Week 6 Discussion 1 Community Involvement

Epstein writes, “The way schools care about children is reflected in the way school’s care about the children’s families.” What do you think she means by this?  What do you see as the fundamental reason that schools, families and communities need to work together?  Also, Abravanel’s paper Building Community Through Service-Learning: The Role of Community Partner,Links to an external site. makes interesting points about community involvement.  Describe your vision of what this kind of engagement would look like in your community.

INSTRUCTOR GUIDANCE WEEK FIVE

*Special thanks to Dr. Patrice Jones for sharing her original guidance in this document. In Week Five, you read about the link between Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and parental involvement. When students do not have their basic needs met or do not feel safe in school, they are not fully prepared for academic instruction.  “It is imperative that we proactively create a climate that will support all students learning” (Hjalmarson, 2011, p.135). Partnerships are all about connection.  In this final week of the class, we will end our discussion about the need to develop partnerships among schools, families, and communities to support student success.

Parents are the glue that helps to bring students and schools together.  For schools, it is important to gain parent support and involvement in assisting students in their educational growth. Schools must develop strategies to offer parents in establishing better support for students in their educational journey; however, in order for schools to help parents, there must be a plan in place. We learned at the start of this course that there are a variety of ways in which parents can be supportive of students in school.  Far gone are the days when the only way that parents could show support was to help with homework.  Although helping with homework is still vital, it is only a small example of the many strategies that parents can use to support the education of their children. Think about the classroom today, beyond fundraisers and PTA meetings.  What are some of ways in which your child’s school has asked for your support or you have asked parents for support?  How does this extend to using technology as a means of academic support?  Consider the technology you use to communicate with your child’s teachers or with the parents of your students.  Research shows a strong correlation between the achievement gap and home Internet accessibility (Empowering Parents, 2010). “If, as President Obama emphasizes, parents have a responsibility to be actively involved in their children’s education, they will need the technology tools and skills to do so effectively” (The Children’s Partnership, 2010, p. 7).  Having regular communication with schools through email, blogs, and social media helps parents receive updates to their child’s performance and plan for what additional supports they might need for areas of need. We have learned throughout the previous weeks of this course that classrooms throughout the U.S. have become increasingly diverse. Hjalmarson writes that, “when people are born into families with limited parenting skills, without some intervention or training, they will very likely be the same kind of parent that they were raised by” (2011, p. 157).  Leaders in schools today must recognize the need to become culturally literate so that students can be successful.  There have been a variety of strategies discussed that can be used to implement a strong program to support students and their families through collaboration. Members of the school must take on the needed leadership roles to address what’s most important to students and their families; however, according to the NEA, “cultural competence is a key factor in enabling educators to be effective with students from cultures other than their own” (no date, para. 2). What makes the need for cultural competence so important?  How can you contribute to building a positive relationship with your school’s community?  What can you do to provide support to parents to encourage stronger school involvement?

Week 6 Discussion Guidance

Successful models of family partnerships makes families feel welcome, include family input in multicultural curriculum, and offer workshops for parents to learn and grow with their children. One organization, Parents Reaching Out, uses the Epstein model for parental involvement by developing family leadership, connecting families throughout the community, and provide families with learning opportunities (Parents Reaching Out, 2008). They relate a supportive academic environment to weaving a blanket. “Consider the similarities between weaving blankets that stand the test of time and creating supportive environments that help our children to thrive.  The systems, services and families in our children’s lives are strands of thread” (Parents Reaching Out, 2008, p. 2).  For the first discussion, Community Involvement, reflect back to the writings of Epstein.  Respond to all of the questions being posed here.  Our communities are an important aspect of the growth of the students within them. What does it look like to have a community that is involved in the support and education of students through shared decision-making and service learning opportunities? For the second discussion post, Los Pen, look back at the research and data surrounding the success of the Los Pen school.  What conclusions can we draw from what we have learned?  Consider their motto:  We are committed to creating a school that knows no limits to the academic success of each student.  What does this mean in relation to the school’s transformation?  Using the empirical evidence as a starting point, focus on the quantitative data and qualitative narratives, what conclusions can you draw about the efficacy of the many aspects of differentiated parent support?  Please review the discussion board rubric prior to your initial post to ensure you are fully meeting each of the set criteria to earn full credit. Your initial post should include relevant professional, personal, or other real-world experiences in a manner that is rich in thought and provides valuable insight into the topic. Additionally, all elements of the discussion board prompt should be thoroughly addressed with strong and precise connections to previous and/or current course content, or to real-life situations. When substantively replying to your peers’ post, be sure to provide a thorough and constructive analysis relating the response to relevant course concepts that incorporates pertinent follow-up thoughts or questions about the topic, and demonstrates respect for the diverse opinions of fellow learners.

