MCCESC Teaching & Learning
November's Focus: Creating Partnerships with Families
REMINDERS MORE THAN ANYTHING
Sometimes we know what we're doing, we just forget to do it, so this month's newsletter is more about helpful reminders of easy ways to build partnerships with families than any groundbreaking information. However, we will also include a few resources that might be useful in our post-covid education world.
In addition to a broad range of information and resources, we have also tried to include a broad breadth of grade level appropriate information.
8 Ways Teachers And Schools Can Communicate With Parents In 2020
It would be no surprise to most educators that research identifies family involvement in schooling as a key predictor of a student’s success.
Clear, continuing, two-way communication is imperative.
But what is the best way for teachers to approach home-school communication in our rapidly changing world?
Family life is evolving with many parents working full time and juggling various commitments. Teachers may see parents at the classroom door less than they used to, and opportunities for interaction are more limited (not to mention the social-distancing limitations and virtual teaching situations for many).
With these changes also comes exciting new opportunities. The good news is, in our technology-rich world our approach to parent communication can be stronger than ever!
💡 Click HERE to read more
Parent Engagement & Success
Children with engaged parents are more likely to:
- Earn higher grades or test scores
- Graduate from high school and attend post-secondary education
- Develop self-confidence and motivation in the classroom
- Have better social skills and classroom behavior
They are also less likely to:
- Have low self-esteem
- Need redirection in the classroom
- Develop behavioral issues
Across fifty different studies on parental engagement, educational researchers found a connection between family involvement and academic achievement. And the earlier educators establish parent engagement, the more effective they are in raising student performance. Parent partnerships formed during elementary school years build a strong foundation for student success and future engagement opportunities.
Parent engagement also decreases chronic absenteeism, or missing more than twenty days of a school year. When teachers engaged with parents through home visits, for example, student absences dropped by 20%. Even after accounting for grade level and previous absences, students with engaged parents report less days of school missed overall. Two-way communication between parents and teachers commits students to daily attendance and raises class participation levels.
Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from family engagement: parents and teachers do, too. Teachers can prepare parents to help with homework or academic concepts. And engaged parents tend to think highly of teachers, which improves teacher morale. Knowing more about a student’s family life can also help teachers prepare lessons that better fit that student’s needs or interact more efficiently with families. And because students receive more support, classrooms with engaged parents perform better as a whole. When parents and teachers team up, everyone wins!
How to Increase Parent Engagement
It’s never too late to build the foundations for parent-teacher communication in schools. But the sooner you do, the more equipped your students will be to reach their academic potential.
Try these parent engagement strategies to transform involvement into parent partnerships:
- Give parents your contact information and get to know them early in the school year. That way, when they have questions, they’ll feel comfortable reaching out
- Provide opportunities for parents to connect with the school. Volunteer shifts, class activities, or parent-teacher committees are all great engagement opportunities
- Share your classroom goals or expectations openly with parents, and ask them to do the same
- Connect with parents in-person as much as possible. Use emails, texts, or apps to keep parents up-to-date on upcoming class events
- Address common challenges that inhibit parent engagement like scheduling conflicts or an intimidating atmosphere
(Information from Waterford.org)
Creating Partnerships with Early Childhood Families
From the beginning of life, families nurture their children to be healthy and to develop the capacities they will need to be ready for school and successful in life. Head Start and Early Head Start program staff share these goals and collaborate with families as they work toward these goals. The Head Start PFCE Framework is an organizational guide for collaboration among families and Head Start and Early Head Start programs, staff, and community service providers to promote positive, enduring outcomes for children and families.
This resource is intended for the entire Head Start and Early Head Start community and professionals in the early childhood field. Individuals, groups of staff, and supervisors can use this tool as part of training and reflective practice and supervision. This guide is aligned with the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework.
Partnering with Middle and High School families
Information provided by the Ohio Department of Education
Middle schools and high schools face unique challenges when partnering with families and communities. Because middle and high school teachers typically have more students than elementary school teachers, they must work to build partnerships with many more families. Families may live farther away and cannot come to the school as easily. In addition, many families of students in middle and high schools have more difficulty helping their children with their homework.
