Engaging parents and community members effectively
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Engaging parents and community members effectively

Engaging Parents and Community Members Effectively

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Background information

Background Information

  • Parent, Family and Community Engagement refers to the interdependent relationship in partnerships established to support student achievement and social development in alignment with the Ministry of Education’s Parent Involvement Policy

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Purpose

Purpose

The key purpose for parent, family and community engagement is to support students as they progress through school, in collaboration with school staff and the School Plan for Continuous Improvement

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Partners

Partners

Researchclearly shows that good schoolsbecomebetterschoolswhenthereis a strongconnectionwith parents. The positive results of a genuinepartnershipbetween parents and schoolsincludesimprovedstudentachievement, reducedabsenteeism, betterbehaviour, and restored confidence among parents in theirchildren’sschooling.

Ontario Ministry of Education website

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Twenty six tips

Twenty-six Tips

From the Ministry of Education….

  • The Parent Survey

  • The Action Plan

  • The School Information Package

  • The Meet and Greet Program

  • The Bring a Friend Program

  • The Welcoming Council

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Engaging parents and community members effectively

  • The Newcomers Event

  • The Childcare Program

  • The Translation Service

  • The Parent Carpool

  • The Off-site/Off-hours Program

  • The Showcase Evening

  • The School Fair

  • The Volunteer Training Program

  • The Parent Education Program

  • The Welcome Back to School Event

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Engaging parents and community members effectively

17. The Multicultural Program

18. The Bulletin Board

19. The School Newsletter and Website

20. The School Council Display

21. The Direct Mailing Program

22. The Parent Contact List

23. The Reminder Program

24. The Visible Council Member

25. The Community Ambassador

26. The Recognition Program

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Lessons learned from yrdsb school councils

Lessons Learned from YRDSB School Councils

  • Don’t measure parent engagement by the number of people attending school council meetings

  • Look for assets rather than deficits (what strengths

    are present in the community?)

  • Study your community and school demographics

    (who are you serving?)

  • Survey parents with quick questions at school

    events, 2-3 times a year

YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


Engaging parents and community members effectively

  • Use large gatherings to your advantage (eg. School plays, Kindergarten Information nights, Meet the

    Teacher, University Information nights) , asking 3 simple

    questions eg. “What questions do you have about how to

    support your child/teenager?” “What’s the best way to

    get the answers to you – information evenings, website,

    newsletters, other…”, “What do you wish you knew more

    about?”

  • Involve parents and family members in special events

  • Consider including food/meals

  • Share tips for creating successful students

  • YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Engaging parents and community members effectively

    • Consult with Community Resource Facilitators

    • Talk to identified groups of parents (eg new to the school/area, from private schools, cultural/religious…) to find out about specific interests and needs

    • Vary the styles of delivery (use a multi-media approach to distributing information)

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Engaging parents and community members effectively

    • Engage in questions before answers

    • Involve parents in the planning and presentations

    • Follow up with survey results – report on the results and on subsequent action or non-action and the reasons for this

    • Consult with community members regarding community issues and resources

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Effective communication

    Effective Communication

    • Create an orientation package for new parents (Kindergarten, new Canadians, ‘move-ins’) about the school, the community, school events, school council and parent engagement opportunities

    • Partner with administration at parent information sessions (provide a welcome from school council, host an information table, a refreshment stand)

    • Offer messages to be posted on the display board

      outside

    • Encourage parents to ‘bring a neighbour or friend’ to upcoming events

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Engaging parents and community members effectively

    • Recognize student achievement at school council meetings, school events (this brings the students’ parents out!)

    • Partner with secondary school councils (host their meetings at your school, attend their meetings to begin the transition process for grade 8 and future grade 8 students’ parents)

    • Provide transportation (carpool)

    • Organize interpreters for meetings and events

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Engaging parents and community members effectively

    • Translate newsletters

    • Create an information CD/DVD for parents of new students

    • Maintain a notice board near the front entrance

    • Attend sports team events, arts events and be a visible ‘message’ or provide a message to be included in programs

      Other ways?

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Communicating with the community

    Communicating with the Community

    • Create a presentation to be displayed in the hall on a monitor after hours (for ‘permit users’)

    • Provide school information packages to local community centres, real estate offices, development sales offices, medical centres

    • Provide press releases to the local media

    • Host community events

    • Other ways?

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Work with the school plan

    Work with the School Plan

    The School Plan for Continuous Improvement provides a good starting point for school council work.

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    School council websites

    School Council Websites

    • School council websites may be linked from the school’s website

    • Content must be approved by the school administrator

    • Accuracy and timeliness are important to readers

    • Contents might include meeting minutes, Constitution, membership, links to sites of interest, tips for parents, community features

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    School council newsletters

    School Council Newsletters

    • Best sent with formal school communications (eg. School newsletters, report cards) to ensure that they reach parents

    • Post extra copies on the School Council noticeboard

    • Provide extra copies at school events, local community centres…

    • Provide content which is relevant to the identified interests and questions posed by parents

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    School plans for continuous improvement

    School Plans for Continuous Improvement

    • Based upon the Board’s Plan for Continuous Improvement

    • Clarifies the school’s work supporting student achievement

    • Provide three target areas for focused attention:

      1. supporting the strengths, needs and interests of each student to improve achievement and success in all subjects and programs;

      2. engaging parents, families and communities in collaborative and reciprocal relationships for the purpose of intentionally improving student achievement and success; and

      3. promoting healthy and respectful schools and workplaces

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    School councils and school plans

    School Councils and School Plans

    • School Plans for Continuous Improvement (SPCI) provide a great framework for school council work

    • Consider making this the topic of an early school council meeting

    • Look for ways in which the school council can work to support a goal expressed in the SPCI (eg literacy scores, graduation rates)

    • Consider creating an Action Team which works to improve student achievement by increasing the degree to which parents are

      involved in their children’s learning at school and at home

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Action teams

    Action Teams

    • Composition (2-3 teachers, 2-3 family members, 1 administrator, others)

      • Purpose (review school goals, select, plan, implement and evaluate family/community involvement activities linked to school goals)

      • Decide upon logistics (serves as a sub-committee of School Council, monthly meetings, regular reports)

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Epstein s model six types of involvement

    Epstein’s Model: Six Types of Involvement

    Six Types of Involvement

    • Parenting

    • Communicating

    • Volunteering

    • Learning at home

    • Decision making

    • Collaborating with community

      This framework can serve to focus Action Team efforts; how can these six types be used to support improved student attendance? Student graduation rates? Literacy scores?

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Action teams1

    Action Teams

    • Select a goal from the SPCI

    • Describe desired results

    • How will you measure the results?

    • Identify specific family and community involvement activities to support the goal

    • Organize and schedule family and community involvement activities to support this goal,

      using 6 types of involvement

    • Publicize the plan

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    National network of partnership schools

    National Network of Partnership Schools

    • Established by Joyce Epstein at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland

    • $100 US fee (paid once; waived once yearly reports are filed)

    • Newsletter (Type 2)

    • Promising Practices book annually

    • Posters (Six Keys)

    • Technical assistance

    • Workshops, conferences

    • www.partnershipschools.org

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


    Thank you

    Thank You

    For your interest in supporting students through improved parent engagement.

    If you have comments, ideas to share send them to [email protected]

    YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009


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