Parent Involvment Toolkit for School Leaders
Overview for Using the Toolkit
Title I Fast Facts
Scheduling Workshops & Meetings
Title I Annual Meeting
LEA/School Parent Policies
School Parent Compact
Ideas that Work
Research for Parent Involvement
NCLB Parent Involvement Resources
Overview for Using this Toolkit
The Title I Parent Involvement Toolkit components can be used in a variety of ways to contribute to your district and Title I school's parent involvement programs.
Resources for Title I Teachers – You can make the toolkit available for individual Title I teachers to conduct workshops for parents of children in their classes.
Resources for Administrators, Principals and other school or district specialists –The materials in this toolkit can be used by these people as resources for working with parents.
As you design your model for Title I Parent Involvement programs, you will need to consider questions like these:
- Are your Title I schools running a targeted or a schoolwide program? In a targeted program, you will only be providing the Title I programs to the parents of students participating in the Title I program. In a schoolwide program, you will be providing the Title I parent programs to all parents in the building.
- Who will deliver the parent involvement information – school or district personnel? Title I teachers, parents, others?
- Who will attend the Title I parent involvement meetings and workshops? Just Title I parents, or are Title I teachers and administrators encouraged to attend?
- What individuals or groups will have the responsibility and/or authorization to schedule Title I parent involvement meetings and workshops?
- When is the best time to schedule Title I parent involvement meetings and workshops?
Suggestions for Success
Your school or district’s implementation of Title I parent involvement workshops or meetings is likely to be more successful if individual meetings and workshops are linked to other elements of parent involvement and school activity. Here are some general research-proven suggestions that can help increase parent interest, enthusiasm, and involvement:
- Recruit suggestions from Title I parents, teachers and others on how and when to offer the meetings and workshops – for example, through surveys, or through a District-wide Title I Parent Advisory Council.
- Combine your Title I workshops and meetings with opportunities for parents to see samples of their child’s work and learn more about what their child is doing in school. When feasible, take time to have parents stop by their child’s classroom before or after a meeting/workshop.
- Use a variety of methods to publicize the workshops, including posters, flyers, notes sent home from school, email, etc., Make it easy for parents to express their interest in attending (for example, by signing a list passed around in a meeting).
- Build a parent involvement program that is consistent over the long term. For example, you might want to schedule workshops/meetings at the same time and location each month and feature a different topic each month.
- Issue personal invitations to parents. Invitations can be issued via phone calls, letters, email messages or face-to-face conversations at parent-teacher conferences and other school events.
- Work with your parent organizations to provide incentives or prizes for participation in meetings and workshops. Keep in mind that in order to use Title I parent involvement set-aside funds, the incentive would have to be related to student achievement.
- Turn the workshop into a social event, for example, by sponsoring a pot-luck dinner or lunch before or after the workshop.
- Provide on-site childcare that includes fun activities or supervised play time for the children during the workshops.
- Organize a conference day for Title I parents during which parents can choose from workshop sessions on a variety of topics.
- Schedule workshops that relate to current school, district or community “hot topics”. For example, if an article has been published about your district’s low math scores (and you have a Title I Math program), you might want to organize a series of Kitchen Math workshops. At these workshops, Title I teachers could take the opportunity to explain to parents what their child is learning in math, as well as provide suggestions and strategies for the parents to use at home to help strengthen their child’s math skills.
Planning and Conducting Effective Parent Involvement Activities
NCLB defines parental involvement as the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring—
- that parents play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
- that parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school;
- that parents are full partners in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child; and
- that other activities are carried out, such as those described in section 1118 of the ESEA (Parental Involvement). [Section 9101(32), ESEA].
Three Levels of Parent Involvement
NCLB Parent Involvement Focuses on Student Achievement and requires LEAs to conduct parent involvement activities that focus on the improved achievement of Title I students. Therefore, the activities you conduct for Title I purposes may often look different than the general “fund-raising” and “room parent” activities that are often associated and defined as “parent involvement” in schools.
Using the NCLB Definition of Parent Involvement, we can identify three levels of engaging and involving parents that need to be addressed in each LEA’s parent involvement plan.
Your parent involvement activities should be designed in such a way as to offer your Title I parents opportunities to be involved at all levels. Our SPAC calls this “growing parent involvement.” New parents may not be comfortable participating at a Level III activity, but a parent that has been involved for a few years in the school system may be ready to take a role at that level.
Level I – Opportunities for Title parent to help their children at home.
- LEA provides strategies, activities, materials and resources for parents to work with child at home.
- LEA provides training to assist parents’ ability to help their child.
- Level II – Encouraging Parents to Be Involved in School-based Activities
- Opportunities for Parents to Help or Observe in the Classroom
- Tutors, Teacher Assistants, Aides, etc.
- Level III – Parents as Active Partners in Developing Policy
- School Improvement Teams
- Parent Involvement Policies, Compacts (required)
- Annual Review of Title I Program (required)
The NCLB definition of parent involvement was not developed in a vacuum. The requirements contained in the law are all based on scientifically-proven research of more than 25 years on what works in getting parents actively engaged in their child’s education.
What the Research Says…
“A New Wave of Evidence”:The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement is the most recent review of strategies and what has proven to be effective.
This study reviewed more than 50 comprehensive studies on the effect of parent and community involvement on student achievement during the past 25 years. It summarized the results and provides examples of successful practices. The primary outcome of the study included nine (9) recommendations for creating successful and engaging parent programs. A full copy of the report is available as a PDF from www.sedl.org/pubs/catalog/items/fam33.html.