Adolescent students are beginning to develop their independence and may be less likely to want their families involved. On the other hand, students in these grades already may be more involved in the community because of their participation in sports, internships and jobs. Research shows that school, family and community partnerships continue to have an impact on student success at these grade-levels. Given the unique challenges and opportunities middle and high schools face, creative strategies should be used to build effective partnerships with families and communities.
Sample action steps, as well as detailed information regarding the following resources can be found here.
If you are interested in sharing your lesson learned, register here.
Interactive Notebooks in Middle School Math
Christie Kilbride, 7th Grade Math Teacher at Triad Middle School shared:
During the summer, I researched and looked at model interactive (online) notebooks to use with my 7th grade math class. I then combined the content from Open Up Resources, standards-based skill practices, vocabulary words, and math anchor charts into an interactive notebook for my students to use in Google Slides this year. The goal was to help with transitions in the classroom to/from remote learning settings.
If you are interested in learning more about Christie's work, please reach out to her via email.
Christie, we recognize the efforts you have put forth to provide a great transition tool for your students, and we are thankful to you for the hard work. We appreciate your contribution and hope that your school year is a great one!
The Importance of Small Victories
Maggie Parcels, Teacher of Biology/Environmental Science/Anatomy & Physiology at Mechanicsburg High School shared:
Teaching during COVID- 19 has been the most unique educational experience that many have encountered. From trying to navigate a work day with children at home, to trying to reach all of one’s students throughout the work day; there have been many challenges to overcome. Living through these experiences has taught me valuable and timeless lessons. The most important lesson that I have learned is the importance of small victories.
As a group, the staff and students in my district have demonstrated considerable resilience. When asked to meet each week, the feat was accomplished; when asked to call students during the day, that task was completed; and when asked to develop a completely new lesson set and curriculum, everyone obliged. Each of these is a small victory. It is clear that teachers can react to almost any situation with grace and perseverance. In retrospect, I am so thankful to be in this career and to be called a teacher.
The importance of schools in maintaining human wellness has become very apparent throughout these past few months as well. The physical and mental well-being of students and staff are what allow us to function as a working system. Throughout this time, students were able to get food from the school and also communicate with school staff about their educational and home needs. Without remote learning, this realization may not have been as astounding.
When we were able to attend school full time this fall, it was definitely an adjustment. There have been new procedures, different perspectives regarding classroom instruction, and even new interruptions to instruction that have presented themselves. Even with the many new challenges, there have been positives. Being able to see our students, ensure that they are doing well, and having human contact have all been unequivocal in these unforeseen circumstances.
Unfortunately, not all schools are going to experience the ability to interact with students each day. For this reason, I am thankful for the interactions that have resulted from the start of the 2020 school year. After not being able to see the students and being able to provide the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with them, I feel that we are working extremely hard to make this time more meaningful and valuable than before.
It is easy to look at all of the negatives and all of the challenges that we have faced, but without those obstacles, we would not have grown! People are appreciating their interactions with each other more and are making time for what is important to them- promoting self- care and personal growth. Teachers are learning new ways to incorporate technology and developing new and creative lessons. Students are learning to become more accountable and productive. Communication and collaboration has increased amongst staff and students. Without all of these hardships, those movements may not have developed.
The biggest lesson here is to be thankful for the little things in education: the ability to touch base with students during a pandemic, the gift of giving food to those in need, the resources developed throughout this process, and many other things that have all provided evidence of our resilience and growth. It is so easy to look at the hardships, but what a gift it is to be able to appreciate the amazing nature of people who have made it through this season. The importance of small victories is more prominent now more than ever, that is the lesson that I have learned.
Maggie, your students are blessed to have someone as dedicated as you teaching them. We appreciate your contribution and hope that your school year is rewarding. Thank you for all you do for the students of Mechanicsburg High School!
- Click on the link above to visit the U.S. Department of Education's website where they outline the release of this new guide.
- You can also click on the picture below to download the actual Guide itself!
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
We have linked upcoming webinars and online workshops that are being offered to educators at no cost.