The Best Posts On Involving Fathers In Schools

The topic of increasing the involvement of fathers in schools has been garnering some attention lately, and I thought I’d bring together some of the previous posts on the topic together.

I was prompted to do so by today’s article in The Washington Post, Schools roll out the red carpet for dads who volunteer.

Coincidentally, I believe tonight’s #PTchat on Twitter was on this same subject, and I’ll a link to its transcript when it becomes available (here it is).

Here are my previous posts:

“Dads read to children in LA school to promote literacy”

“Nevada PTA Sets Example on Male Engagement”

“Engaging Fathers in Education”

“Houston Dad Learns Valuable Lessons Volunteering at School”

Feel free to make other suggestions in the comments section.

I’ll be adding this list to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.

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The Best Commentaries On The “Broken Compass” Parent Involvement Book

Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework is the title of an article that appeared a few weeks ago in The Atlantic.  It was written by Dana Goldstein.

It describes research shared in a new book, The Broken Compass:Parental Involvement With Children’s Education by two professors which, at least according to Dana Goldstein, questions most the effectiveness of what most of us would typically consider parent involvement/engagement. Based on what The Atlantic article says, this new research apparently disproves most of what you’ll find at “The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement.”

I’m not convinced that everybody else is wrong and these professors are right, but I’ve ordered the book to see for myself what they have found.

The authors followed that up with a guest column in The New York Times with the decidedly unhelpful headline, Parental Involvement Is Overrated.

I’ll be writing my own thoughts on it as soon as I finish reading the books but, in the meantime, here are a few other commentaries written by others:

Inflated Research Claims Can Harm Children: Why “parental involvement” is not a “broken compass.” is a post by Marilyn Price-Mitchell that is also skeptical.

And respected parent engagement expert Karen Mapp recently sent out this tweet:

Speaking of tweets, here’s one sent out by researcher/author Alfie Kohn:

Correlation does not imply causation (parental involvement edition) is from Simply Statistics.

The New York Times published three letters to the editor on the infamous “Broken Compass” parent involvement op-ed and book.

The first one is good and the second one, by parenting researcher and professor Wendy Grolnick, is excellent.

I’ll be adding more to this list.

And I’ll be adding this post to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.

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My Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Three Months

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I thought readers, and I, would find it useful to review and list my choices for the best posts on parent engagement I’ve written since I posted My Best Posts On Parent Engagement In 2013 three months ago.

You can also see all my “Best” lists related to parent engagement here.

Here are My Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Three Months:

Infographic: Math Cheat Sheet For Parents

Infographic: “Tips For Teachers On Family Engagement”

St. Paul Federation Of Teachers Is National Model For Engaging Parents

“The Power Of Parents” Is A Good New Report From Ed Source

Infographic: “Ways A Parent Can Help With Spelling”

British School Plans Hefty Parent Fines When Kids Are Late — Uh, I Think They Might Want To Rethink That…

The Best Student Projects That Need Family Engagement — Contribute Your Lessons!

The Best Posts On The inBloom Data Fiasco

I Don’t Think Taking & Throwing Out Students’ Lunches Because Their Parents Owe The School Money Is A Good Idea

I Don’t Think A Supt. Suspending A Principal Because She Supported PTO President Will Encourage Parent Engagement

“Keys To Parent Engagement – Relationships, Climate, Communication”

The Best Fifteen Minutes Of My Week

Worst Idea Of The Year: Don’t Attend Parent-Teacher Conference? Then We’ll Ban You From Attending Graduation Of Your Child

I Don’t Think Fining Parents For Taking Students Out Of School For A Week’s Vacation Is The Best Idea….

“Parents Can Teach Educators ‘Lessons About Learning and Life’”

Parent Engagement Is The Topic Of My Newest Ten Minute Podcast

“Parent Engagement Requires ‘Trust, Not Blame’”

My Best Posts On The Harlem Children’s Zone & Other “Promise Zones”

“Listening To Parents With Our Heads And Hearts”

The Best Articles Questioning The View That Single Parents Are A Problem

“Is Parental Input the Key to Healthy Student Eating Habits?”

Infographic: “Ways A Parent Can Help With Math”

Great Video: “Come Along on a Home Visit”

This Is A Good Attitude For Teachers To Take…

Ed Week Reports On How School Reformers Are Using Parents As “Foot Soldiers”

The Best Resources — Specifically For Parents — On Bullying

 

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The Best Student Projects That Need Family Engagement — Contribute Your Lessons!

I’d like to create a very lengthy list of lessons that require students to engage with their parents and families in a positive way.

I know I’ve previously posted about some, but I need to track them down. I’m also hoping that lots of teachers will send in summaries of successful lessons that they’ve done. I’ll add them to list and, of course, give you credit.

You can find all my parent engagement-related “Best” lists here.

