A 10 Step Family Engagement Plan for Schools
Put Your Parental Involvement Pledge Into Action
The most important and most effective way to get the word out about the Parental Involvement Pledge is to use it in all parts of your school program. Make the Parental Involvement Pledge an integral point of reference for all that you do at your school. In this way, all partners will understand how their commitments and their actions contribute to improved student learning and high achievement for all students. Here are some ways you can make your Parental Involvement Pledge count.
Use the Pledge to:
One of the biggest challenges will be keeping people's attention on the Parental Involvement Pledge once you launch it. Your Parental Involvement Pledge partners will need constant reminders of how their daily activities -- whether helping a student with homework or attending a meeting at school -- fulfill the commitments in the Parental Involvement Pledge.
school-family partnerships require
the sustained mutual collaboration, support, and
participation of school staffs and families at home and at school in
activities that can directly affect the success of children's learning.
If families are to work with schools as full partners in the education
of their children, schools must provide them with the opportunities and
support they need for success.
In a U.S. Department of Education study, a majority of Title I schools indicate that compacts help promote family involvement. Title I principals were asked to rate the helpfulness of compacts in achieving different types of school and family outcomes. Responses tended to differ by school poverty, with the highest-poverty schools finding compacts most helpful.In the highest-poverty schools, 85 percent of principals found Title I compacts helpful in supporting homework completion.
Recruit Parent Volunteers Utilizing The Pledge
Almost every day, citizens are urged to lend a hand at schools. Educators welcome volunteers, but we all know that good volunteer programs don't happen by accident. Schools that are most successful in engaging parents and other family members in support of their children's learning look beyond traditional definitions of parent involvement-participating in a parent teacher organization or signing quarterly report cards-to a broader conception of parents as full partners in the education of their children.
Rather than simply asking and expecting parents to volunteer in schools, use the Parental Involvement Pledge to canvass the entire school-community during the school year and into the next. Below are some action steps that can be used to make your Parental involvement Pledge effort a big success. Some steps may not apply to your school or district.
1. Parent/Teacher Conferences
process can begin with the
distribution of the Parental Involvement Pledge -- with a cover letter
(download sample cover letter) -- at parent/teacher conferences.
(Required by Title I, Section 1118,
Elementary and Secondary Education
Act, No Child Left Behind. Pledge rate of return more than 35%).
2.a. Mail Distribution Along With.....
Involvement Pledge are sent
to parents by U.S. Mail with with a self-addressed return envelope. Now
only if someone would call these parents to remind them to return the
2.b. ....Recorded Phone Calls
Parental Involvement Pledges
are distributed by U.S. Mail, the school/district telephone
auto-dialer, normally used for attendance calls, could be used to call
parents to remind them to volunteer by completing the mailed Parental
Involvement Pledge and returning them to school. Recorded message
should be from the principal or superintendent. If the school has no
auto-dailer, let your fingers do the walking! Call the parents using
live people! (Pledge rate of return is expected to exceed 20%)
3. Data Base Engagement
4. Student Backpack Distribution
Pledges can be sent home with the students. Compliance by students will be weak so incentives should be considered for the teacher or staff member who returns the highest number of Pledges (Rate of return is not expected to exceed 10%)
5. Reprint the Pledge In Newsletters
A full-page or half-page reprint of the Parental Involvement Pledge in the schools newsletter will raise awareness about your school's Parental Involvement Pledge drive (Rate of return is expected to be 1% to 2%).
Live phone calls should be made to parents asking them to volunteer by taking the Pledge over the phone (Positive response rate exceeding 30%).
7. Parent/Teacher Conferences
Parental Involvement Pledges are again distributed at the next parent/teacher conferences.
8. Home Visits/Door-to-Door Canvassing
Weekend door-to-door canvassing will also be a valuable technique in recruiting parent volunteers for hard to reach parents.
9. Computer Open House
open houses parents can
take the Pledge on-line through any school computers connected to the
10. Repeat Action Steps Again
Did you get the number volunteers that you wanted? Repeat this process over and over until it becomes a regular part of your school's culture.
Here are some ways to publicize the Parental Involvement Pledge
Your Parental Involvement Pledge can be as far-reaching as you would like. Whatever you choose to do, link the Parental Involvement Pledge to action so that families, school staff, and the community see how the Parental Involvement Pledge can work to make things happen in your school.
Whether your group is an individual school or an entire school district, effective use of the Parental Involvement Pledge includes community outreach. Consider sending a one-page press release to the newspapers, television and local radio stations announcing the distribution of the Parental Involvement Pledge. Invite all interested parents to take the Parental Involvement Pledge and to contact your school(s). Discover what's newsworthy about parental involvement in your school so you draw the proper attention to your release. And learn how to get your releases into the hands of the right editors.
A headline that gets to the point. Craft a headline which conveys immediately why this news is important. Avoid promotional sounding words. What you say here determines whether the reader will read the rest of the release.
A strong leading paragraph. Answer who, what, where, when, why, and how. Use this paragraph as an abstract or summary for the release.
Make it newsworthy. Are you solving a parent/school problem or filling your parent/school needs? Pinpoint what that need or problem is and write the release from that perspective.
Detailed explanation from the reader's perspective. Give details of the school(s) so the editor understands why it's important to his/her readers. Highlight your association with Project Appleseed, this will illustrate the importance of this news. If you're announcing a Parental Involvement Pledge effort, mention when and where the Pledge will be distributed (concentrate your efforts on parent teacher conferences) and where parents can obtain extra copies.
Short school or district summary. Include especially any information about parental involvement activities of note in your school. Also mention your location. Keep it short.
Include complete contact information. Contact name, school name, full address, phone number, email address, and Web site URL. The contact name should be someone who's available and capable of answering questions.
Keep it short. Maximum length should be one to two pages and no more than 500 words. Not all journalists want to receive press releases via email -- be careful to contact them in the way they want to hear from you.
Provide the Necessary Support
Your Parental Involvement Pledge is an evolving plan. It is important to decide each year how to support it. One way to ensure that the Parental Involvement Pledge is used is to make it part of your school's annual plan -- supported by financial resources. Allocating resources makes a strong statement about a school's priorities and its commitment to family involvement.
What do you need to make the Parental Involvement Pledge work?Funding: Title I funds* may be used to pay reasonable and necessary expenses associated with local parental involvement activities, including transportation and child care costs, to enable parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions. Consider using PTO/PTA fund raising profits, district funds, financial support through community and business partnerships.
*All school districts are now required to reserve "not less" than 2 percent of the Title I funds received (unless this amount is $50,000 or less) to support these activities, including family literacy and parenting classes. In addition, school districts, at their own discretion or at the request of constituents, may provide more than the minimum funds for these activities.
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Copyright © 2010 Project Appleseed - All Rights Reserved