PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships is a simple, six-step program that you can follow to stay on track with your involvement. According to the implementation guide, there are a variety of ways you can make each standard a reality at your child's school. 1. Make all families feel welcome.
2. Communicate effectively.
- Greet other parents at school activities and events; sit with someone you don't know and get to know them.
- Recruit bilingual parents to greet and interpret for families whose first language isn't English. Ask the school district to provide translation headsets for parent meetings.
- Offer family activities at low or no cost so everyone can participate; budget PTA/parent group funds for this purpose.
- Hold meetings in a variety of community locations (such as the local library, a community center, a church) to make them accessible to all.
3. Support student success.
- Design and print "Happy Grams" as an easy way for teachers to regularly report positive behavior and/or achievements to parents.
- Consider using color-coded lines on hallway walls, or footprints on floors, to help direct parents to important places like the school office, parent resource center and library.
- Include a two-way communication mechanism, such as a question-and-answer section or mini survey, in each edition of your newsletter.
- Distribute calendars so parents can record upcoming events, assignments and dates to check with teachers on their children's progress.
4. Speak up for every child.
- Create a checklist and tip sheets for effective parent-teacher conferences.
- Invite teachers and professionals from the community to speak at meetings on various topics.
- Provide parent involvement tips and suggestions through signs at the school and articles in the local newspaper.
5. Share power.
- Match new families at the school with a buddy family to show them the ropes.
- Plan workshops on how to ask the right questions about children's progress and placement.
- Involve parents in ongoing training on topics such as being an effective advocate, identifying and supporting learning styles, resolving difficulties and fostering student achievement.
6. Collaborate with the community.
- Working in partnership with the principal, identify ways the PTA/parent group can support one or more goals of the school improvement plan.
- Host a forum for candidates running for public office; focus questions on issues that affect children, families and education.
- Get to know your elected officials at all levels of government, as they influence public policy decisions related to children and education.
Get 10 final ideas and 4 online resources to help you stay involved
- Reach out to senior/retired citizens and invite them to volunteer at the school.
- Work with the local newspaper to promote special events that are happening at the school.
- Invite school alumni to make a donation to the school or to participate in an alumni sponsors program through which they can volunteer time.