Educated, Engaged, and Effective Families as Change Agents in School Improvement

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Educated, Engaged, and Effective Families as Change Agents in School Improvement. Diana Autin , Executive Co-Director Carolyn Hayer , Director of Parent & Professional Development Region 1 Parent TA Center @ The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network. Our Hypotheses. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Educated, Engaged, and Effective Families as Change Agents in School Improvement

Educated, Engaged, and Effective Families as Change Agents in School ImprovementDiana Autin, Executive Co-DirectorCarolyn Hayer, Director of Parent & Professional DevelopmentRegion 1 Parent TA Center @ The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network

Families have the greatest interest in ensuring that their children's schools meet their needs, and the most to gain in improving low-performing schoolsParents can be powerful partners with state, district, and school administrators and educators:Assessing needsPlanning improvement activitiesAdvocating for the resources needed to implement those activities, andEvaluating resultsOur HypothesesProvide concrete examples of how families can be effective change agents in turning around low-performing schoolsShare strategies for schools, districts, state agencies, and parent centers to encourage and support effective parent leadershipEngage in hands-on activities that model effective parent leadership development and partnershipGoals for todayHow can parents be engaged as equal partners and leaders in data-driven decision-making?What works in moving parents from naysayers to yay sayers?How can schools integrate parent leadership into improvement planning and implementation?

Questions for TodayMost consistent predictors of childrens academic achievement & social adjustment are parent expectations

Family participation in education was twice as predictive of student academic success as socio-economic status (10x greater in some programs)

The more intensively families are involved (advocacy, decision-making, oversight, volunteers, support at home), the more beneficial the achievement effects

Impact of FamiliesWhen parents are involved, students have:Higher grades, test scores, and graduation ratesBetter attendanceIncreased motivationLower suspensionDecreased use of drugs, alcohol, violenceWhen middle & HS parents stay involved, students:Make better transitionsMaintain quality of workDevelop realistic plans for their futureHave higher graduation ratesSeek postsecondary education

Impact of FamiliesMany parents who were actively involved in the education of their children at the elementary school level become less involved when their children reach middle school.

When children are young, parents read to them, play with them, and acknowledge every piece of work they bring home. Many parents can remember hanging their colored pictures on the refrigerator. Parents likely went to school to see them perform or observed their work on their classroom. Parents knew who their friends were. Parents talked to them about how their school day went. Many parents knew who their favorite teachers were and why.

Parents may mistakenly believe that their children need less support at the middle school level, or be uncertain about how they can be involved in this new, and often larger, school.

In their middle school and high school years, teens want and need more privacy and independence. The challenge for parents is to find a balance between encouraging independence and providing and enforcing the guidelines teens still need in order to stay focused on school and their future.

6Families can be:

The greatest supporters, or the greatest opponents, of school improvement

The agents of sustainability of school improvement strategiesWhy else?A clear and shared focusHigh standards and expectations for all studentsEffective school leadershipHigh levels of collaboration and communicationCurriculum, instruction and assessments aligned with high standardsFrequent monitoring of teaching and learningFocused professional developmentA supportive learning environmentHigh levels of parent and community involvementCharacteristics of High Performing Schools8Theoretical ModelOVERLAPPING SPHERES OF INFLUENCE OF FAMILY, SCHOOL, AND COMMUNITY ON CHILDRENS LEARNING

Force BExperience,Philosophy,Practices of Family

Force CExperience,Philosophy,Practices of School

Force DExperience,Philosophy,Practices of Community

Force ATime/Age/Grade Level

9National PTA Standards for Parent Involvement/Epsteins Framework

(c) Statewide Parent Advocacy Network 2013Promote & support parenting skills (Parenting)Provide regular, two-way, and meaningful communication between school & home (Communicating)Welcome parents in the school and seek their support & assistance (Volunteering)Help parents play a key role in their childs learning (Learning at home)Enlist parents as full partners in decision-making about school improvement (Decision-making)Use community resources to support schools, students, & families (Collaborating with Community)

10Parents beliefs about what is important, necessary & permissible for them to do with & on behalf of their childrenExtent to which parents believe they can have a positive influence on their childrens educationParents perception that the school and their children want them to be involvedStrongest & most predictive predictors are the specific school programs and teacher practices that encourage parent involvement at all levels and guide parents in helping their children at home

Major Factors Impacting Parent InvolvementPower concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.Frederick Douglas

Improving schools requires a demand for change & accountability; informed, engaged parents can provide the most powerful support for that change & accountability

Major Factors of Systems ChangeShared visionPurposeful connection to learningInvestments in high quality programming & staff/strategic use of limited resourcesRobust communication systemsEvaluation for accountability & continuous learningMaking it happenFostering district-wide strategiesInfrastructure for district-wide leadership for family engagementEnsure reporting, learning, & accountability for family engagementBuilding school capacityBuild capacity for family engagement through training & technical assistanceReaching out to & engaging familiesAt the district levelBarriers to Shared Leadership:Systems Change levelIdentify three barriers to shared leadership at the systems change level

Family participation in identification of needsFamily participation in identification and development of servicesFamily participation in evaluation of program services and activities

Spheres of Conflict

Data Conflicts

Interest Conflicts

Structural Conflicts

Value Conflicts

Relationship Conflicts

The Planned Change Process

17Table 1Theorized Pattern of Relational and Conventional Bureaucratic Organizations

