It seems as if November came upon us quickly this year; maybe it was the warmer weather, or maybe it was our focus on re-introducing students to their in-school routine, but many of you have commented that the month and the change in seasons snuck up on you. With the approaching holidays (yes, they too are sneaking up on us), November seems like the perfect month to focus on families and your school’s engagement goals as a part of your school improvement work. In this month’s newsletter, you will find several articles, books, and other resources that will support you in actively including families in your efforts.
After all, there is no better opportunity to generate ideas, build community support, receive feedback, and stay focused in your continuous improvement efforts than to engage with the families that are entrusting you with their children. As always, SST 1 is here to provide support, answer questions, and share resources as you build relationships with your families.
Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful that the students and families in our region have such dedicated education professionals working hard for them every day.
Lynn McKahan, M.A., Director
State Support Team 1
Please note: Our offices will be closed Wednesday, November 24 – Friday, November 26 for Thanksgiving Break.
NATIONAL FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MONTH
During the month of November, we acknowledge the importance of strong relationships between schools, families, and community partners in increasing outcomes for all students. In committing to include parents and community stakeholders in conversations, planning, and decision-making, we can better identify problems, clear up misunderstandings and misconceptions, find solutions, and provide students with outstanding learning experiences.
RELATED: MILITARY FAMILY APPRECIATION MONTH
November also provides an opportunity to recognize our military families. It is Military Family Appreciation Month, and we thank military families for their commitment and sacrifices to our country. Military families face unique challenges and schools can be fantastic partners for supporting and encouraging them before, during, and after reassignments and deployments. Look for suggestions in the learn more section below.
PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS NEEDED!
Please share with your families: The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at The Ohio State University is seeking new parent and caregiver members for its State Advisory Council. Participants must have children enrolled in an Ohio public school district, and must not be educational professionals. Applications are due November 19.
PARTNERSHIPS IN OHIO SCHOOLS
Working with families and community partners is a key part of supporting the whole child. The Ohio Department of Education believes in the transformative power of strong school+family and school+community relationships and has included these collaborations for student success in both Each Child, Our Future: Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education and Each Child Means Each Child: Ohio’s Plan to Improve Learning Experiences and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities.
EACH CHILD OUR FUTURE
“Everyone, not just those in schools, shares the responsibility of preparing children for successful futures. The most important partners are parents and caregivers, who have the greatest impact on a child’s development. Other critical partners include educators, institutions of higher education, business, philanthropy, employers, libraries, social service organizations, community members, health care providers, behavioral health experts and many more. Put simply, partnerships transform the education experience. “
EACH CHILD MEANS EACH CHILD
“The focus areas, recommendations, tactics and action steps of Each Child Means Each Child will ensure Ohio meets the unique educational needs of the more than 270,000 students identified with disabilities. Partnerships with others will put this plan into action, creating a positive and lasting impact on Ohio’s education system.”
Partnerships are one of the three core principles of Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education. Along with equity and quality schools, partnerships are emphasized across each of the plan’s components and are a key part of ensuring the needs of the whole child are met.
NEW APPROACHES TO ENGAGEMENT
The Overlapping Spheres of Influence model from Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D., Director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships and Professor of Education in the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, is child-centered, with student success dependent upon overlapping support from the schools, families, and community.
However, research shows not all school – family – community activities are created equal. We often think of working with families and community members in terms of field trip volunteers, fundraiser supporters, and activity attendees, but true partnerships with families and community stakeholders are built on a foundation of communication, transparency, trust, and a shared responsibility to improve schools.
SHIFTING FROM INVOLVEMENT TO ENGAGEMENT
|Family Involvement = Participation||School +Family + Community Engagement
= Shared Responsibility
|Community Involvement = Participation|
|critical for student learning and achievement||vital for meaningful participation that influences informed decision-making||critical for school success|
|families take part in in organized events, activities, and volunteer opportunities||families and community partners are active participants in schools and provide feedback, ideas, resources, and opportunities that support the academic achievement of each student||organizations provide financial support through donations, sponsorships, and scholarships|
|support their child’s learning by using materials and resources supplied by the teacher or school||quality interactions between educators and other district representatives, home, and community organizations support common goals to improve schools and learning opportunities for all learners||support learning through speaking engagements and informational materials|
THEN AND NOW
|THEN: INVOLVEMENT||NOW: ENGAGEMENT|
By examining research from Dr. Epstein and the evidence-supported practices provided by the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center, we can reflect upon and improve the ways we approach family partnerships — and take the fear out of communicating with families.
