Community Involvement PSL Class December 2, 2013
Research – Community Involvement • In the past, parent involvement was characterized by volunteers, mostly mothers, assisting in the classroom, chaperoning students, and fundraising. Today, the old model has been replaced with a much more inclusive approach: school-family-community partnerships now include mothers and fathers, stepparents, grandparents, foster parents, other relatives and caregivers, business leaders and community groups–all participating in goal-oriented activities, at all grade levels, linked to student achievement and school success. • Parent, family, and community involvement in education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement. When schools, parents, families, and communities work together to support learning, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enroll in higher level programs. Researchers cite parent-family community involvement as a key to addressing the school dropout crisis and note that strong school-family- community partnerships foster higher educational aspirations and more motivated students. The evidence holds true for students at both the elementary and secondary level, regardless of the parent’s education, family income, or background—and the research shows parent involvement affects minority students’ academic achievement across all races.
Research Continued • Parent, family, and community involvement means different things to different people. A research-based framework, 6 developed by Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University, describes six types of involvement— parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community—that offer a broad range of school, family, and community activities that can engage all parties and help meet student needs. Successful school-parent communitypartnerships are not stand-alone projects or add-on programs but are well integrated with the school’s overall mission and goals.
Epstein’s Framework • ■■ Parenting. Assist families with parenting skills, family support, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions to support learning at each age and grade level. Assist schools in understanding families’ backgrounds, cultures, and goals for children. • ■■ Communicating. Communicate with families about school programs and student progress. Create two-way communication channels between school and home that are effective and reliable. • ■■ Volunteering. Improve recruitment and training to involve families as volunteers and as audiences at the school or in other locations. Enable educators to work with volunteers who support students and the school. Provide meaningful work and flexible scheduling. • ■■ Learning at Home. Involve families with their children in academic learning at home, including homework, goal setting, and other curriculum-related activities. • ■■ Decision Making. Include families as participants in school decisions, governance, and advocacy activities through school councils or improvement teams, committees, and other organizations. • ■■ Collaborating with the Community. Coordinate resources and services for families, students, and the school with community groups, including businesses, agencies, cultural and civic organizations, and colleges or universities
Community Involvement • Mayor and City Manager- fluid communication. Attend planning meetings, discuss needs, clarify misperceptions. • Police Department-A healthy relationship will benefit the school • Align School Improvement Goals with goals of your partners. Example lowest quartile. Went from 44% to 76% lower quartile making learning gains because all groups were working toward this goal. Mentors, tutors, book clubs, etc. • Optimist Club- discretionary money, thousands of dollars in scholarships, essay contests, academy donations, needy families. Friday’s 6:45 a.m. • Jr. Optimist Club- Largest club at our school. Very active with community service. • Rotary Club- partner of Interact Club- 40,000 in scholarships. Essay contest. Students speak at meetings. Once a month- Tuesday’s 7:00 a.m. • Chamber of Commerce- Education Committee- Monthly luncheon meetings, housed at local schools. Very valuable. Monthly meetings • Kiwanis Club- partner of Key Club- 5000 in scholarships. Connects with foreign countries, students from Africa, Venezuela, China, have visited our school.
Community Involvement • Youth Sports Association- encourage coaches to develop relationships. When renovations are being done to your school, youth sports associations can be very helpful, if the relationship is healthy. • Church groups- many churches have started their roots meeting in school cafeterias, media center, auditoriums, etc. New policies require us to scrutinize these relationships much more closely. Fees for use of facility no longer discretionary. Healthy relationships can bring needy students clothes, meals, shelter. Every staff member received a turkey from a local church which meets at the middle school. 30 needy families received complete dinners. • Parent Teacher Student Organizations- Elementary schools cannot exist without them. Fundraisers-carnivals, supplement skeletal budgets. Principal must foster this relationship. Create tasks for the organization. Create short and long term goals to keep members active. Easier to do this in certain communities.
Community Involvement • School Advisory Council- Create committees, empower people, keep them moving toward goals. • Volunteers/Boosters- Give them value, recognize them at every opportunity. Don’t expect them to know what you want. Give them direction and what you expect for them to accomplish. • Business Partners- Guest speakers, tutors, mentors. Create a welcoming atmosphere to promote participation. Provide space at a location they can find easily. • When new businesses open- meet the manager, welcome them to the community. • Restaurants and fast food always looking for ways to help, encourage your folks to seek them out. Many times it is as simple as asking. 2000 for baseball team applied for a grant at Walmart.
Scenario • The city manager comes to you with a plan to open the stadium during the school day and allow people to utilize the track. He has a detailed plan with accountability for supervision and liability insurance for accidents and/or damage to property. He sites the thousands of dollars the community has provided for the school including their volunteer service. The plan is borrowed from a distant school district in South Florida which has implemented the plan successfully for ten years. • What are the first 3 things you will do? • How much of this decision is site-based? • Is the school district liable for any accidents or damage to property even if the city assumes responsibility?