(Working Together: Schools, Family & Community Partnerships)
Use this tool to generate ideas that can be included and implemented as part ofyour parental involvement plan.
•MEETING PLACES AND TIME
Organizemeetings in places that are familiar to and comfortable for parents. Meet parentsat their
apartmentcomplex, church, park, library, chapter house, community center or a popularrestaurant near theirneighborhood. Hold meetings at various times of the day. Consider mornings,lunchtime, evenings andweekends to accommodate different schedules.
Sponsormonthly community family events. Use these events to provide information toparents on how they can help their childsucceed in school and start to explore career options.
•SURVEY NEEDS AND INTERESTS
Surveyparents to determine the subjects in which they are interested and the best wayto get information tothem.
•NEWSLETTERS, FLYERS, WEB SITES
Writea quarterly parent newsletter or one-page flyer and post it on your web site.
•CELEBRATING PARENTS AS FIRST TEACHERS
Hold a “Parents as First Teachers” nightto talk about what parents can do at home to support their child’s success,such as to reading to them and teaching them good problem-solving skills.
Create several half-sheet fliers, eachwith an activity parents can do with their child, such as talking to their childabout when they were the child’s age. On the back of the flyer, provideinformation on why theactivityis a good one for parents and children to do together.
Hold a Saturday parents’ breakfast whereteachers and school administrators prepare the meal and serve the parents. Afterbreakfast, hold round-table discussions on issues that are important toparents.
Starta “family museum” in your classroom and highlight a student’s familyeach week. Send a letter home explaining the project andhow parents can work on it together with their child as a way of celebratingtheir family background and history.
How can you incorporate these ideas into your parental involvement plan?
Widen Your Learning Community Circle to Include the Extended Family
Posted by April Goodwin at 11/22/2011
Widen Your Learning Community Circle to Include the Extended Family By Dr. Kay H. Phelps
Key to promoting membership in the learning community is including extendedfamily members. Do you know who they are? In my first grade class, the childrenwere creating Christmas counting books that ended, “5 candy canes, 4 hangingstockings, 3 sugar cookies, 2 singing angels, and 1 jolly Santa.” Leland wasconfused. “I don’t know what are angels!” he proclaimed loudly. The othersoffered their expertise. “They’re Santa’s helpers” said one. Another said, “Nothey aren’t! Those are elves!” to which another responded, “No, elves are greenand have funny shoes!” thus taking the group on an entirely different tangentabout a totally different holiday.
About then the bell rang. Leland stayed at his desk, deflated. After hisclassmates had left he said quietly, “I still don’t know what are angels.” Ipulled up a chair. “Leland, I think angels look after you. They’re helpers,like your Grandma Rose.” His face lit up. “Now I know what are angels!” he saidwith tremendous relief.
Leland’s Grandma had rescued he and his sister after both had been abandoned.She’d remodeled a garage to accommodate an extended family that alreadyincluded other “brothers and sisters.” Grandma Rose was an incredible resourcefor me that year, not just for Leland but for others in the classroom. Whenbuilding learning inclusive communities, remember the angels in our students’lives.
Check out this toolkit which focuses on supporting families with parenting their children and establishing home environments that support children as learners. It also emphasizes the need for schools to increase an understanding of families through the use of strategies that promote an exchange of information between educators, parents, and other caregivers about their concerns and goals for their children.
Click here to see resources which are useful for reflection on your current practices and tools that can be shared with your families. Resources are also in Spanish for your Spanish speaking families.
A well-organized program of family and community partnerships yields many benefits for schools and their students. Joyce L. Epstein and Karen Clark Salinas writes about the difference between a professional learning community and a school learning community? Click here for the rest of the article
What's the difference between being a involved or engaged parent?
Larry Ferlazzo writes a great article on Involvement or Engagement in the Educational Leadership Magazine (May 2011 | Volume 68 | Number 8,Schools, Families, Communities Pages 10-14 . Click here to read.
At one time or another, we’veall experienced the frustration that results when our words are misinterpreted. by - Dr. Kay H. Phelps,Educational Development Specialist Research show that verbalmessages account for only 7 percent of the input, whereas vocal and tonalmessages account for 38 percent, and visual messages (body language) accountfor 55 percent (Miller, Nunnally, & Miller, 1988). If this is the case, teachersand other school staff need to be aware of their total communicationsystem...as do husbands, wives, moms, dads, etc.!
One useful communication skill relies on “I” messages instead of “you”messages. A “you” message places the responsibility on the person receiving themessage, and is often a negative message. An example of a positive “I” messagemight go something like, “When (describe behavior) happens, I feel (state yourconcern) because (describe what you think might happen).” Reflective listening isthe ability to reflect the speaker’s feelings. It encourages open responses byhearing and responding to the feeling behind a parent’s message. A reflectiveresponse would be, “You are concerned about Sam’s ability to do his mathhomework?” Reframing entails re-focusing a negative concern to a positive one.For example, “I have some concerns about Jenny that I think we can worktogether on.” Rephrasing is restating the message in a condensed, workable,version. After allowing the parent to express a concern (which may be lengthy),try, “I am hearing you say ___”
So, what about written communication? There are two kinds. One-waycommunication is intended to inform. School newsletters, home connections, andschool Web Pages, and media coverage are examples of one-way communication.Two-way communication is important in a different way. Its purpose is to gainfeedback and to empower its audience (in this case, families) and is thereforevital to the building of collaborative partnerships. Needs assessments, surveys,home/school journals, and questionnaires are examples of two-way communication.
Family efficacy is essential for our times. When we listen to needs, ideas, andconcerns from our families then respond appropriately, we are buildingmeaningful, genuine partnerships. Happy Partnering!
FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS GET ENGAGED: A LONG ROAD TO A GREAT MARRIAGE?
Posted by April Goodwin at 9/27/2011
The ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative has been offering great resources on parent engagement throughout the month of September — podcasts, examples of successful schools, post, and much more.
There is a great article in this month's newsletter about "FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS GET ENGAGED: A LONG ROAD TO A GREAT MARRIAGE?" Click here to read about the benefits and strategies involved in creating and developing successful programs and ways to overcome some of the barriers to family engagement.