Family Engagement Plan
Engaging families with the Parental Involvement Pledge learning compact gives parents, grandparents and caring adults opportunities to volunteer with the school and participate in their child’s classes. The most important and most effective way to get the word out about Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Pledge is to use it in all parts of your school improvement 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.
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. Passing out the Parental Involvement Pledge to parents and hoping for the best -- will not work! Using your Pledge is the critical step that moves the compact from planning to action, from paper to partnership with parents. First, people need to know about the Parental Involvement Pledge--what it is and how they can get involved. Launching the Parental Involvement Pledge is a great opportunity to create new partnerships and to reach out to families and community members who have not been involved at the school before.
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.
Successful 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.
10 Steps To Success
Project Appleseed's logic model provides the basic framework that illustrates our program’s theory of change. It shows how day-to-day activities connect to the outcomes and impacts the program it seeks to achieve.
Here are some ways you can make your Parental Involvement Pledge count. Some steps may not apply to your school or district.
1. 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.
Deploy the Parental Involvement Pledge to:
Discuss student progress during parent-teacher conferences.
Explain the school's high academic standards and high expectations for all students.
Help launch programs for family involvement.
Support training for teachers and other staff to work effectively with families.
Complement school improvement plans.
Help partners discuss their responsibilities in meeting the goals of the school.
2. Use Parental Involvement Report Card
The Parental Involvement Report Card is a self-diagnostic tool complementary tool to the Parental Involvement Pledge. It is intended to help parents rate their contributions to their child's success at school. Use these 31 questions as a guide to discover some of the ways that you can help your child at home and at school. The results will be emailed to you and will never be shared or sold. Schools can distribute the Parental Involvement Report Card to all families by ordering Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Toolbox.
3. Title I Learning Compact for Parent/Teacher Conferences
The process can begin with the distribution of the Parental Involvement Pledge at parent/teacher conferences. Parent/teacher conferences and meetings must include the Parental Involvement Pledge Compact as it relates to the child’s achievement as required by Title I, Section 1116, (Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015). Parent/teacher conferences shall occur at least annually, during which the compact shall be discussed as the compact relates to the individual child’s achievement.
4. Tell Everybody - Several Times
Today, everyone is overwhelmed with information, and many people have trouble listening to any message closely. Experts say that it often takes eight reminders or notices for someone to say finally, "I've heard of that." When spreading the word about the Parental Involvement Pledge and encouraging people to support it, be patient: you can count on having to remind people many times. A Parental Involvement Pledge marketing effort designed to reach all parents/caregivers - several times - will raise awareness about your school's Parental Involvement Pledge drive.
Here are some ways to publicize the Parental Involvement Pledge:
Send e-mail messages to parents, employers, and other community organizations about how they can get involved.
Ask the parents to take the Pledge with phone calls and text messages. Text messages are most effective at reaching parents.
Send home flyers telling parents about your school's Parental Involvement Pledge On-line.
Include the Pledge in back-to-school and new student orientation packets.
Mail the Pledge to families with a cover letter and a self-addressed return envelope.
Reprint the Pledge to include the school's newsletter.
Post the Pledge on a hallway bulletin board near the main office, and displays on the marquee.
Backpack the Pledge to be sent home as a handout with the students.
Use teacher home visits and door-to-door canvassing to reach families.
Attach the Pledge to the weekly lunch menu.
Ask the local newspaper to reprint the Parental Involvement Pledge as part of Newspapers In Education.
Do a speaking tour of local groups and community organizations.
5. Move An Existing Event to National Parent Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week
Schools are encouraged to host a new event on - or move an existing event to National Parent Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week to honor parents. This is the perfect opportunity to ask parents and families to take the Parental Involvement Pledge.:
At school open houses parents can take the Pledge on-line through any school computers connected to the Internet.
Issue a Proclamation! Ask your superintendent, school board, mayor, city council, state representative or governor to issue a proclamation celebrating National Parental Involvement Day.
6. Survey Teachers and Staff
Use the Faculty and Staff Parental Involvement Pledge Volunteer Request in the Parental Involvement Toolbox for teachers and school staff to communicate their need for volunteers. The information should be collected by the person designated by the principal, volunteer coordinator or parent group leader who will record those needs.
7. Process for Volunteering In the Classroom
You might want to consider wether your district requires that volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation to review volunteer needs, roles and responsibilities, volunteer agreements, sign-in logs, fingerprinting and background checks.
8. Create A Database of Volunteers
Input all hard copies of the Pledge into the online version. Project Appleseed will provide member schools Excel spreadsheet so that all volunteers and tasks can be in one database. The Parental Involvement Pledge has an Inventory of Volunteer Interest survey with a list of opportunities that can be shared and collected by the volunteer coordinator. Now its time for your first volunteers to call these parents to remind them to return the Pledge!
9. Awards and Recognition
The school will recognize accomplishments of volunteers in at least one school-wide event and on the school board. Project Appleseed Certificates of Parental Involvement for schools and parents are part of the Parental Involvement Toolbox.
10. Rinse and Repeat Each Year
Did you get the number of volunteers that you wanted? Repeat this process over and over until it becomes a regular part of your school's culture.