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Family Engagement Guide Family Engagement Tips to Promote Student Achievement and Positive Outcomes 


Table of Contents Understanding Family Engagement Family Engagement Pillars Meet the Teacher Open House  Parent Coffee with Karen Parent-Teacher Conferences   Monthly Newsletters CMS Night  Literacy Night Math Night Trunk or Treat Fall Festival Thanksgiving Dinner Winter Program Parent Teacher Fellowship Family Prom Multi-Cultural Week


About This Guide

How to Use This Guide


Understanding Family Engagement What Is Family Engagement? The National Center of Parent, Family and Community Engagement(NCPFC) defines family engagement as the process building positive goal-oriented relationships with families. The process should be mutually respectful, responsive to the culture and language of families and children served and it should also take into consideration the beliefs, values, and priorities. of the families served. In order to be effective, NCPFC suggests that family engagement should involve parents/guardians and professionals who work collectively to set and achieve the learning goals of each child and they further suggest that family engagement contributes to better outcomes for the entire family. Who Benefits from Family Engagement? Family engagement when done right is beneficial for all involved. NCPFC summarizes how all involved in the process reap the benefits of family engagement. We've included those points below: Children In most instances, parents and providers want what is best for children, particularly in a learning environment. Children benefit most when engagement is consistent, ongoing, intentional, and meaningful. Healthy interaction and engagement promotes healthy development and positively impacts school readiness. Families While there is no official prize for parenting, effective family engagement can serve to recognize and reward those parents who partner with providers and teachers to ensure their children meet their learning goals and objectives. Effective engagement promotes trust, added safety and security, a healthy well-being and it also reinforces essential elements that children desire such as care and encouragement.  Providers Establishing trust is an integral part of the family engagement process. When families are afforded a variety of opportunities in which they can engage,  they are more trusting of the provider partnership and care providers. As a result, they exhibit greater confidence in their interactions with families which makes it easier for providers to engage in conversations that might be uncomfortable or challenging as it relates to their child or administrative matters and they further establish their reputation as a quality provider who meets the needs of the whole child. . 


Family Engagement Pillars Creating a successful community school partnership is a complex, challenging, and time-consuming task. To be effective, partnerships need to engage in a thoughtful process to define a vision and clear goals such as the following:   1. Partnerships need to have effective governance and management structures to ensure that programs operate efficiently and the partnership is responsive to community needs.     2. Community and Preschool partnerships also need to draw from a broad range of perspectives and expertise—from inside the school as well as from other organizations and individuals within the community.     3. Finally, community school partnerships need to connect, coordinate, and leverage resources from a variety of sources to support and continue their work. Community schools and preschools use partnerships to align school and community resources in order to produce successful students, strong families, and engaged communities. They combine quality education with enrichment opportunities, health and mental health services, family support and engagement, early childhood and adult education, and other supports. Research shows that lowincome families regularly experience economic and material hardship. Missed rent, utility shutoffs, inadequate access to health care, unstable child care arrangements, and food insecurity are common experiences that inevitably affect students’ readiness, attendance, performance, and completion rates at school. By sharing resources, expertise, and accountability, community schools and preschools partnerships can address challenges related to economic hardship, build strong foundations, invest in human capital for residual returns and create essential conditions for learning. 


Meet the Teacher Overview: Nana's Place introduces students to the new classroom teacher prior to the first day of school. Good relationships and communication with parents is an essential piece for creating a warm and inviting classroom environment. Keep in mind, this may be the first time many of these children may have experienced an early education environment. Children and parents need to be assured they are leaving their children in a comfortable, safe and nurturing environment. Effective communication is important for developing relationships and is key to helping parents feel connected. This event is specific to NC Pre-K Teachers only. 

