The parents' role in supporting their child's education, Oscar Cruz of Families in Schools tells TakePart, "is not debatable." While many parents are helping their child at home, Cruz says, "the basic components of parent engagement are missing in many schools."
Like Families in Schools, another initiative that is bringing parents, teachers, and students together is the National Network of Partnership Schools, established by Johns Hopkins University. The NNPS works with schools, districts, and states to build family programs meant to increase student success in the classroom. In the recently released report Promising Partnership Practices the NNPS highlights 92 ways schools, families, and community members are successfully joining forces to improve education.
Click through the gallery to see six of the most innovative and successful programs.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Sending your child to their first day of kindergarten can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for both the parents and the student. At Ann Reid Early Childhood Center in Naperville, IL, a program called Kindergarten Connect is offered to help integrate parents into their child's new school and smooth the transition from the pre-K environment. With Kindergarten Connect, parents are given the opportunity to meet one another, ask questions, and learn what is required of their children and what programs will be offered before the school year starts. According to the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS), one parent said the event was "a great opportunity to get information on my specific school's kindergarten procedures."
(Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images)
The A.S.P.I.R.E. Survey
If you want to volunteer at your kid's school, teachers and administrators will likely want to know if you have expertise in a particular area. This is where the A.S.P.I.R.E Survey comes in. Used by Bassick High School in Bridgeport, CT, the survey helps school administrators understand what talents parents and community members have. The survey is broken down into assets, skills, professions, interests, relationships, and environment. The A. S. P. I. R. E. literature suggests, according to NNPS, that schools "do not want to ask a parent with marketing or graphic design skills to bake brownies, when she could be creating dynamic publicity...for the school."
After the survey, people with different resources will then be connected to ways they can volunteer. The hope is that both parents and students will be fulfilled by the volunteer experience.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Survivor Week: No TV for 7 Days
At Scott Elementary in Naperville, IL, 350 students and their parents took part in a week without television initated by the school. Watching TV after the bell rings is the norm for many kids and one that is causing negative health effects.
So instead of sitting in front of the boob tube each night, educators offered kids ways to get involved in sports and other activities. The hope was to increase school spirit, parental involvement, and help students learn and engage with their classmates outside the classroom.
The students who survived the full week earned $5 gift certificates to the book fair.
(Photo: John Miller)
A Book Swap
The Bell City School in Bell City, LA, brought teachers, parents, students, and community members together through a Book Swap. This was a great and free way for K-12 students to get new books. Also, older students were on hand to help younger students pick out some children's classics to take home and read with their parents.
The School, Family, Community Partnership Teams at Jefferson, Kennedy, and Washington Junior High Schools in Illinois made helping parents understand the "whys, hows, and whats of the 8th grade standardized tests" a priority. They did this through an Explore Test Information Parent Night. According to the NNPS, the principal of Kennedy Junior High said, “The evening provides a good opportunity for parents to receive a big picture view of how students’ data can inform their decisions going from middle school to high school.”
(Photo: Mark Burnett)
Breakfast and a Book With Mom
At Machen Elementary School in Hampton, VA, a breakfast and a book event was a big success. Moms, grandmothers, aunts, and big sisters went to school to read stories with students. Some teachers and parents dressed up for the breakfast as Dr. Suess characters. By reading together, parents can better gauge their child's reading ability. At the school, teachers were on hand to ask questions and offer suggestions about reading with children at home.
Jenny is the Education Editor at TakePart. She has been writing for TakePart since 2009 and previously worked in film and television development. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles.Email Jenny | @jennyinglee | TakePart.com