Parental Involvement Family Engagement A Look at the Community Compact Model Spring 2014
Parental Involvement It is generally understood that parental involvement increases student achievement. If we can agree with this statement, then the question arises:
Parental Involvement How do we get parents to become more involved in their students’ academic progress and process?
Family First, we need to define ‘parents’. In years past, a nuclear or traditional family consisted of a mother, a father and their biological offspring.
Family However, the familial structure in the United States has changed drastically in recent years. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, only 23% of American households with children are part of a nuclear family.
Family Some of the family units that our students are a part of now include but are not limited to: The single parent family. The extended family. The same-sexfamily. Even within these categories There are more subcategories For example:
Single Parent Household • Can be a result of divorce • Can be a matter of choice
Extended Family • 1 or both parental figures is a grandparent(s). • Parental figures are aunts/uncles or cousins. • Parental figures are siblings.
Same-Sex Parents • Two mothers make up the parental figures. • Two fathers make up the parental figures.
Family Engagement In recognition of the many different family structures of our students and for the purposes of this webinar, we will refer to Family Engagement as opposed to Parental Involvement.
Family Engagement • Family engagement is the participation of parents in every facet of a child’s education and development from birth to adulthood knowing that parents are the primary influence in children’s lives • The word parent is used to refer to all who are involved in a child’s education because the National PTA recognizes that today other adults such as grandparents, aunts, uncle, stepparents, and guardians also carry the primary responsibility for a child’s education
Family Engagement Now that we know who the parents are, it is very important to be aware of our students’ demographics. A person’s demographics include, among other things: • location • gender • household size • income • religion
Location The location of our students’ home is obviously within the vicinity of the school. Sounds simple, yet even with this there are challenges to consider. • The distance from home to school-Florida State only busses students who live over 2 miles from their zoned school. • The safety of the students on their way to and from school events.
Gender Educators must take care not to plan gender specific activities for their students and their families so as to be inclusive of everyone.
Household Size As educators, if we’re interested in family engagement, then it stands to reason that we need to be fully aware of our students’ family size. This is useful in figuring out some of the needs that must be met before it can be expected for our students’ families to take an active role in their children’s education. Ideally A child’s education should be something that their family has a personal and vested interest in. Realistically It is quite difficult for a single mother with small children to secure adequate child care in order to attend school functions.
Income We can all probably agree that money plays a role in almost everything we do. This is true even for school related events. • Is it in the family’s budget to pay for child care for non-school aged children, in order to attend a school event? • Is it in the family’s budget to pay for transportation to get to and from the school event? • Is it in the family’s budget to pay for take-out because it’ll probably be too late to cook a meal at home on the night of a school event?
Religion For the most part, we tend to assume that religion is completely separate from education. However, in order to be able to plan accordingly and serve them to the best of their ability, educators need to be aware of their families’ religious preferences.
Why is Family Engagement Important ? • There is no single best practice to encourage family engagement and parental involvement- what seems to work best is for parents to be involved in many different roles over time. • It is important that parent involvement be well planned, comprehensive, and long lasting than it take any particular form. • Family engagement has many different forms and levels and is a collaborative effort involving families, schools, communities, employers, and faith-based groups and organizations. • Family assistance at home is crucial and affects a child’s attendance, achievement, and behavior in school. Parents do not have to come to school to be involved • Everyone benefits from parental involvement. Greater family involvement in a child’s learning is a crucial link to achieving a high quality education and a safe , disciplined learning environment for every student (U.S. Department of Education)
Advantages of Family Engagement • Student achievement for disadvantaged children not only improves, it can reach levels that are standard for middle-class children. The children who are farthest behind make the greatest gains. • The most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social and economical status but the extent to which a student’s family is able to 1. create a home environment that encourages learning, 2. express high, but not unrealistic expectations of a child’s achievement, and 3. become involved in their child’s education
Family Engagement What can we do to facilitate and encourage family engagement in our schools?
Student-Parent Contract All involved parties are not fully invested in a child’s education. A written document can place accountability on all parties involved.
School-Parent Contract • Contract is a written agreement that pledges to support a student and parent to achieve academic standards. • The POPS PLUS Community Compact Student & Parent contract is a template for compacts to use for accountability.
School Involvement • Encourage parent involvement from the time children first enter school • Teach parents that activities such as modeling reading, behavior and reading to their children increases interest in learning • Parents are partners of the school and their involvement is needed and valued • Communicating to parents that their involvement and support makes a difference in their child’s school performance important • Engage the effort of disadvantaged students who benefit most from parental involvement • Provide training and orientation for parents • Develop parental/family engagement programs at school
Get Involved Parents are the first educators in the home, as partners with school and as advocates for all children, parents can foster involvement in the following ways: • Parenting • Volunteering • Learning at home • Advocacy and decision making • Community Collaboration
Parental Involvement • Parents always value and have a positive attitude about education • Set aside regular time and space for homework • Talk and listen to your child about school • Use the library and other community resources • Set limits on behavior and discipline with patience • Make sure your child is well rested, well fed, and healthy • Form a two way communication between school and home
Communication Reach out to your families. Find out what their needs are and how the school can become a more accessible place for them.
Variety of Ways to Communicate • E-mail is probably the fastest and easiest way to communicate information to your families. However, you can’t rely on this alone! • Telephone calls still work in this age of constant new technology, but this is not always the answer either! • Good old snail mail is great for reminders, don’t count on it for a speedy delivery, though! • Your best bet is to use a combination of all of these methods to reach your families. It may seem redundant at times, but better you get your message across than have uninformed families.
Relevancy Be sure that your students and their families can relate to the events held at your school. They are more likely to attend if it makes sense to them and they see a reason for it.
Does it Make Sense? If your school has been focusing on math for the last few weeks because there is a big math test coming up, then an event that has to do with math would resonate with your students and their families. However, fun as it may be, it might make less sense to hold an art show during this time when the focus has been on math!
Know the Families Oftentimes your students’ families possess a vast number of talents that can be helpful in all kinds of school events. Use that to the full advantage of your school, students and families. Along with talents, know your families needs.
Personal Talents • You may come across a family that loves to sing. This family can be pivotal in helping you plan a talent show for all. • How about a family that loves to cook? They can help with cooking for any number of different events held at your school. • There may be a family in your school that’s very health conscious. They can come in for a workshop where they give other families some helpful tips on healthy living.
Eliminating Barriers to Parental Involvement • Time. Time may be the most valuable and precious commodity that families need to support their children • Uncertainty. Lack of knowledge about how to help cannot be equated with lack of interest • Attitude. Teachers and educators who have low expectations can cause parents to be reluctant
Sample Parent Survey Page 1
Sample Parent Survey Page 2
Sample Parent Survey Page 2
Family Engagement The only limits to the ways you can encourage family engagement in your school are set by the limits of your own creativity.
Quote “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand”
References • Parent Teacher Association of America (2008) What is Parent Involvement ? Retrieved May 2014 http:// www.cpta.org • Education .com (2011Family Involvement : A Key Ingredient in Children’s Reading. Retrieved May 2014 http:// www.education .com/workbooks
Thank you for participating! If you have questions about this presentation, contact: Janna M. Willett POPS PLUS Community Compact Janna.email@example.com (407) 843-1202