Components of Organizational SystemKey Dimensions ofRelationalBureaucracyKey Dimensions ofConventionalBureaucracy1. PeopleStaff members reflect the cultures/languages of families served.Staff members may not reflect the cultures/languages of families served.2. Structures: powerDemocratic and participatory structures.Hierarchical staff structures.3. Structures: relationshipsSystems exist to support use of relational competencies for caring, flexible, and responsive approach to individual needs.Rigid rules, boundaries, and policies exist to guide uniform approach.4. Processes: powerOpportunities to share knowledge, expertise, and power.Hierarchy of expertise, knowledge, and power.5. Processes: relationshipsStaff relationships are caring, reciprocal, and respectful. Relational competencies are recognized, valued, and developed.Staff relationships are formal, hierarchical, and impersonal. Adherence to rules and protocol is recognized and valued.Glisson 2007

5 groups, one for each of the 5 components of the organizational system

How/why does conventional bureaucracy limit the ability of families and family organizations to be equal partners in school improvement?How/why does relational bureaucracy support the ability of families and family organizations to be equal partners in school improvement?18Involving Parent Stakeholders in all Phases

Establish a core group of family leaders that has been oriented and trained to be on teamsInclude parents with both successful & less successful experiences with schools

Reinforce the commitment of valuing their continued involvement through all phases of school/district improvement activitiesWhy do parents get involved?The issue is important to them, their family, & their community

They have something to contribute

They believe that they will be listened to, their contributions respected, and their participation will make a difference

Multiple opportunities for participation

The level of participation can vary depending on life circumstances.

Families receive sufficient advance notice

Family participation is facilitatedHow do parent leaders stay involved?Families are listened to; their ideas are supported & respected

Families do not experience retribution as a result of their participation

Family participation has an impact

Family participation is consciously & visibly appreciatedHow do parent leaders stay involved?Tangible (stipends, provision of or reimbursement for childcare and transportation and reimbursement for lost wages).

Emotional (respect, understanding, validation, and ongoing support to fulfill their roles, including times of transition and crisis).

Environmental (training, equality with service providers, and full inclusion in activities)Primary Supports neededProvide specialized expertise that may be missing from staff

Serve as ambassadors, building bridges into the community

Survey the need to enhance existing activities

Bring in resources

Help conduct evaluation and oversight activities, maintain accountabilityFamily leadership groupsPartnering with parent organizations

Discuss 2 productive & 2 challenging experiences you have had to date working with family organizationsReflect on one time when you had a successful partnership with a family organization to accomplish your goalsWhat did you bring to the partnership?What did the family organization bring?How did you know it was working?

Parent organizations as catalysts for change

Parent organizations help education systems:Recognize & understand the barriers to participation by familiesMake changes to address barriersEngage families in all processesTo make it happen, there must be:Mutual respect for skills & knowledgeMutually agreed upon goalsTrust & honestyClear & open communicationShared planning & decision-making

Levels of Focus for Parent Organization Partnerships

Level 1: Strengthening individual parent knowledge & skillsLevel 2: Promoting community educationLevel 3: Educating ProvidersLevel 4: Fostering coalitions & networksLevel 5: Changing organizational practicesLevel 6: Influencing policy & legislationToken vs. Meaningful Parent Leadership

No preparation or information given prior to participationNo meaningful role in meeting or forumOften one time only participationProfessionals talk around parents using acronyms and terminology unfamiliar to themAdequate notice of the meeting and material supports are provided to assist with parent attendanceMaterials and/or an orientation is provided prior to the meetingParent input is valued and individuals work with parents to clarify terminology, systems and policiesFollow-up is providedUse as leaders in development and conducting of focus groups, interviews, and surveys to elicit feedback from the larger network of parents A joint invitation from the agency and a local parent organization is more likely to be inviting to other parents than one solely generated by the agency.

Personal invitations may make the difference in a parents participationAssessing of needs/strengthsHow can individual parent leaders be meaningfully involved in planning & implementing improvement activities?

How can parent organizations at the school or district level be meaningfully involved?

How can parent organizations at the state level be meaningfully involved?Planning improvement activitiesHow can individual parent leaders be meaningfully involved in planning & implementing evaluation activities?

How can parent organizations at the school or district level be meaningfully involved?

How can parent organizations at the state level be meaningfully involved?Engaging in evaluationEssential ElementsValues/Beliefs/RelationshipsStrategies/ActionsMutual respect for skills & knowledgeCommitment to shared leadershipTrust & honestyCultural reciprocityMutually agreed goalsShared resourcesMutual sharing of information/clear & open communicationShared planning & decision-makingShared evaluation of progressOther elements?

To what extent do you currently involve parent organizations in your work that brings you to the OSEP Project Directors conference?Consider (on a scale of 1-5):Identification of the need for the projectPlanning the projects parametersImplementing the projectSharing in project resourcesEvaluating the projectIdentify 1 area & 2 strategies where you could enhance the involvement of parent organizationsWhat support do you need to make it happen?How is my practice?Regional Parent Technical Assistance CentersRegion 1: Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (NJ)Region 2: Exceptional Childrens Assistance Center (NC)Region 3: Partners Resource Network (TX)Region 4: Family Assistance Center for Education, Training & Support (WI)Region 5: PEAK Parent Center (CO)Region 6: Matrix Parent Network & Resource Center (CA)Parent Training & Information Centers & Community Parent Resource CentersLink to parent center network website Resources

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