Meet the teacher day is held in August. Parents and students may visit classrooms between 8:30 AM. and 1:30 PM

Teacher Pro Tips: • Greet each family individually, introducing yourself first if needed. • Call each child by name and offer a custom "welcome to the classroom" statement. • Check families in on welcome/ attendance sheet • Inform families of missing items/information and direct them to the office as needed.  • Have a calendar that highlights specific volunteer opportunities and encourages parents to sign-up. on the spot • Briefly discuss your classroom communication process and ensure that email addresses are     accurate.  Include information on the KidReport reporting system. • Provide families with a packet that includes: Teacher Bio, Special Events, Classroom   Procedures, and any specific information pertaining to your classroom. • Have families verify emergency contact information is accurate. • Review the transportation plan for the year (van or parent pick-up). Please direct ALL van riders to        stop by an administrative office before departure. • Have each family complete an All About Me document inclusive of their learning goals for     their child, concerns, and pertinent information.   **Suggestion:  Set sign up stations around your classroom with instructions posted Admin Pro Tips: Submit a checklist to teachers of  any missing documentation for each student  Set-up a  "fast forms" process for parents and make all necessary forms available for children who have prescribed medication or who may be missing required documentation to ensure their child is ready to start on the first day! Provide clipboards and volunteer applications for parents who desire to volunteer and prepare to answer any questions about the onboarding process.  Provide Transportation Forms for completion by all parents and collect transportation fees for parents wishing to pay.  Note that transportation fees for the upcoming school year will be invoiced to parents weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly or monthly.  They may indicate their preference with the account specialist on this date.


Open House Overview: Good first impressions make a difference, and the first open house of the school year gives teachers a chance to gain parents' support. It also allows teachers an opportunity to create a personal connection with parents and establish ways for continued communication throughout the school year. Included are ideas to help make your open house experience a success! 

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General Pro Tips and Guidance •Establishing a Connection. Ideally, you should be able to connect with parents and make them feel valued and appreciated in the same way you treat your student's as unique individuals. That can be difficult to do during Open House when you’re short on time, but make it a point to always say something specific and positive to each parent as you meet.  (“Oh, you’re Edward’s dad! I am so glad to meet you!  He is such an awesome kid; he always has some fact to share with the class! Just the other day, he said…” or “Brianna’s mom!  Great to see you again!  Brianna is the sweetest child; I can always count on her to help her friends and to be a peacemaker.  I’m so glad she’s in our class!”)  No matter how awful a child has been in class, it’s possible to find some good attribute to comment on so that the first feedback a parent hears is a compliment.   The type of statements above could easily be used for challenging students: Edward, for instance, could be a child who talks non-stop in class about totally random information, and Brianna may be a busybody who’s always telling the other kids what to do.  Look through to each child’s heart and intentions, and you’ll be able to come up with something good to say about all of your students.  Plan it out in advance for certain children if you need to. Teacher and Admin Pro Tips • Prepare information packets. The packet should include information about the basic subjects to be covered throughout the year, overall curriculum plans and goals, and a list of materials the child will need for class. Also supply a list of important phone numbers pertaining to the school, information on how to reach the teacher and providers of other services offered by the school, and a calendar of upcoming events such as class field trips and future parent-teacher meetings.  • Presentation. Create a presentation to the parents that is formal, such as a five- to 10-minute speech for each scheduled group of parents, or more informal, where you make sure to share certain information with each parent. Sharing individually makes the conversation more personal, but takes longer and means you must repeat yourself with each parent. Giving a quick group overview gives you more time to answer questions about the upcoming year. • Review Nana's Place /NC Pre-K  Handbooks/Rules.  Review rules and pertinent center policies to provide parents with a clearly written explanation of school policies. Translate the handbook into languages spoken by the school's parents.  • Parental Input.  Have parents draw a picture and leave it on their child's desk so the child will find it the next morning. Let parents share their drawings with one another to break the ice at open house. • Communication.  Call parents personally a few days before the open house and remind them about the event. Ask them whether there is something the school or you can provide (for example, transportation, a translator, or child care) to enable them to attend.


Parent Coffee with Karen

Overview: Parents are invited to join the Executive Director for coffee and pastries in a more intimate setting in this hour-long event held annually at the end of September. Information on upcoming events, testing, and volunteer opportunities will be provided but this will also be an ideal time for parents to ask any burning questions and seek clarity as needed. **Teachers and additional admin are not required to attend this event.  Teacher Pro Tips Remind parents about upcoming event and encourage them to RSVP and attend Inform admin of any transportation needs or issues that may prohibit parent attendance Admin Pro Tips Schedule a date on the center calendar Create and distribute invitations to parents  Promote online via website and via social media 


