Parental and Community Involvement Presented by: Kimberly Glasgow-Charles 2nd April, 2013
Objectives of the session At the end of the session students should be able to: • Explain why school, family and community partnerships are key to student learning and development • Identify types of partnership programs work best to support learning • Discuss ways to achieve effective school, family and community partnerships
A Personal Definition • For the purpose of today’s conversation, “Parent” or “Family” refers to anyone actively involved in raising and educating a child. • Community – a group of people living in the same area and sharing common values.
Parental Involvement • The importance of parental involvement as an accelerating and motivating factor in their children’s education is a worldwide-accepted fact.
Parental Involvement • Parent involvement is a process, not a program of activities. It requires ongoing energy and effort. • Parent involvement requires a vision, policy, and framework. A consensus of understanding is important.
Parental involvement • The parent is the central contributor to a child’s education. Schools can either ignore this fact or recognize the potential of the parent. • Parent involvement must be a legitimate element of education. It deserves equal emphasis with elements such as program improvement and evaluation.
Parental Involvement • Parents’ interaction with their own children is the cornerstone of parent involvement. A program must recognize the value, diversity, and difficulty of this role. • Most barriers to parent involvement are found within school practices. They are not found with parents.
Parental Involvement • Any parent can be “hard to reach.” Parents must be identified and approached individually; they are not defined by gender, ethnicity, family situation, education, or income. • Successful parent involvement nurtures relationships and partnerships. It strengthens bonds between home and school, parent and teacher, parent and school, school and community.
Parental Involvement • Parent involvement programs that are effective in engaging diverse families recognize, respect, and address cultural and class differences.
Parental Involvement • Di Natale (2002) posits that one of the most accurate predictors of achievement in school is the extent to which parents believe that they can be key resources in their children’s education and become involved at school and in the community.
Elements of Parental Involvement • Learning at home – parents as first and ongoing educators of children • Partnership – home and school working together to the growth and development of children • Representation – parents views must be represented.
Joyce Epstein’s Six Levels of Parent Involvement 1. Parenting - Help all families establish home environments to support children as students 2. Communication - Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school programs and children’s progress 3. Volunteering - Recruit and organize parent help and support 4. Learning at Home - Provide information and ideas about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning 5. Decision Making - Include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives 6. Collaborating with Community - Identify and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning and development
Outdated Thinkingon Parent Involvement • Parents should come to school only when invited; • Stay-at-home mothers serve as “homeroom mothers”; • Parents visit school mainly for children’s performances and open houses; • Parents help raise money for school.
What are the Benefits? • More positive attitudes toward school; • Higher achievement, better attendance, and more homework completed consistently; • Higher graduation rates and enrollment rates in post-secondary education; • Better schools to attend.
Benefits for Parents • Greater knowledge of education programs and how schools work; • Knowledge of how to be more supportive of children; • Greater confidence about ways to help children learn; • More positive view of teachers; and, • Greater empowerment.
Benefits for School Staff • Greater teaching effectiveness; • Higher expectations of students; • Increased ability to understand family views and cultures; • Greater appreciation of parent volunteers; and, • Improved morale.
Benefits for Communities: • Greater strength; • Greater impact of services through comprehensive, integrated approach; • Increased access to services for families.
Barriers to Involvement • Lack of a school environment that supports parent/family involvement; • School practices that do not accommodate the diversity of family needs; • Child care constraints; • Families’ past negative experiences with schools and/or feelings of uncertainty about “treading on school territory.”
Barriers to Parental Involvement • Cultural differences (language barriers, attitudes toward professionals, lack of knowledge of the education system); • Primacy of basic needs (food, clothing, and shelter take precedence over educational needs);
Barriers to Parental Involvement • Feelings of inadequacy associated with difference in income or education; • Safety, especially in inner-city school neighborhoods; • Uncertainty about what to do; and, • Lack of time.
