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Beyond the Bake Sale

Beyond the Bake Sale

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Beyond the Bake Sale

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  1. Beyond the Bake Sale Chapter 8

  2. Sharing Power Who’s in Charge Here Anyway? • To be serious about partnership, a school must also be serious about following democratic practices. • In this chapter, we will discuss three practices that we think schools (and school districts) must follow to become living examples of democracy. Page 187

  3. 3 Practices • Provide workable mechanisms for teachers, parents, and students to voice their ideas and concerns, and to take part in decision making • Build a broad base of involvement by increasing families’ political knowledge and skills, and their connections to other parents and people in the community. • Strengthen families’ links with community organizations and resources. Page 187

  4. 2 other critical practices to a democracy: • Respecting the rights of all members of the school community • Collaborating with parents on decisions that affect their children. Page 188

  5. Practice 1 Provide workable mechanisms for teachers, parents, and students to take part in decision making • The starting point for teachers and administrators is to see families as partners and not simply as clients or guests. • Partnership requires sharing power. Page 188

  6. All Partners must have a voice in: School affairs including: • Decisions about budgets • School programs and personnel • Changes in curriculumand instruction • Student behavior Page 188

  7. Mechanisms to foster democratic decision making include: • School councils and committees such as the SIT • PTA/PTO • Parent-School Compacts • Parent involvement policies • School Report Cards Pages 188-189

  8. Prepare Parents to Become Effective Members of Councils and Committees/SIT • Give them honest and timely information about budgets, policies, and student achievement. Use test data to identify problem areas that need improvement. • Give members support and resources to do their work – access to computers, copiers, etc. • Make sure they have important problems to deal with - such as how to improve the achievement gap in math and reading scores Page 190

  9. Encourage PTA/PTO to reach out to families who have not been involved. • Make training available for participants (including teachers). The more that parents understand education issues, the more powerful and constructive partners they will be. • Make sure that Councils/SIT and school officials take committee recommendations seriously. Pages 190-191

  10. Results of Involving families and community members on councils and committees/SIT are that… • Different points of view and opposing interestswill be represented which means there will sometimes be conflict and disagreement • BUT this is a good thing because better decisions usually emerge from debate and compromise Page 191

  11. 5 steps to empower parents, honor their insights, and harness their leadership skills… • Welcome Everyone – At the first meeting, invite the whole school- parents, teachers, and school staff. Make it clear that everyone is welcome to attend all meetings, even if they are not voting members. • Accommodate all parents – Provide food and child care, vary the days and times of meetings, and offer translation. Page 192

  12. Discuss and settle on a protocol – decide who will be voting members and how long their terms will last • Set and stick to clear, precise agendas – use meetings to address specific, pressing issues. Avoid broad, philosophical discussions. • Facilitate, don’t dictate – don’t let a few people dominate the discussion. Keep the conversation open and make sure everyone feels comfortable to speak. Pages 192-193

  13. Families bring knowledge about: • Their children • Their culture and values • Their understanding of the community • Their own interests and accomplishments They also have constructive ideas about how to improve achievement. Page 193

  14. Building the leadership capacity of PTA/PTO • Despite the PTA’s historic role in state and national policy, local parent groups often shy away from decision making and advocacy. Where is your school’s parent association? Does it play a leadership role, or does it follow a more traditional model? Page 194

  15. Leadership-style PTA/PTO Traditional-style PTA/PTO • Focuses on improving student achievement and helping families understand standards, tests, and performance data • Plans the agenda based on issues important to parents, using parent surveys • Features student work and performances at meetings and activities, and offers translation • Focuses on fund-raising and recruiting volunteers to help in the lunchroom, office, and playground • Meets with the principal to set the agenda • Follows Robert’s Rules of Order and holds meetings in English only Which style is your PTA/PTO? Page 194

  16. Steps that an action team can take so the parent group can develop into a more power and inclusive organization: • Use PTA/PTO meetings as a forum for discussing changes in school policy and improvements to student achievement. • Charge the parent association with conducting a school climate survey each year. Page 195

  17. Give the parent group officers a seat on the school council/SIT and a voice in all major decisions affecting the school. • Ask the PTA/PTO to conduct focus groups in all communities served by the school to identify barriers to parent involvement and get ideas on how to address them. • Work with the parent group to research issues such as low student attendance, the need for child care and after-school programs, bullying, and student safety. Draw in some collaborators from a local college or university to help. Page 195

