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Summary of Questions from Webinar 9:
Bringing it All Together: Family and Community Engagement Policies in Action

Responses from Speakers and National PIRC Coordination Center

Questions and Answers
Responses written by Kiersten Beigel, Family and Community Partnerships Specialist, Office of Head Start

1. Is the Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework equally applicable to elementary, middle, and secondary school settings? Is there research or evidence that supports these strategies as a framework for cradle to career initiatives?

Yes, in fact the Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework draws on research from several key studies, including longitudinal research conducted by researchers in Chicago Public Schools through the Consortium on Chicago School Research. Here is a short bibliography of resources that informed the development of the PFCE Framework. The following is a short bibliography of relevant research:

  • Aikens, N., Tarullo,L., Hulsey, L., Ross, C., West, J. & Xue Y. (2010). A year in Head Start: Children, families and programs. ACF–OPRE Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.
  • Bryk, A.S., Sebring, P.S., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., & Easton, J.Q. (2009). Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Duggan, A., Bair-Merritt, M., Burrell, L., Clixton-Keleer, F. Crowne, S. Decelle, K., McFarlane, E. & Tandon, S. (2011). Lessons from research that should guide policy and practice. National Summit on Quality in Home Visit Programs. http://homevisitingsummit2011.org/uploads/Anne_Duggan.pdf
  • Glisson, C. & Hemmelgarn, A. (1998). The effects of organizational climate and interorganizational coordination on the quality and outcomes of children’s service systems. Child Abuse & Neglect 22 (5), 401-421.
  • Glisson, C. & Schoenwald, S. (2005). The ARC organizational and community intervention strategy for implementing evidence-based children’s mental health treatments. Mental Health Services Research, 7 (4), 243-259.
  • Glisson, C., Schoenwald, S., Hemmelgarn, A., Green, P. Dukes, D., Armstrong, K.S., & Chapman, J. (2010). Randomized trial of MST and ARC in a two-level evidence-based treatment implementation strategy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 78 (4) 537-550.

2. Of the Head Start centers, how many are Early Head Start? What have your evaluation efforts and feedback efforts told you about their efficacy?

In 2011 there are 1,789 Head Start programs, and there are approximately 20,000 Head Start (HS) centers. In 2011 there are 1,038 Early Head Start (EHS) programs, and around half of those programs are center-based and half home-based with some other models including family childcare as well. The Recovery Act of 2009 made services available for an additional 64,000 children. For research and evaluation on the EHS and HS programs, please go to the Administration on Children and Families Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation webpage: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/

3. How do you support the transition of Head Start families to elementary school?

The Head Start performance standards and the Head Start Act outline the ways that Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start (HS) staff support families transitioning to Kindergarten. You can see some of the ways HS/EHS programs engage in transition activities at the following Web sites:

4. Do parents need to be able to achieve levels of success in all areas of the Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework to achieve better outcomes for children around school readiness or would progress in a few areas also provide better outcomes for children?

While all of the Parent and Family Engagement Outcomes are relevant for each program, not all of the Parent and Family Engagement Outcomes are relevant for each family. This means that while there are examples of progress for families included in the PFCE Framework, each family’s HS/EHS experience is uniquely determined by their own interests, needs and goals. The assumption is that program strategies are locally and individually tailored. For example, program strategies would be individualized based on culture and language and different parent strengths, challenges, and perspectives — including those of fathers, mothers, grandparents, kith and kinship caregivers, LGBT parents, expectant parents, teen parents, guardians and others.

Head Start/Early Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework

Questions and Answers
Responses written by Betsy Prueter, VISTA and AmeriCorps Coordinator, Community Learning and Partnerships, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Ruth Anne Landsverk, Family-School-Community Partnerships Coordinator, Community Learning and Partnerships, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

1. Are we able to see copies of your Parent Advisory Council New Teacher Packets and literature you discussed in the presentation?

Yes, the new teacher packet is available here: http://fscp.dpi.wi.gov/files/fscp/pdf/fcswelpk.pdf and other publications put out by our team at the Department are available here: http://fscp.dpi.wi.gov/

2. Can you provide more information about "What parents want teachers to know" and how effective is it for the teachers?

Read more about the Parent Advisory Council (and download the presentation) here: http://fscp.dpi.wi.gov/.

We have found that it is helpful for teachers because not only was it created by real parents in real Wisconsin districts but it is simple, straightforward and something schools can easily address. We know teachers want to reach out and communicate with parents, but sometimes just don’t know how to do it or what parents need to know.

3. What main strategies do you use to keep parents active in the Parent Advisory Council?

The group meets on a quarterly basis (sometimes in person, sometimes virtually through a webinar) but in between we connect with the members via email. They are frequently asked for advice on Department of Public Instruction (DPI) initiatives between meetings and when those occasions arise we send out surveys or feedback forms for them. We also invite them to attend DPI conferences (and waive their registration fees) to keep them connected to the work.

4. Do you fund the parents to attend the State Superintendent Parent Council meetings?

Unfortunately, no. At this time we do not have funding. However, we are able to cover the cost of mileage to attend as well as provide morning refreshments and lunch.