DR. JOYCE EPSTEIN’S KEYS TO BUILDING SCHOOL, FAMILY, AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
We can ensure we are effectively implementing the Six Keys when building relationships with families by using research supported principles from the Statewide Family Engagement Center as a guide.
We have created a simple spreadsheet to help you keep track of your family engagement evidence-supported practices aligned with the research supported principles described above. Take it to your next meeting and share with your teams to ensure you are all on the same page.
COMING SOON! FAMILY ENGAGEMENT COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
Gain new skills, explore family engagement strategies, and network with your peers! We invite district leaders and school administrators to join our next virtual Family Engagement Community of Practice, beginning in the new year. Watch for more information in future issues of eBRIEF or check our events calendar for updates.
SHIFT MINDSETS & DREAM BIG
When considering how to involve community members, businesses, and organizations in your school, begin by expanding your vision of what school and learning could look like beyond the walls of the classroom — get creative with how community stakeholders can provide innovative learning opportunities for students across all grade levels.
Just as school leadership teams use the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) to help guide overall school improvement efforts, it is also a great tool to use when planning and monitoring community engagement efforts. We recommend using the OIP to focus your work.
1. IDENTIFY CRITICAL NEEDS
Ask Questions, Review Data, and Consider Opportunities
The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center has developed a tool to help Building Leadership Teams assess their school’s current family engagement practices and determine action steps for improvement in the areas of communication, learning at home, and community partnerships. The included appendices offer strategies for expanding your engagement efforts.
Set a Bigger Table
Invite teachers, students, families, and community members to discuss ways to provide relevant, engaging, hands-on learning experiences for students of all ages.
Get to Know Your Local Community
Offer community members, business owners, and organization leaders a chance to visit your schools during the day, and tour their facilities to better understand what skills, passions, and resources can be shared with your learners. Be sure to include teachers & students for their ideas. Keep an open-door policy and embrace a growth mindset. Say yes to new experiences.
3. PLAN FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Map out your community resources and begin to find the connections to learning. Align their offerings to the learning standards, experiences, and training you want your students to experience. This is also a great time to discuss with your partners how much time, materials, and other resources they are able to invest.
Get Creative: Move beyond the career day speaker and think of ways to use hands-on experiences with subject-matter experts to inspire a love of learning. Example: Connecting CTE construction trades, and fine and performing arts students with builders and designers in the community to develop, construct, and paint the set for your spring musical.
Where do you need to move the needle? How do your community engagement activities support overall school improvement? Build momentum by including your community partners in setting and attaining goals.
4. IMPLEMENT AND MONITOR
Let Learning Begin
This is the fun part! All the research, planning, and hard work has led to this point — increased learning opportunities for students!
Monitor & Communicate Progress
Check in with your stakeholders for feedback and share photos, student work, and stories about your activities with the wider community. Get excited about the progress you are making, and invite others to participate.
5. EXAMINE, REFLECT, AND ADJUST
Review Your Successes and Challenges
Assess your efforts with your students, families, community partners, and staff. What worked well? What needs modified for next year? Where are there areas for even more growth?
Do you have creative ideas and strategies to support collaborative family and school partnerships happening in your schools? We’d love to hear from you! We will share your suggestions and successes with the region via Twitter.
Examples of Community & School Partnerships in Region 1
- Project Prairie: Outdoor learning at Door Elementary
- Northwest State recognized for partnership
- ProMedica and Perrysburg Schools partner for STEM lab
- Imagination Station and TPS Collaboration
- Toledo library, Ability Center partner for DREAM project
- NSCC, Putnam Co. offer trade-up pre-apprenticeship
- Read for Literacy
- HOPE Toledo Promise
- Partners in Education
The titles below are recommended by Tamie Cruz, M.A., SST 1 Family & Community Engagement Consultant. If you have questions about how to improve the ways you collaborate with families and community stakeholders, reach out to her at 419.720.8999, ext. 123.