Here’s what I have so far:

Curious Homework: An Inquiry Project for Students and Parents is by Suzie Boss.

Good Teachers Embrace Their Students’ Cultural Background is an article from The Atlantic.

Here’s an excerpt:

Culturally responsive teaching doesn’t mean lowering standards, Irvine says. Take dialect, for example. Teachers need to help students speak and write in Standard English, but they’ll be more successful in that effort if they begin by respecting the way a student and his family speak at home.

Creating a link between home and school can enrich all kinds of lessons. Teachers can ask their students to interview their communities and condense the information into a letter to the mayor. Parents can be invited into the classroom to talk about their work. Students can be asked to think critically about articles and texts, exploring them for signs of cultural bias.

Interactive Homework Spurs Parent Involvement, Study Finds is the title of a useful blog post by Sarah Sparks over at Education Week. Here’s an excerpt:

Homework assignments that require help from family members can get parents more involved in middle school, a time many parents become less visible in school, concludes a new study in the School Community Journal…

…During a seven-week trial during the 2010-11 school year, 192 students in nine 8th-grade classes were given one assignment each week using the Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork, or TIPS, program, which includes assignments that require students to discuss concepts they learn in class with a family member to complete projects.

Reader Lori Lee contributes idea:

is a PBL lesson from the Buck Institute where students interview a family member about their life experiences and then create a nonfiction narrative based on a story from the interview. From here students then publish the collection of stories using an online publisher and organize a book launch event to the stores with family and public. I did project last year and it was amazing! I am in the middle of it right now and I still love project!

Maria Caplin contributes this idea:

Every year to start our measurement unit, I don’t assign any math HW except to have the students cook with their parents. Always a huge success. Here is my link.

I published a post titled The Importance Of Telling “Family Stories.” In it, I discussed an article that reviewed a number of studies that found value in parents telling their children about family stories.

The Washington Post wrote a more in-depth piece about one of those studies, and included a pretty useful “Do You Know” series of questions that teachers could easily give to students as an assignment. I love projects that require students asking their parents questions, and this one would be perfect.

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The Best Posts On The inBloom Data Fiasco

I’ve written several posts about the inBloom data fiasco — inBloom is the company that’s basically trying to collect, store and share student data and is supported by the Gates Foundation.

I thought I’d put together a quick Best list:

Where inBloom Wilted is from Ed Surge.

Irate Parents Fight to Keep Information on Their Kids Private is the headline of an article about an effort to create a national student data base with inBloom.

Here’s a quote from it:

“But the main issue is this: No one consulted parents as to whether they wanted their child’s data collected or stored this way, just as no one asked them if they wanted their children to be tested to the degree they are,” Naison [Mark Naison, a professor at Fordham University]said.

Deciding Who Sees Students’ Data is a fairly lengthy article in The New York Times about the inBloom data collection system.

Here’s an excerpt:

Yet, for all of inBloom’s neutral-sounding intentions, industry analysts say it has stirred some parents’ fears about the potential for mass-scale surveillance of students. Parents like Rachael Stickland, a mother of two Jeffco students, say that schools are amassing increasing amounts of information about K-12 students with little proof that it will foster their critical thinking or improve their graduation rates.

“It’s a new experiment in centralizing massive metadata on children to share with vendors,” she said, “and then the vendors will profit by marketing their learning products, their apps, their curriculum materials, their video games, back to our kids.”

Your child’s data is stored in the cloud is a new article at CNN about the inBloom data collection system.

Here’s an excerpt from CNN’s article:

Streichenberger says inBloom is providing the “plumbing” to fix school districts’ currently disjointed systems. School districts control the data, though they may share that information with third-parties if they choose.

That promise has offered little comfort to many parents in school districts that use inBloom. Some parents in those districts feel that there’s not enough transparency around the data platform, what data will be stored, and who will have access to it. InBloom says it’s up to the states to determine what data is stored and whether parents have access.

Sprowal says parents were not adequately notified before her son’s school district started loading data on to the platform.

“I think if there was full disclosure, transparency, if they included us in the process, as they were developing it … it would have been fine,” she said. “It would have … put some constraints on it.”

inBloom lost its only remaining customer when New York State withdrew from it.

Here’s an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal:

New York has reversed course to use an Atlanta-based company to store student data for parents and officials to use to track student progress, after the plan triggered privacy concerns and a legal challenge….

“We will not store any student data with inBloom, and we have directed inBloom to securely delete all the non-identifiable data that has been stored,” a statement Wednesday from state Education Department spokesman Dennis Tomkins said.

InBloom was founded in 2013 with $100 million in grant money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corp. The technology drew early interest from several states, but New York was the only one fully involved.

The Hechinger Report has since written a thorough obituary of inBloom, The fate of big data after inBloom.

