Engaged Families: An Essential Dropout Prevention Strategy Information taken from the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities @ www.ndpc-sd.org 2 Its the Law! IDEA 2004 ESSA 2015 (Every Student Succeeds Act) NCLB 2002
All contain requirements about parent participation in their youths education. 3 Graduation 20/20 established to assist in building capacity to increase the high school completion rate for ALL students with special emphasis on students with disabilities (SWD) and those of low socioeconomic status. 4
Family Influences are Powerful (Mapp, 2006) There is a positive and convincing relationship between family involvement and benefits for students, including improved academic achievement. The relationship holds across families of all economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds and for all students of all ages. 5 Introduction During the elementary years as youth move from learning to read to
reading to learn, the partnerships that have formed between parents and teachers remain critical. As youth transition to adolescence and beyond, the support gained from effective home-school partnerships is proven to boost students academic performance, school attendance, behavior marks, and selfimage. 6 Families of all cultural backgrounds, education, and income levels:
Encourage their Children Talk to them about the importance of school Help them plan for higher education Keep them focused on learning Help them with their homework Funding Title I Parent and Family Engagement Set-Aside: Requirements 1% district is required
90% (of the 1%) to schools Priority given to high-need schools Parents and family members of low-income students must have a voice 7 Funding Title I Parent and Family Engagement Set-Aside: 8 Funds must be used for at least one of the below activities: 1. Training school staff regarding engagement strategies;
2. Supporting programs that reach families at home, in the community and at school; 3. Disseminating information on best practices focused on engagement, especially for increasing engagement of economically disadvantaged families; 4. Sub-granting to schools to collaborate with community-based organizations or businesses that have a track record of improving family engagement; or 5. Engaging in any other activities that the district believes are appropriate in increasing engagement. 6. A state must provide an assurance in its state plan that it will provide school districts and schools with effective parent and family engagement strategies. Title IV Statewide Family Engagement Centers Statewide Family Engagement Centers
1. Assist parents in participating effectively in their childrens education and helping their children meet state academic standards; 2. Develop and implement, in partnership with the state, statewide policy to provide services that will help to remove barriers for family engagement; and 3. Develop and implement parental involvement policies required in the ESSA. 9 County and School Strategic Plans When developing the plan: 1. Must consult parents of children in schools receiving Title I
funds and Special Education. 2. Must include strategies the district will employ to meet the parent an.d family engagement requirements 10 Combine School Efforts Parent and Family Engagement Strategies and Activities What information do parents need so that student success is maximized?
Have the highest dropout rate. Parents of Students with Special Needs Academic Parents who fit both subgroups Community
Parents of Low-Income Students How does your parent center support parents? How do you address parent concerns? 11
12 Families of Youth with Disabilities: Are as involved in school as any other parents often more so. Variations based on disability: Speech or orthopedic impairments most likely to participate in school meetings, events, or to volunteer. EBD or MR least likely to participate in above, but are most likely to attend parentteacher conferences. 13
Benefits of Family Involvement for School Gain parents trust, input and support Improved school leadership and staffing
Better quality and variety of instructional programs More professional development for teachers and staff Increased funding for health and safety initiatives Improved facilities at school Better overall outcomes for the students 14 Benefits of Family Involvement for Parents
Develop relationships, trust and bonds with the school School gains an understanding of the parents viewpoints and needs School climate improves because of health and safety initiatives School facilities and programs improve Better overall outcomes for the students 15 Benefits of Family Involvement for Students
Middle school and high school students whose parents remain involved tend to: Have a positive attitude about school Earn higher grades Score higher on standardized tests Graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary programs Refrain from destructive activities such as alcohol and drug use and violence Have better overall outcomes 16 Effective Action Steps Link family and community engagement efforts to student learning;
Create initiatives that will support families to guide their childrens learning, from preschool through high school; Develop the capacity of school staff to work with families; Focus efforts to engage families on developing trusting and respectful relationships; and Embrace a philosophy of partnership and be willing to share power with families. Make sure that parents and school staff understand that the responsibility for childrens educational development is a collaborative enterprise (Mapp, 2004). 17 Think About It
How would you characterize the home-school partnerships at your school (e.g., good, average, poor, non-existent)? In what ways do parents partner with your school? is there a local parent group/organization that supports parents? 18 High School Students In the transition years, parents of children with disabilities must confront the impact of disability
on their child in the adult world as well as new fears for their childs future. 19 Creating Partnerships with Parents Despite widespread endorsement of family-school partnerships to support student learning, most educators in the United States have received little or no training in working effectively with families (International Reading Association, 2002) 20
What Families Say Families say that the current system does not make it easy for them to be effective partners: Lack of coordinated, individualized services for students Cultural differences may complicate relationship Lack of information 21 What Youth Say. 71% said one of the keys to keeping them in school is
better communication between parents and schools and increased parental involvement in their education Fewer than half said that their school contacted them or their parents when they were absent or dropped out 22 Parents Arent Born Knowing How to Engage
So help them learn how! Support parents in understanding how they can become involved at school to whatever degree they are able/want to Offer parents opportunities to learn about your school and how they can become involved Work with your PTI to start a parent mentor program or a parent university Connect parents with the PTI and other resources 23 Barriers to Inclusive Family Involvement
Schools not knowing how to form family/school partnerships Parents not knowing how to form family/school partnerships Parents not knowing the law, or their rights, responsibilities, etc.