Beyond the Bake Sale | Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies
Partnering with families can be much more than asking for cookies and brownies to sell at the school bake sale. True partnership involves key elements such as building relationships, linking families to learning, addressing differences, supporting advocacy, sharing power, and then scaling up from one school to the entire district. This easy to read book is based in research, and contains various questionnaires, tips, anecdotes, and strategies for engaging families in the school community.
This book provides inventories, activities, case studies, assessments, and more to help you put theory into practice to engage every family in the school, and outlines 5 principles of family engagement:
- Creating a culture that engages every family
- Communicating effectively to develop relationships
- Building family efficacy
- Engaging each family in decision making
- Engaging the greater community
Based on the research by family engagement expert, Dr. Joyce Epstein, this book outlines the framework used by the National Network for Partnership Schools for engaging families, communities, and schools to support the whole child. Action Teams for Partnerships (ATPs) consisting of family members, administrators, teachers, and community partners are formed in each school. The ATP, guided by a district facilitator, works together to help to meet the needs identified in the school improvement plan. The book offers sample agendas, team templates, action plans, and more to help support the development of this framework districtwide.
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TRAINING
SST 1 Urban Literacy Specialist, Jackie Jacoby offers suggestions for holding more effective planning meetings with students and families in her session at the 2021 Family Engagement Summit.
The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at The Ohio State University offers support for educators who want to improve their family engagement efforts. A variety of training materials from conferences to webinars is available on their website.
Ideal for family engagement professionals in Ohio schools, this professional learning community meets virtually four times per year for opportunities to learn from each other and build partnerships for all families.
This free training offers information and planning information for family and community engagement from the perspective of parents as partners in the education of their children.
These free modules will help you understand the benefits of working with families and identify the steps for planning, designing, and implementing family engagement activities.
Our friends at State Support Team 11 speak with Barbara Boone and Angela Provenzano about the unique supports educators can connect with and provide support to families who are raising their grandchildren. The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center also provides helpful information regarding working with grandfamilies.
UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FROM STATE SUPPORT TEAM 1
Join us for resources and strategies designed to enhance student, parent, staff, and community engagement leading to improved graduation rates and post-school outcomes for students.
Van Buren Elementary will discuss their Tier II framework and Reset Room in this informal after-school network. Following their presentation, the presentation team will answer your PBIS questions.
Learn evidence-based practices and strategies to promote literacy achievement for all learners following the timelines and requirements of Ohio’s new dyslexia legislation.
Stay up-to-date on early childhood education news, ensure you are meeting federal requirements, and receive support for the use of standards, curriculum, and assessment for all learners.
These drop-in, come-as-you-are, virtual office hours are offered to support your PBIS implementation efforts. Bring your questions, help brainstorm ideas and solutions, and network with other schools.
Join SST1 consultants, Lisa Hite and Nicole Herbert for “UDL: Going Beyond Access” during the 2021 OCALICONLINE Conference on Thursday, November 18 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Collaborate to improve the achievement of students with disabilities, and receive special education updates, discuss data, face challenges together, and share successes.
Join in deep discussions regarding meeting the needs of special education students and ensuring they each receive rigorous, evidence-based instruction.
ABOUT OUR NEWSLETTERS
eBRIEF! is the primary source for the latest news and information from State Support Team 1. The monthly digital publication is designed to provide you with relevant education resources, timely news and announcements, and upcoming professional learning opportunities.
Level Up with Literacy is a bi-monthly digital publication that provides information and resources to help you ensure all learners have access to high-quality language and literacy instruction and appropriate interventions from birth through grade 12.
This website was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, (Award H027A210111 CFDA 84.027A, awarded to the Ohio Department of Education). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and no official endorsement by the Department should be inferred.