Parent Teacher Conferences Overview: Families, program administrators, and teachers all have a role in supporting progress in areas defined by goals and developmental indicators. Parent-teacher conferences offer a unique opportunity to bring family members and educators together to support children's developmental learning. Teacher Pro Tips Parent-teacher conferences are held three times per school year in all of our preschool classrooms. The first conference is offered after the children have been in their new classrooms for approximately one month to six weeks.   Prior to the conference, teachers will send home a parent survey called the ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire).  This survey will allow the parent to answer questions about skills that each child has completed or is attempting to complete.  The teacher will score this assessment, and it will show if there are any concerns in the different developmental areas (cognition, language, fine motor, gross motor, and social/emotional skills).   Teachers will review this survey during the first conference and also discuss the goals for the upcoming school year, both the families’ goals and the classrooms’ goals.   Prior to the mid-year conferences (January or February), teachers will complete a full assessment on each child in the classroom using the evaluations and portfolios of each child.   The conference will be a time that the teachers can share those assessment results with each family.   Assessments and portfolios will also be used for the end-of-year conference as well. Conference materials such as  portfolios and assessments should be prepared and available for administrator review 48 hours  in advance of child's individual conference Admin Pro Tips Complete initial admin training  on ASQ guidelines, portfolio requirements and progress reports Train teachers on ASQ guidelines, portfolio requirements and progress reports at the 1st staff meeting of the school year Conference Topics:

Strengths and Favorable Traits Areas of Interest During the School Day Areas for Growth Curriculum to be Covered in the Upcoming Months Behavior Issues The Family’s Priorities for Development School-wide Events and Opportunities for the Family to be Involved


Newsletters Overview: NPLC newsletters are sent home to inform parents on classroom activities going on by grade level. Article topics and special themes being taught, VIP visitors and guests, field trips, and more, are also included. Newsletters help teachers to communicate clarity on particular activities or experiences for students. They are used as a resource for parents and families regarding what their child is learning and what is needed to be successful. Teacher Pro Tips: ~Teachers should incorporate the following in the monthly newsletter/calendar: Ongoing opportunities for families to be engaged in their child's learning. Inclusive of tips, sites, information or resources that will provide a gateway for families and children to connect with ways to support academic/ developmental growth. A schedule of events outside of the regular school day to meet the needs of working families. Provide times for families to be involved in planning events for the class (e.g., field day, parties, make-n-take activities, field trips, reading partners, workshops).  External(or internal) resources to support families. (e.g., community agencies,  takehome activities, or enhanced learning opportunities). Learning highlights for the month such as goals, themes, and activities. Special information- such as birthdays, student highlights, important reminders Admin Pro Tips :  ~Admin should incorporate the following in the monthly newsletter/calendar Ongoing opportunities for families to be engaged in center-wide programming and events such as PTF meetings, Raising a Reader reminders and resources.  A schedule of upcoming events and center happenings Reminders for parent opportunities and sign-ups for classroom and center needs External(or internal) resources to support families. (e.g., community agencies, online resources, and take-home activities). Monthly features such as Teacher of the Month or Volunteer Spotlight. Q&A, Parent Tips Special information - links to social media, website other pertinent info,


CMS Night Overview: It’s never too early to start thinking about school and making sure our parents and students are making the best decisions now in order to be prepared for Kindergarten. Parents will have an opportunity to hear from CMS Administrators and Facilitators about how to begin the enrollment process and why it is so important to start thinking about school choice early on. Our goal is to provide a strong foundation and increase skills in early literacy, early numeracy, and self-regulation (social skills). By connecting families to CMS and focusing on these goals we can provide the best early learning foundation for our children. This annual event held in October has three main objectives: • To serve as a bridge that connects parents to valuable information and resources  • To build the capacity of parents to help their children and be school leaders • To make the process of school selection less intimidating and more accessible to families Teacher Pro Tips: Strongly encourage family participation and stress benefits of getting information early Notify admin of any families that have transportation hardships that might prohibit attendance. Distribute invitations Conduct follow up/reminder  calls to families Admin Pro Tips: Invite a CMS/school representative to share information about the school choice, lottery ,  open house dates and answer any pertinent questions about the Kindergarten process.  Provide teachers with a calendar of all family engagement events at the beginning of each school year. Create CMS Night invitations and distribute to teachers. Promote event online via the website and social media channels.


