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Engaging Parents and Community Members Effectively

Engaging Parents and Community Members Effectively

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Engaging Parents and Community Members Effectively

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  1. Engaging Parents and Community Members Effectively YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. Thank You For your interest in supporting students through improved parent engagement. If you have comments, ideas to share send them to engagement@yrdsb.edu.on.ca YRDSB Fall School Council Forum 2009