Parent Engagement
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Parent Academy Resources from Miami Dade County

After our superintendent call and webinar last week on SIG implementation, some of you asked for more information on The Parent Academy (TPA), a parent and family engagement strategy used by Miami Dade County as part of their turnaround efforts. Nikolai Vitti was kind enough to share with me some additional information on this initiative, and I wanted to pass along these resources to you. In the documents attached here, you'll find more information on how Miami Dade runs their Parent Academy, as well as some supporting research from the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group. If you have questions, I encourage you to contact the district directly to find out more!

An Innovative Model for Parent-Teacher Partnerships

Maria Paredes, the Director of Community Education at Creighton School District in Arizona, has developed a new model for parent engagement that is attracting national attention and resulting in positive outcomes in her district.

The model, called the Academic Parent Teacher Team (APTT), replaces the traditional parent-teacher conference with three group meetings throughout the year, where teachers meet at once with all parents in their classroom. Each parent is provided with a folder of their child’s performance indicators. Teachers then provide an in-depth coaching session on how to interpret this data based on overall classroom performance, school benchmarks, and state standards. Parents are provided with strategies and tools to help support learning at home. And together, parents and teachers set goals for their students, individually and as a class.

Paredes began the model as a pilot with 12 participating teachers. Today, 79 classrooms in all nine schools in the Creighton district use the model. Parent attendance for APTT meetings averages 92 percent.

The Department interviewed Paredes to find out more about how APTT can be used as part of a school turnaround strategy.

Families and Parents: Part 2

I wanted to follow up on Ken Bedell’s post last week about the importance of families and parents in education. I feel particularly passionate about this, because my family has been tremendously influential in my success, both in school and as I moved into education as my career. I’ve also heard from lots of you out in the field about how strongly you feel about the importance of parental involvement, and I want to assure you that the Department agrees!

In fact, both President Obama and Secretary Duncan have expressed their support for a culture of responsibility where parents take an active role in their children’s education.  Secretary Duncan has stated that everyone must take responsibility for the education of America’s children, and that parents have the most important role described, as well as his desire for all parents to be real partners in education with their children's teachers, from cradle to career. In this partnership, students and parents should feel connected, teachers should feel supported, and parents should feel welcome in schools.

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Guest Post: ETS Event Highlights the Importance of Families, Fatherhood

By Ken Bedell
Senior Advisor, Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Center at the U.S. Department of Education

When ETS is mentioned I think of educational testing. I remember the anxiety of taking the SAT and GRE exams, but last week I saw a different side of ETS. They sponsored a day-long conference on The Family: America’s Smallest School. Speakers and panels discussed recent research on what is happening with American families, successful programs that are effective in supporting families, and family policy strategies.
The keynote address was delivered by Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the Department of Education. She set the tone for the discussion by describing the role that her family played in supporting her own education. Particularly moving was the story of her grandmother, who was a teacher in Mexico. After retiring from teaching she refused to join her daughter and granddaughter in the United States because she was so much a part of the community where she had taught for years. As Dr. Meléndez’ story illustrated, families teach children to value education.

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