I’ve chronicled the ongoing fiasco of the Gates Foundation-founded-and-financed inBloom student data-vacuuming service called inBloom.

As usual, these guys never bothered asking parents and teachers what they thought before they initiated their bright idea and, now that they announced its dissolution, they’re blaming everybody but themselves and their funders.

You can read all about it at these two articles:

InBloom Student Data Repository to Close is from The New York Times.

inBloom to Shut Down Amid Growing Data-Privacy Concerns is from Education Week.

I’m adding this list to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.

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My Best Posts On The Harlem Children’s Zone & Other “Promise Zones”

, President Obama announced grants to five communities designated at “Promise Zones” that are planned to replicate — more or less — the Harlem Children’s Zone.

I’ve published many posts about the Harlem Children’s Zone — both positive and less than positive — including concerns about parent engagement and how they relate to local institutions. Though I don’t know all the specifics of these five new communities, it will be interesting to see how genuinely involved parents are in their efforts.

First, I’ll a few posts about President Obama’s announcements. Then, I’ll list links to my previous posts:

What Exactly Do Obama’s Zones Have to Do With Education, Anyway? is from Ed Week, and is a must-read.

President Obama Unfurls a New Place-Based Program: Promise Zones is from Non-Profit Quarterly.

Obama Administration Announces the First Five Promise Zone Designees is from the US Department of Agriculture.

Eight southeastern Kentucky counties named “Promise Zone” by President Barack Obama is from the Courier-Journal.

Here are links to my previous posts:

“Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems”

Promise Neighborhood Award Winners Announced

One More Post On HCZ

More Fascinating Stuff On The Harlem Children’s Zone

More On The Harlem Children’s Zone

Great Discussion on Harlem Children’s Zone

“Promise Neighborhoods” Resource

NPR Series On Harlem Children’s Zone Replication

Replicating The Harlem Children’s Zone

“Promise Neighborhoods” Competition Begins

60 Minutes Segment On Harlem Children’s Zone

Harlem Children’s Zone Conference

“Whatever It Takes”

“Harlem Program Singled Out as Model”

“Famed Harlem Children’s Program Will Get New Leader”

“Schools central to Promise Zone anti-poverty strategy”

I’ll add list to my collection of other parent engagement related ones….

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The Best Articles Questioning The View That Single Parents Are A Problem

As most people know, there is a common narrative suggesting that single-parent households can be a cause of many problems affecting children — in and out of school.

I’ve previously posted some articles questioning that view, and a new study has just been published. I thought it would be worthwhile to put them all in one post:

Marriage Promotion Has Failed to Stem Poverty Among Single Moms has just been published at Science Daily. Here’s an excerpt:

In fact, research shows that single mothers living in impoverished neighborhoods are likely to marry men who won’t help them get out of poverty. These men are likely to have children from other partnerships, lack a high school diploma, and have been incarcerated or have substance abuse problems, Williams noted.

Those who do marry usually don’t stay that way. One study found that nearly two-thirds of single mothers who married were divorced by the time they reached 44 years old.

“Single mothers who marry and later divorce are worse off economically than single mothers who never marry,” she said.

Promoting marriage among single mothers may not help their children, either. Recent research by Williams and several colleagues found no physical or psychological advantages for the majority of teenagers born to a single mother who later married.

Rather than promoting marriage, the government should focus on preventing unintended births, Williams said. She found in one study that having a child outside of marriage is associated with negative mental health outcomes among African American women only when the birth was unexpected.

Here are other articles:

Check out ‘The Atlantic’ Is Wrong About Married Parents Producing Richer Kids.

What Makes a Healthy Family is an article at the Pacific Standard. Here’s an excerpt:

Lamb explains that, despite their high rates of poverty, “the majority of children raised in single-parent or divorced families are well-adjusted,” even if outcomes are slightly more negative overall than for kids raised in “traditional” families. It’s an open question whether it’s the money or the family structure itself holding back that minority of children of single parents that turn out maladjusted.

Single Parents Aren’t The Problem: Show Me the Numbers: Who’s at home doesn’t affect a child’s education as much as you may think is one of the more interesting article I think you’re going to see onthis topic. It’s written by Professor Ivory A. Toldson and appeared in “The Root.”

Blaming Poverty on Single Parents Is Win-Win for Republicans, Evidence Be Damned is an extensive Atlantic article.

It’s a must-read piece. Here’s an excerpt:

And is where everyone should be screaming from the rooftops: “Correlation isn’t causation!” If you don’t have access to a roof, stand on your desk like you’re in Dead Poet’s Society and bellow, “Just because poverty is more common among the unmarried doesn’t mean it’s a function of being unmarried!” Yell that. Yell that to the heavens!

The New York Times has now published an exceptional article titled Can Marriage Cure Poverty?