What kinds of activities motivate and attract sustained parent commitment? • Educational seminars and awareness sessions on much needed community services/basic needs support • Happy, friendly, respectful environments • Literacy-rich schools, classrooms, programs • Culturally competent and culturally sensitive activities and events • Organized and prepared activities • Parent Child Interactive Literacy (PCIL) • Helpful and supportive faculty and staff
Activities to motivate and attract parents • Fun, innovative, and playful activities • Information that is relevant to families • Activities that allow parents to facilitate and share strengths and skills • Opportunities to share and network with other parents • Opportunities that provide parents ample and appropriate notification before event • Activities that provide user friendly and easy to do examples that can be repeated at home
Ten Truths of Parental Involvement • All parents have hopes and goals for their children. They differ in how they support their children’s efforts to achieve those goals. • The home is one of several areas that simultaneously influence a child. The school must work with people in the other areas for the child’s benefit.
100 Ways • The brochure, “100 Ways for Parents to be Involved in Their Child’s Education” is available from the National PTA; • http://www.pta.org/ • Based on the National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs.
Family and Community Involvement • Family involvement is important through all years of a child’s education. • Family involvement takes many forms and may not require a family’s presence at school. • Families, schools, and communities are closely interconnected and must collaborate in educating children.
Family & Community Involvement • School leaders and staff need support and training in how to encourage family involvement. • One size does not fit all when developing school-family partnerships. • Change takes time and building successful partnerships requires much effort over time.
Components of effective partnership • To partner: Implies a relationship, frequently between two people, in which each has equal status and a certain independence but also implicit or formal obligations to the other or others.
Effective programs to engage families and community embrace a philosophy of partnership. The responsibility for children’s educational development is a shared, collaborative enterprise among parents, school staff, and community members.
The keys to building partnerships: • When programs and initiatives focus on building trusting and respectful relationships among school staff, families, and community members, these programs are effective in creating and sustaining meaningful partnerships.
Parental & Community Involvement • Programs that successfully connect with families and community invite involvement, are welcoming, and address specific parental and community needs.
The Joining Process • Welcoming • Honoring • Connecting
Welcoming Families are made to feel at home, comfortable, and a part of the school community.
Honoring Family members are respected, validated and affirmed for any type of involvement or contribution they make.
Connecting School staff and families put children at the center and connect on education issues of common interest designed to improve educational opportunities for the children.
Work with school staff to broaden the definition of family and community engagement. • Adopt the attitude that all families are involved in their children’s education and want guidance in their efforts to support children’s learning. • Encourage staff to implement both in-school away-from-school initiatives.
Link All Efforts to Engage Families, Whether Based at School or in the Community, to Student Learning.
Implement initiatives that focus on building relationships with families and community members.
Recognize and Address Barriers • Past experiences • Time • Transportation • Location • Translation
Bridge Class and Cultural Differences Understand your own cultural context Share cultural traditions and norms Create small, friendly settings Invite families and community members to tell their education stories Ask families about their expectations for their children
Embrace Partnership and Share Power • Plan how families want to be engaged • Consult all families about policies • Involve families in action research
Embrace Partnership and Share Power, cont. • Provide access to principal and staff • Facilitate connections to community groups • Invite families to staff training
Build Social and Political Connections • Support families involvement in decision-making • Promote families’ connections with each other, school staff and community groups • Invite officials to school to respond to families’ concerns • Give families information about how the system works
See families and communities as having valuable assets versus liabilities • Acknowledge the knowledge base of families • Conduct an asset map, not just a needs assessment, of the community
Joining activities: short term • Provide good signage for visitors outside and inside the school building. • Greet visitors to the front office in a way that is family friendly. • Set up a open door policy that meets the needs of families and staff • Ask families what supports they need to help with children’s learning – conduct a needs assessment. • Make “good news” phone call home to families at least once a month about a child’s progress. • Have events in places other than at school – churches, community centers, etc.
Short term, cont. • Provide tips for parents on reading in math in newsletters, report cards, magnets, book bags. • Have “Ask the Principal” events for parents. • Provide a “family suggestion box.” Respond to all suggestions. • Create a list of questions for parents and teachers to follow for effective and meaningful parent/teacher conferences • Plan frequent meetings and activities.
Joining activities – long term Increase to at least four times per year the number of times that families get to interact with school staff. Conduct home visits (discretion) designed to welcome families to the school and begin relationship of partnership between families and staff. Have workshops for families on topics that they have identified from your needs assessment: computer classes, helping with homework, using the Internet, understanding new policies. Conduct Parent/Teacher/Student conferences