to the Next Generation, Bring Your Own Device, Raven Card, and Carbon copies of conferences.
Volunteering• TYPE 3--VOLUNTEERING: Improve recruitment, training, work, and schedules to involve families as volunteers and audiences at the school or in other locations to support students and school programs.• Examples: Conversation starters and activity generator from the Search Institute• October is the Month of the Young Adolescent (AMLE)
Learning at Home TYPE 4--LEARNING AT HOME: Involve families with their children in learning activities at home, including homework and other curriculum-linked activities and decisions.
Decision Making TYPE 5--DECISION MAKING: Include families as participants in school decisions, governance, and advocacy through PTA/PTO, school councils, committees, and other parent organizations. Examples: Parental book approval How do we encourage the less affluent to become members of the PTA/PTO?
Parent Advisory Council Clubs and performances bring parents to school!
Collaborating with the Community TYPE 6--COLLABORATING WITH THE COMMUNITY: Coordinate resources and services for families, students, and the school with businesses, agencies, and other groups, and provide services to the community.
Questions that will help middle grades educators in the middle grades move toward involvement in action:• What is a research-based, comprehensive, and goal-oriented program of school, family, and community partnerships in the middle grades?• How can teamwork ensure that a school will organize and implement a sustainable program of family and community involvement?• How does family and community involvement link with the other elements of effective middle level schools?• How can schools answer the call for action to develop and sustain productive partnership programs?
Action Team for Partnerships (ATP) Essential structure in each school. At the middle level, schools improve the quality of their plans and practices, outreach to families, and results for students when they have a dedicated committee – an Action Team for Partnerships – of teachers, administrators, parents, and community partners (p. 192). Composition of ATP: p. 193-4.
Tips for Engaging Families Take the Initiative Middle Ground, October 2010 Be Nice! Provide Information and Support Solicit feedback from families and the Community Deliver positive message about Students in the school Enhance your school’s presence in the electronic media Think Outside the BOX! Repair broken Relationships
Your Turn What’s the most successful parent or community involvement activity or initiative that you have had at your school? Introduce and Discuss with a Neighbor! Be prepared to share!
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