Family-School Partnerships: Making a Difference Together
Strong family-school partnerships make big differences. When families and schools work together, our kids win.
Partners in Success
At school – Family-school partnerships equal academic improvement. It’s a powerful strategy for achieving whole-school goals, such as reading at grade level, closing achievement gaps and motivating students for long-term success. Teachers and administrators can strengthen efforts by involving families in two-way, regular and meaningful conversations about students, giving parents good information about supporting our children and how grade-level expectations affect kids’ academic progress.
At home – Families and caregivers become partners in success by creating a culture of authentic engagement in school life. Keeping kids focused on school readiness, learning and homework shows commitment to our children’s academic growth and development.
PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships
As a PTA leader, you can boost family engagement at your school by relying on PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. The standards offer a blueprint on how to connect families and schools to support student success. To get started, align your PTA communications and programs and to the six standards:
- Welcome All Families – With activities for families to feel they belong at your school.
- Communicate Effectively – With pathways for families and staff to engage in regular, two-way communication.
- Support Student Success – With family activities linked to student learning and development.
- Speak Up for Every Child – With workshops on the education system and advocacy for parents to ensure all students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities.
- Share Power – With community surveys and forums for stakeholders to exchange views and shape school policies, practices and programs.
- Collaborate with the Community – With activities to expand access to learning opportunities, community services and civic participation. When families, schools and communities work together, all students have an opportunity to thrive in school and beyond. A booklet is available that summarizes the six standards and includes a sampling of indicators for each.
School Smarts is California State PTA’s award-winning, research-based parent engagement program. This seven-session Parent Academy empowers parents of all backgrounds by focusing on the importance of parent involvement, how the education system works and how to communicate effectively to advocate for a quality education to support student success. The curriculum is available in six languages. Learn more at capta.org/programs-events/school-smarts.
THREE TIPS FOR YEAR-ROUND ENGAGEMENT
- INVOLVEMENT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE – Research shows family engagement is a major factor in student success, with an encouraging home environment serving as a bigger factor in student achievement than a parent’s income, education level or cultural background. Engaged parents take part in all aspects of their child’s education and development from preschool to high school. And with parent involvement as one of the eight key areas in the new Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), authentic family engagement in schools is vital for school improvement and student achievement.
- PARENT-TEACHER COMMUNICATION IS KEY – Strong interaction, teamwork and partnership between families and teachers creates the optimal environment for student success. Parents can make a difference by staying up-to-date on classroom and school news, attending school events whenever possible and addressing concerns or questions honestly, openly and early on.
- PARENT-ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND – New state laws and standards mean new opportunities for parents to get involved in the education process. Parents’ advocacy, involvement and feedback on school priorities are required as part of the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and related Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), making family engagement more important than ever before. California State PTA proudly sponsored Assembly Bill 2878. This legislation will add research-based family engagement guidance and practice into the California Education Code. It will provide schools, districts and parents access to research-based best practices for family engagement and involvement. Families can contact their school districts to make their voices heard as important stakeholders in the LCFF/LCAP process.
WAYS TO ENGAGE YOUR FAMILIES & COMMUNITY DURING DISTANCE LEARNING
- Know your community: Does your students have access to online learning? What do families need (food, social/emotional services and medical
- Communicate with all partners: Administration, teachers, parents, and community partners (public libraries, Boys & Girls clubs, county offices & services).
- Be sure to use various methods of communicating.
- Use phone trees to make the personal connection and include everyone in your school community.
- Write personal notes and use traditional postal mail.
- Work with administrators to utilize school communications. Make sure that all your communications are translated for your families and community.
- Create a PTA liaison for each individual classroom that will allow for communications and feedback between each classroom and the PTA board.
- Hold town hall meetings to provide information to your families and community on current issues.
- Create links to community resources such as food pantries, tutoring, social services, etc.
- Institute a Kindness Campaign. Let’s be kind and help each other.
- Have weekly PTA updates through social media, all calls, text messages, and school signage.
- Include your PTA newsletter in your summer mailings/registration packets to share with your families what PTA is doing for the school community.
- Be VISIBLE and ACCESSIBLE!