Transportation issues Timing of meetings conflicts Language ESL and the jargon of education Parents fear of retribution Family adversity and negative parental attitudes about school Schools are sometimes more welcoming to parents they want to interact with than to problem parents 24 Think About It What are the greatest barriers parents face in interacting and partnering with your school?
Discuss how the barrier(s) might be overcome. Share out! 25 Considerations What roles are families comfortable with? What information or supports do families need to participate or to support students education Hows your school climate for family involvement? and/
26 Think About It List two strategies (e.g., activities, events, meetings, focus groups, media, flyers) that will assist in creating and increasing positive relationships with your childs school. Consider the following: Family awareness Family engagement/involvement Family support 27
Validate- Welcome all families into the school community Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class. PTA 28 Validate Welcome all families into the school community Share the power: Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families, and together inform, influence and
create policies, practices and programs. 29 NAVIGATE Consider Culture and Climate 30 Strategy: Use Cultural Navigators Tailor training to the cultural traditions of families to improve recruitment and outcome effectiveness
For example, parents from culturally and racially diverse populations may prefer one-on-one meetings rather than more traditional training formats Additional strategies may include family-mentoring programs, needs assessment surveys, and working with culturally specific community organizations that have created relationships of trust 31 Cultivate family involvement Strategies: Account for cultural and individual differences Offer a wide variety of ways to participate
Support participation in any school or community opportunity Enable participation regardless of skill level Provide support to improve participation skills Develop annual family events and build on them 32 Cultivate family involvement Strategies: Arrange meeting schedules to accommodate family needs Provide staff development on welcoming and working collaboratively with families and students Develop supports and materials that reflect diversity
Make regular home/school communication an expectation Provide referrals to community resources 33 Communicate Effectively Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning. 34 Cultivate better communication Strategies:
Reach out to families Visit your students homes Invite parents to be part of school teams and committees Hold parent conferences or support groups Provide feedback to parents on student progress more frequently Report more than just negative behavior 35 Cultivate better communication Strategies: Phone network or chain of volunteer families to call each other Short survey to determine events and activities families want
Invite families to visit, and create a comfortable environment Suggestion box for families to communicate anonymously Opportunities for youth involvement in all school activities Open school gym, pools, classrooms for after-school events 36 ERASE Parent Dissatisfaction and Disengagement Explain What is the problem? Reason What is he/she getting out of it or avoiding? Appropriate What do you want him/her to do instead?
Support How can you help this happen more often? Evaluate How will you know if it works? 37 Understand and Provide the Resources and Strategies Parents Need to Participate Effectively 38 Resources to support family involvement
Informational needs of parents and students: Self-advocacy Balancing educational standards education with functional life skills Career preparation and employment options Collaboration across systems and agencies 39 Resources to support family involvement School policies and procedures: Written policies that overtly respect diversity Clear information for families on policies, goals, reforms
Training available for families on policy, reform, related issues Accessible and understandable decision-making and problem-solving processes Student and family stakeholders on governance and other programs and committees 40 Strategies Parents Can Use to
Participate Share the goals you have for your child Respond to requests from school within a timely manner Seek clarificationDont be shy ASK QUESTIONS!! 41 Strategies Parents Can Use to Participate Share your concerns often as frequently as possible both the negative and positive Be certain to share concerns in a positive manner, ensuring that you are assisting in the relationship to improve and strengthen the communication
between parents and schools in general Promote communication with your child Consider how your child interacts within the school environment 42 Strategies Parents Can Use to Participate Home visits Be prepared Ask questions, seek clarification Seek feedback on students progress, frequently Establish a line of communication that works best
for you and the school representative. 43 Summary Work to develop proactive parent involvement Assess your schools climate Is it family friendly? Train school personnel on building parent engagement Conduct a family needs assessment and use the results Help parents learn how to participate 44
Summary Use a variety of communication methods and strategies Communicate based on individual student and family needs Include alternate formats and languages as needed Strengthen communication with parents: send information home frequently Dont forget to report positive student behavior and achievement! 45 Relationships are KEY! The ways schools care about children is reflected in the way schools care about the childrens families. (Epstein, 1995)
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