  18. Action Teams-discussed in chapter 3 • Can be formed to gather data about school and community concerns (for example: traffic safety, low attendance, problems with communication) • Can solve short term problems or be used for long term responsibility such as promoting family engagement. • Consist of at least six people – teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, students in the upper grades, and others. Pages 195-196

  19. Can gather data about school and community issues and follow steps to: • Choose or approve an outside facilitator to assist the group. • Agree on goals and more specific objectives • Determine the needs of the community through surveys, interviews, etc. • Design and implement a plan for action to study the issue • Compile results on what is learned and design a plan for future action based on what has been learned. Pages 196-197

  20. Action Teams • Build positive working relationships between school staff and families. Families and teachers learn to work together to solve problems that are meaningful to the children and families in that school. They also learn to communicate and trust each other. Page 197

  21. Creating Partnerships through School Compacts • School Compacts – all SCS elementary schools have developed school compacts. Each year they should be updated & reviewed with the SIT. • It is a requirement for the principal and teacher sign the compact. • Please request that the parent and student sign the contract. Their signature can not be required.

  22. Do Don’t • Keep the pledges equal – no more than 10 items for each group. • Be specific: “I will read with my child twenty minutes each day.” • Follow up with tips sheets, such as hints for checking homework, negotiating TV time, and fun math activities • List fifteen obligations for parents and only five for teachers. • Be vague: “I will read with my child regularly.” • Complain that parents aren’t doing their job. Compact Dos and Don’ts Page 199

  23. Do Don’t • Ask “Are we sticking to our pledges?” at conferences and meetings • Revisit the compact every year • Ask families, students, and staff what would make it better. Update it using the current student achievement data. • Hand out the compact at the start of the year and never mention it again • Use the same compact year after year • Forget to ask whether families and staff actually use the compact. Compact Dos and Don’ts Page 199

  24. Practice 2 • Build a Broad Base of Involvement by Increasing Families’ Connections to Others in the Community How can we do this?? Page 200

  25. Hearing from the Communitythrough: • Surveys (Chapter 10) • Focus Groups • Study Circles (Chapter 10) • Organizing Campaigns Parents, teachers, students, and other partners must have opportunities to express their opinions, preferences, ideas, and concerns – to someone who is listening Page 200

  26. Ways to find out what people think: • Place suggestion boxes in the school and in community sites • Interactive online blogs to allow continuing exchange of ideas on school matters • Community cable TV stations • Hold town meetings Page 201

  27. Ways to Build Families’ Social Networks and Political Skills • Give families information about how the educational system and local government works. • Keep voter registration forms and information about local government agencies in the school office or family resource area. • During campaign season, invite candidates running for school board and other local offices to speak to families a the school. Page 204

  28. Encourage families to lobby local officials about needed funding for community facilities, after-school programs, etc. • Invite local banks and businesses to talk with families about their services, loan programs, and employment opportunities • Make it easy for families to meet and discuss concerns with the principal, talk to teachers, and examine their child’s school records. Page 204

  29. Practice 3 Strengthen Families’ Links with Community Organizations and Resources Such As: • Businesses • Hospitals • Public housing projects • Social Service Agencies • Colleges and Universities • Churches and faith-based organizations • Museums • Youth Organizations • Service Clubs Page 206

  30. Examples of Services that community agencies may offer: • Health Care • Dental treatment • Weight management • Family planning • AA and other substance abuse programs • Counseling and mental health services • ESL programs to teach English • Adult Education and GED classes • Job training • Housing assistance • Recreation, sports, and cultural activities • Mentoring and tutoring • Child care • School Safety from the police department Pages 208-209

  31. It takes time… • Beyond the Bake Sale reminds us that it takes time to hear from all concerned and arrive at a solution, but that the time taken is worth it. People who are involved in making decisions tend to support those decisions. Their buy-in will sustain the work, and that saves a lot of effort in the long run. • What you are doing for families is worth the time it takes!!! Page 213

  32. Homework • Complete the checklist at the end of chapter 8 on “How Well Is Your School Sharing Power and Practicing Democracy?” This document is scanned and located at http://www.stanlycountyschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=284934&pageId=16642070 • Using the checklist, discuss the areas in which your school is doing well and areas of concern. Reflect on your school’s next steps to make your school a laboratory of democracy. • Return checklist and attendance to terri.scott@stanlycountyschools.org