Family Reading Night Overview: Family Reading Night is fun, multi-generational activity for the entire family designed to model for students the joys of reading and learning.  This event is designed to increase the knowledge level of parents and family about things they can do at home to help nurture young readers. It will actively involve family members in the education of their children and help them feel valued as learning partners. Displays and activities will promote literacy in fun and creative ways. Teacher Pro Tips Teachers and guest readers can read with students in classrooms while families listen to a guest speaker from one of our partner programs--Raising A Reader or Read Charlotte. Issue a reading challenge. Set a goal for how many minutes families can spend reading at the event. Provide a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and magazines. Consider using listening stations to play audiobooks. Decorate halls and event space with students’ literacy projects Offer information on literacy development- phonemic awareness and other literacy skills; the important role of males as reading role models; how to motivate reluctant readers; guided reading; the importance of family reading; summer learning loss; or other topics that will help children become proficient readers. Have door prizes. Invite participants to write their name, phone number, and the title of a good book they’ve read. Prizes could include book bags, gift certificates, etc.  Provide refreshments that tie into the theme of your Family Reading Night. (Ex.-pigs in a blanket for Snuggle Up and Read). Prep for Family Reading Night should begin 1 to 2 weeks in advance as needed.  Classroom set upTips: must be set up 48 hours in advance. Administration Pro Provide a budget to classroom teachers for the event(refreshments and materials). Send invitations to school board members, superintendents, local legislators, city council members, business leaders, public library staff and others who have an interest in student achievement and reading.  Include community sponsor tables: local library card applications, Reading Labs, GED programs, etc. Information table about reading initiatives that we implement Host in conjunction with a book fair. Send a news release to the media. Ask the mayor, meteorologist, local high school or college athletes, or local celebrities to read as an opener or closer.  Take photos of the event to display in school, publish in newsletter and online, display in your building, and distribute to people of interest or as thank you cards.  Write a brief follow-up story for the school newsletter thanking people who supported the event.


Math Night Overview: Math Night is a fun event for kids in elementary school and their parents. It lets kids show off their math skills and introduces them to mathematical topics beyond their everyday schoolwork. Meanwhile, parents see what their kids are learning in math and maybe learn something new about mathematics themselves. Math Night gives busy parents and teachers one more chance to connect with each other, and with resources in their community. Teacher  Pro Tips: Prepare stations for kids and parents to walk around and participate in activities and displays featuring different mathematical topics.  Math displays should have problems for the kids to solve (and their parents can try solving them too). Have crafts that the kids can make and take home with them.  Create games for kids can become contestants in math games, like Math Jeopardy, which lets them work in teams to solve math problems. Display a resource table with books containing math-based themes and math toys at a resource display. Be prepared to share with families how developmental math goals are met using the curricula.  All activities will need to be prepped and bagged 48 hrs in advance for easy set-up up. Admin Pro Tips: Select a date and time. Evening is ideal so that parents can attend Make certain your date doesn’t overlap with other big school or community events. Promote well in advance using newsletters, bulletin boards, calendars, Kids Report, flyers, and online 


Trunk or Treat

Objective: Include a wide circle of family members and other people important to the student, enhance their relationships with others, recognize and identify a variety of community roles, demonstrate social skills, enhance friendships, connect families of diverse backgrounds. Teacher Pro Tips: • Invite families to decorate their car trunks and provide items to share with children • Invite all families to attend and participate. • Create a theme-oriented trunk to display and include items to distribute children. • Encourage children to dress up ( book character or costume). • Encourage family participation (emphasize costumes, items or cars are not required). Admin Pro Tips: • Promote on social media and via the web. • Create and distribute invitations to teachers. • Secure vendors (DJ, popcorn machine, etc..) • Follow up with teachers prior to event.


Fall Festival Objective: Seek and give support to children friendship activities, explore, identify with a group, share in children's pleasure, create a positive fun environment, connect with families and children in a fun environment. Teacher Pro Tips: • Create an activity station to include at the festival. • Organize a class pumpkin decorating contest. • Invite families to volunteer • Remind families about the upcoming event. • Prepare a fun afternoon snack.  • Provide admin with an outline for the activity station 3 weeks prior. Admin Pro Tips: • Communicate with PTF President regarding expectations. • Coordinate vendors ( moon bounce, magician, DJ, animals, etc..) • Organize stations inclusive of signage. • Review teacher activity outlines and provide feedback as needed. • Purchase supplies needed 2-3 weeks in advance.