5. What does a school do after the 3 years with VISTA to support the action team?

The goal of the VISTA program is to help schools set up the Action Team, which if done well, will be sustainable after the 3 years. The process developed by the National Network of Partnership Schools (read more here: http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/nnps_model/school/atp.htm) provides good strategies for sustainability. We have found the keys are a supportive principal and a system for continually recruiting and training new members. Additionally, before the end of the third year, the team develops a 1–3 year plan. This plan helps move them forward, even without the help of a VISTA.

6. How are the VISTA volunteers supported? Are there school staff members working with them?

Yes, each site must identify a supervisor to work closely with the VISTA member. This can be the principal or assistant principal but often is a school social worker, literacy coach, parent coordinator, Afterschool coordinator or some other staff member who works directly with and has a connection to families. The supervisor must also go through training to be part of the program and participate in meetings throughout the year.

Questions and Answers
Responses written by Karren Dunkley, Deputy Chief, Office of Parent, Family, Community Engagement, and Faith-Based Partnerships, The School District of Philadelphia

1. Describe the Welcome Wagon in more detail please.

The Welcome Wagon is an initiative to educate Limited English Proficient (LEP) parents about the services, opportunities, and resources available to students and families at the School District of Philadelphia. Through workshops — offered directly in the neighborhoods and facilitated in the District’s eight major languages (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer, Russian, French, Albanian, and Arabic), as well as in Nepali, Chin, Karen, and Burmese – parents learn, discuss, and increase awareness of issues such as: literacy, ESOL development, college application processes and financial aid resources, employment safety, access to health care and benefits, asthma management, HIV prevention, special education eligibility criteria and categories, transition to life in the United States, acculturation and parent/child conflicts, child rearing practices and discipline, recognizing and seeking treatment for depression, domestic violence awareness, and child abuse prevention. These workshops and trainings are provided by native speakers or via an interpreter during the day, evening and weekends, in conjunction with immigrant, refugee, migrant, and faith-based organizations in schools, community centers and even private homes.

2. What/where did you get your curriculum for your parent workshops/classes and certification courses for your Parent University? Can you share you Parent University curriculum?

All Parent University courses draw direct connections between parents and student achievement. In preparation for Parent University, we encouraged all school district partners, certified professionals, and community organizations to submit their proposals. We received numerous proposals from our partners in city government departments, higher education, human services, and community and faith institutions. Proposals pass muster if they fit these criteria:

  • Does the program teach parents skills that can help their children succeed with school work, homework, graduation, and overall student achievement and success?
  • Does the program teach parents skills that can close the knowledge gap between parents and children (i.e. The Digital Divide)?
  • Does the program foster advancement in education (i.e. STEM) and teach parents skills to help children develop strong character?
  • Does the program help build effective partnerships between the school district and parents in areas such as, special education, truancy, graduation, and college enrollment?

Download the Parent University Course Catalog. http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/p/publicengagement/documents/parent-university-catalogue-2011-2012-.pdf

3. How does your PTA/PTO work with the school advisory councils?

Home and School Associations (HSAs) are encouraged to work in cooperation with School Advisory Councils (SACs) and many HSAs members are also SAC members. HSAs tend to maintain autonomy from SACs but their work supports the initiatives that council members vote on. For example, parents from a HSA can volunteer as hall monitors for safe school corridors that the SAC has voted to implement. Two characteristics make SACs distinct from HSAs. First, SACs allow non-parent school stakeholders to be elected as members. However, parents must make up the majority of any council. Second, SACs have direct input over the operation of the school by influencing the budget, the action plan, discussing school improvement with principals, and making decisions. The nature of the SACs makes it a school-centered council rather than solely a parent-oriented association. SACs promote collaboration between all school stakeholders and coalesce around distinct goals.

4. Is an afterschool program connected to the school part of the partnership structure too?

No-an afterschool program is not connected to the school part of the partnership structure. Some Parent University classes provide extended learning opportunities for both students and parents.

5. How are the teachers responding to parent participation and advocacy for their children?

In some instances, teachers are very receptive and open to connecting with families. In other instances, there is a lot of resentment and misunderstanding, coupled with the bigotry of low expectations of urban families. Our focus now is on professional development to equip teachers with the knowledge, skills and resources to effectively and successfully respond to parents.

6. Can you share your School Performance Index?

You can download the School Performance Index presentation here: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/a/accountability/documents/finalspipublicpresentation2.pdf

Questions on this page
Responses by
Kiersten Beigel, Family and Community Partnerships Specialist, Office of Head Start

Responses by
Betsy Prueter, VISTA and AmeriCorps Coordinator, Community Learning and Partnerships, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Ruth Anne Landsverk, Family-School-Community Partnerships Coordinator, Community Learning and Partnerships, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

  Click to view a list of the 6 questions.

Responses by
Karren Dunkley, Deputy Chief, Office of Parent, Family, Community Engagement, and Faith-Based Partnerships, The School District of Philadelphia

  Click to view a list of the 6 questions.
This webinar series is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education's Parental Information and Resource Center program. The content of this webinar series does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.