Week 6 Assignment Guidance

All of the previous assignments have brought us to the preparation for the final project for this course. Last week, you developed an outline of a plan for a service learning project that involved the school, the family, and the community.  For schools to be successful in supporting students academically and emotionally, a strategic plan must be developed. Like you addressed in the discussion post, the way schools care about children is reflected in the way school’s care about the children’s families. For this final project, Parental Involvement for the 21st Century, revisit the National Network of Partnerships Schools (Links to an external site.) from Week Two. This organization provides sample plans and templates to get you started.  Be sure that your plan is supported by research and resources for a successful outcome.  Thoroughly read the instructions for the final project to gain a better idea of what is expected. Please use the assignment rubric to assist with the development of your paper. Finally, make sure to use the grading rubric as a self-checklist before submitting the final copy of your assignment to confirm you have met or exceeded each required expectation. The highest level of achievement on the rubric is “distinguished,” which is only earned through exceeding posted expectations at the proficiency level. Please remember you are in a masters-level program. Therefore, your writing, research, and content are held to graduate-level expectations.

 

References and Resources

Hjalmarson, F. (2011). Differentiated parent support: Engaging parents in unique ways to increase their involvement in School. San Diego, CA: TurnAround Schools Publishing.

Jeltovski. (2011). mf692 (Links to an external site.) [photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/786542

Learning Leaders. (2011, March 11). Family engagement = student success (Links to an external site.) . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embeddedv=gwEPv2ob_QI

National Network of Partnership Schools. (2010). One-year action plan for partnership (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://sowashco.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=333&meta_id=10524

NEA. (n.d.). Why cultural competence? (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from: http://www.nea.org/home/39783.htm

Parents Reaching Out. (2008). Family involvement building community partnerships (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://www.directionservice.org/cadre/parent/artifacts/PRO-NM-3%20Family%20Involvment%20Building%20Partnerships2008.pdf

The Children’s Partnership. (2010, October 7). Empowering parents through technology (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://www.childrenspartnership.org/research-list/empowering-parents-through-technology/

Required Resources

1. Read from your text, Differentiated Parent Support: Engaging Parents in Unique Ways to Increase Their Involvement in School:

· Chapter Eleven – Home to School Connection

· Chapter Twelve – Full Circle

2. Abravanel, S.A. (2003). Building community through service-learning: The role of the community partner. Links to an external site.University of Nebraska Digital Commons.. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=slcepartnerships/

1. With the community partner in mind, from the school perspective, what can be done to encourage and support the emergence of the agency or organization as a partner? From the agency or organization perspective, what are the significant considerations involved in establishing successful service-learning partnerships?

Recommended Resources

1. Marshall, L. & Swan, P. (2010). Parents as Participating Partners. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 15(3), 25-32. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

1. This article highlights some key pedagogical strategies that assisted classroom teachers to improve indigenous students’ understanding of mathematics, particularly in the area of numbers.

· School/ Family/ Community Partnerships: Caring for the Children We Share. (2010). Phi Delta Kappan, 92(3), 81-96. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

1. Epstein discusses the need to develop partnerships between schools, families, and communities to support student success.