Thanksgiving Dinner

Overview: Nana's Place will host an annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the families of all children to encourage family engagement and promote inclusivity. Date TBD Teacher Pro Tips: • Invite parents via email and hardcopy invitations • Table settings inclusive of student-created art • Family table set ( napkins, menu, placemats, silverware, tablecloth, serving pitchers) • Children should be prepared to share what they are thankful for.... Admin Pro Tips: • Plan Menu • Purchase table set items • Post invitations • Ensure all items are completed


Winter Program

Objective:Â To promote family engagement, provide a variety of experiences, expand the dramatic play experience by enacting roles, experiment with language, describe and retell narratives, and implement creative expression. Teacher Pro Tips: Prepare children to perform and enact a dramatic performance inclusive of music, enacting roles and public speaking opportunities. Assign student roles. Communicate with parents 30 days prior to the event (parts, costume requirements, invitations etc..). Include practice time in your schedule to prepare students. Collaborate with other teachers to create fluidity amongst all classes. Submit your performance outline to Admin 35-45 days prior to event. Admin Pro Tips: Secure event location 60 days prior to the event Ensure teacher roles are completed Review plans and approve or provide feedback as needed. Offer support and guidance. Order or supply props, decorations, etc. Prepare and distribute invitations. Promote event online and via social media channels


Parent Teacher Fellowship

Reference Addendum: Bylaws


Family Prom Objective: Seek and give support to children friendship activities, explore, identify with a group, share in children's pleasure, create a positive fun environment, connect with families and children in a fun environment with diverse backgrounds. Teacher Pro Tips: • Lead and organize a committee (decorations, clean-up, set-up foods, tickets, vendors) • Distribute invitations • Maintain an RSVP list to share with Admin • Coordinate with other committee leaders • Schedule committee meetings • Encourage your families to join a committee • Attend the event Admin Pro Tips: • Master list of committee leads and members • Coordinate with all committee leads • Create a checklist of responsibilities of each committee • Distribute checklist 90 days prior to the event • Secure location • Determine Date • Fiscal Responsibility • Coordinate with PTF President


Multi-Cultural Week Objective: Show acceptance of people who are different from themselves as well as people who are similar. Show acceptance of different cultures through exploration of varying customs and traditions past and present ( dress, language, food, music and art, etc..) • Provide books in the classroom library that feature children of many different races, religions, or cultures. These are easily found in Scholastic book orders. • Choose to display pictures or artwork on the wall that feature a variety of multicultural children. • Discuss differences and similarities in cultures with your students openly, but stress the similarities. • Provide students with multicultural paint, paper, and crayons as often as possible and allow students to choose the color of paint, paper, or crayons they want to use. • Find an international pen pal for your class or communicate with a class in a different country via Skype. • Read diverse books to your class . • If you discuss one holiday in class, make sure to discuss them all. For example, instead of focusing only on Christmas, make sure to cover and give equal time to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa too. Make sure to discuss the Lunar New Year, Ramadan, and Diwalii too. • Plan activities for other classes to do when they visit your classroom • Prepare native dishes for the 'Round the world party • Teachers decide which countries you want your class to visit. Examples: South America, Russia, China, Mexico, Ireland, Africa, Egypt and United Kingdom. • Research facts through books, the internet and guest speakers. Share important facts and create "stamps" from each country (Ex: Egypt = Pyramid) and have the children  glue them to their class created passport • Create Activities during the week that represent your class' country • At the end of the week plan a 'Round the world party where each child dressed like the people from one of the countries discussed and visit other classrooms. During the visits children should sample  native foods and play native games.


Resources


Forms

DRAFT Family Engagement Guide  

If you don't want to print full color copies for all to review in an effort to keep costs down, you can print black and white or have them r...

DRAFT Family Engagement Guide  

If you don't want to print full color copies for all to review in an effort to keep costs down, you can print black and white or have them r...

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