Olive Chase was surfing the Internet when she stumbled onto Project Appleseed's website and clicked on the Parent Engagement Pledge. "As parents, we are the owners of the public school system," the pledge read. "As owners, we bear a responsibility to participate in the system." The form asked the signer to promise to volunteer a minimum of ten hours in her child's school each year.
Chase, was a council member at her son's Cape Cod, MA. elementary school, and had been trying to get more parents involved. The council passed around the pledge and 200 of the school's 350 families signed on. "The response was electrifying," she says. "We landscaped a courtyard, dramatically raised our enrichment-program fund-raising, and had thirty different parents who helped in classrooms at any given time. I don't think any of it would have happened without that pledge."
The Parent Engagement Pledge is a powerful tool for schools to improve student outcomes and create a more positive school culture. Research from the United States Department of Education, the Prospects Study, has shown that learning compacts like the Parent Engagement Pledge have the greatest impact on homework completion, school climate, student discipline, and reading at home. This is because the pledge is specifically designed to promote high-impact family engagement.
The Parent Engagement Pledge is unique in that it is the most widely employed Title I compact in the nation. The pledge creates a sense of shared responsibility between parents, teachers, and the school community, encouraging everyone to work together to support students.
Additionally, the Prospects Study found that Title I principals who used the Parent Engagement Pledge rated it as helpful in achieving different types of school and family outcomes. It is particularly effective in high-poverty schools where it has been found to be most helpful. Furthermore, data from the The study found that when a learning compact is effectively implemented, positive student outcomes, including higher achievement, result.
Case studies of five schools that developed strong written compacts using the Parent Engagement Pledge found that in four of the five schools, the compact functioned as a supportive component of a much larger and well-established parent involvement program. In the fifth school, the compact served as the primary catalyst for more intensive involvement by 19 families.
The Parent Engagement Pledge is a powerful tool for schools to improve student outcomes, create a more positive school culture, and engage parents and families as partners in the education of their children. It is particularly effective in high-poverty. Volunteer in your schools now!