Key Role – Family Engagement Chairman
- Plans and organizes family engagement outreach, programs and activities for the school year
- Publicizes family engagement activities and events using newsletters, website, social media and backpack express
- Works with committee and other chairmen
Preparation – Meet with last year’s family engagement chairman to learn more about what worked best and the scope of the position.
Read fliers, program booklets, surveys, evaluations, PTA training materials, PTA council and district information, and community resources.
Schedule Meetings – Discuss roles and goals of family engagement committee with executive board-elect. Align goals with those of the PTA and school.
Meet early with family engagement committee, appointed by president-elect. Include both new and experienced volunteers who reflect the diversity of the school community on the committee.
Ways to Empower Parents
- Encourage parents to participate in school activities such as back-to-school nights
- Help parents strengthen parenting skills and involvement in their children’s lives
- Train parents as advocates for their children at school and during parent-teacher conferences
- Start a Family Resource Center at school filled with information on parenting, community resources and school information on policy, procedures, testing and curriculum
- Create a welcome packet for new families, with information on the school and community resources
- Ensure translation in home languages is available for parents, whenever needed; for example, in the school office, at back-to-school nights, parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings
- Provide forums to share family histories and culture to enrich the school community
5 Tips for Outreach
- Promote regular, two-way, parent-school communication
- Encourage parent and staff training on the value and importance of family engagement to support student success
- Collaborate with other PTAs and community partners to share information, materials and speakers and to co-sponsor family engagement events
- Put parenting tips in school/ PTA newsletters and email blasts or on the website and social media
- Hold meetings at different times/days in the community to ensure that parents feel welcome and to respect parents’ work schedules
Develop Year-Long Action Plan
- Survey parents, staff and students to identify the needs and priorities of the school community
- Create a family engagement team with parents, teachers, students, administrators and community partners to work together to support student success
- Design a family engagement Action Plan to reach and engage all families in the school community
- Present the programs budget for the Action Plan to the PTA board and association for approval
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the Action Plan, using a year-end survey or an evaluation sheet filled out at each event/activity
- Organize family engagement events and parent information nights as part of the family engagement Action Plan on topics such as:
- Child development, parenting skills, school policies, homework help, curriculum, reading, writing, math, STEAM, standardized testing, health and wellness, multiculturalism and diversity, school safety, bullying and gangs, substance abuse, the arts, family life/sex education or social media and cyber safety
- Contact local preschools, nearby schools and neighbors to invite them to participate
Six National Standards for Family-School Partnerships
National PTA has adopted 6 standards for effective family engagement programs. The standards focus on what parents, schools, and communities can do together to support student success. Family engagement programs will be most effective if they include all of the standards:
Standard 1 – Welcoming All Families into the School Community
Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.
Standard 2 – Communicating Effectively
Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication and learning.
Standard 3 – Supporting Student Success
Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support student learning and healthy development, both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.
Standard 4 – Speaking Up for Every Child
Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.
Standard 5 – Sharing Power
Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices and programs.
Standard 6 – Collaborating With the Community
Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services and civic participation.