By Kathleen Fay, California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Consultant
The PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships offer best practices for increasing authentic family engagement in our schools. The sixth standard, Collaborating with Community is the final standard and concludes our series (find links to the entire series below). This standard encourages families and school staff to work with their community to provide expanded learning opportunities, offer community services, and promote civic participation.
Parents and school leaders can collaborate with businesses, community organizations, and institutions of higher education to strengthen the school, make resources available, and build a family-friendly community. Here are some ideas:
Connect families with local resources.
- Partner with your school to create a resource station offering brochures and flyers about local colleges, health services, sports teams, and service-learning opportunities.
- Include PTA and school or district programs offered throughout the year, such as a used clothing or athletic equipment exchange, dental clinic, or summer program expo.
- Provide information online through your school or PTA website.
- Tip for PTA Leaders: be sure to review and follow the California State PTA Toolkit guidelines on Sponsorships and Endorsements
Identify and work with community partners.
- Consider having your PTA publish lists on its website or hold a resource fair to let families know about partners, programs, and services, such as after-school programs and summer camps offered by community partners.
- Invite community organizations and businesses to sponsor events like family science, math or reading nights, or offer donations and/or scholarships to programs like student leadership academies.
- Tip for PTA Leaders: review and follow the California State PTA Toolkit guidelines for cash and in-kind Donations
- Ask local specialists to present parent education forums virtually or in person about their areas of expertise, such as health, raising adolescents, and keeping kids safe online.
Partner with other community groups to support student success.
- Promote student skills to the community by partnering with the school to help high school students start up a local café and bookstore, offer graphic design and printing services, or do carpentry and light home repair.
- Work with local groups to solve problems by getting supplies and labor donated so families and students can fix up a deteriorating park, renovate a home for a family in need, or plant a community garden.
- Partner with other community groups to organize or participate in a resource fair, health expo, cultural celebration, or a job fair at your school.
These ideas are all designed to help PTA connect the school and the community in ways that benefit both and build stronger ties. Do you have a great suggestion for supporting student success? Please share it with us and you may be featured on our social media.
This article is part of a series covering the PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships. You can see the other blog posts in this series below:
- Introduction to the PTA National Standards
- Standard 1- Welcoming All Families
- Standard 2- Communicating Effectively
- Standard 3- Supporting Student Success
- Standard 4- Speaking up for Every Child
- Standard 5- Sharing Power