I think it’s a “must-read.” Here’s an excerpt:

But even if Washington got rid of all its dumb and ineffective policies to promote marriage and implemented a number of smart ones to do so, it might all be for naught. Some researchers think that marriage — or a lack thereof — is not the real problem facing poor parents; being poor is. “It isn’t that having a lasting and successful marriage is a cure for living in poverty,” says Kristi Williams of Ohio State University. “Living in poverty is a barrier to having a lasting and successful marriage.”

To understand why, it is worth looking at the economic fortunes of the poor in isolation — marriage rates and childbearing out of wedlock aside. Globalization, the decline of labor unions, technological change and other tidal economic forces have battered the poor, with years of economic growth failing to lift their prospects. These forces have inevitably affected young people’s choices, researchers think.

In an economy that offers so little promise to those at the bottom, family planning in the name of upward mobility doesn’t make much sense. “Engaging in family formation by accident rather than by design, you get a story of low-opportunity costs,” says Kathryn Edin, the poverty researcher at Johns Hopkins. “We’ve created the situation where pregnancy is not the worst thing that can happen to you. It can be seen as a path to redemption in an otherwise violent, unpredictable, hopeless world.”

Similar forces might also spur some young couples not to get married, even if they want to. Many poor women opt not to marry the poor men in their lives, for instance, to avoid bringing more economic chaos into their homes. And the poor women who do marry tend to have unstable marriages — often to ill effect. One study, for instance, found that single mothers who married and later divorced were worse off economically than those who did not marry at all. “These women revere marriage, they want to get married,” Williams says. “They aren’t making an irrational choice not to marry.”

Check out The relationship between single mothers and poverty is not as simple as it seems at The Washington Post.

You can see all my parent-related “Best” lists here.

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The Best Resources — Specifically For Parents — On Bullying

I have an extensive “Best” list at my other blog titled A Very, Very Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Bullying.

In addition, I’ve published several posts in this blog about bullying resources specifically for parents, and thought bringing them together in one list would be useful.

You can find all my parent “Best” lists here.

Feel free to make other suggestions…

The BBC has published  What should you do if your child is ‘the bully’?

What to do if your child is accused of being a bully is from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and offers pretty decent advice.
 
If a Child Is Bullied, Parents Offer Advice on When and How to Intervene is a useful piece in The New York Times, and don’t neglect reading the comments.
 

Bullying is parents’ big fear as children start secondary school, survey finds is an article in the Guardian reporting on a recent survey.

It’s subtitled:

Parents say bullying is greater concern than alcohol, while children themselves worry most about making the right friends

Busting parents won’t stop cyberbullies, experts say is from NBC News.

Here’s an excerpt I particularly liked:

Tragedies like Sedwick’s suicide can spark the hunt for a scapegoat, but prosecuting parents isn’t the solution, says Sameer Hinduja, a criminal justice professor at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “Legislators and politicians jump in and say we’ve got to pass laws, have stronger sanctions. But when you think it through and ask what’s going to deter someone from messing up the same way again, (prosecuting the parents) is not the best way to respond. “

Legal sanctions imposed on parents could pit the child against the parents, Hinduja added. “The child will be in trouble even further, perhaps for getting the parent into trouble,” he said.

Even the most well-intentioned parents cannot police their kids’ social-networking habits around the clock, said Tina Meier, whose 13-year-old daughter Megan committed suicide in 2006 after allegedly being hoaxed and bullied on the social network MySpace by Lori Drew, the mother of one of Megan’s former friends. Drew was found guilty by a federal jury of three computer-crime misdemeanors. In 2009, a federal judge vacated the conviction.

“Is it important for us to hold parents accountable for their children’s actions?” Meier asked. “Yes. But it’s impossible for parents to be there 24 hours a day.”

There are many parents “who truly simply don’t know about it, or who are really trying (to monitor their children’s computer use),” Meier told NBC News.

Casey M., a 17-year-old Internet safety advocate from New Rochelle, N.Y., feels indicting parents for their kids’ online bullying acts will have “an inverse effect” and increase online tormenting. Casey M. is part of the national Teen Angels campaign, which speaks to parents and teenagers about Internet safety and cyberbullying. Group members don’t use their last names when speaking with the media.

“The more that parents try to control what their kids are doing online, the more sneaky kids get, and the less parents know what their kids are doing online,” Casey M. said, adding that she’s never faced serious cyberbullying. “The kids would try to hide things a little more.”

Yes, parents need support and encouragement to monitor and teach their children. I just get very uncomfortable with the emphasis on punishing parents. I’ve previously posted about a number of instances where public officials seem to want to use that as their main strategy to encourage parent involvement — it’s certainly easier than the slow process of building relationships, spending time on encouragement, and leading with our ears instead of our mouths….

Anti-Bullying from the Parent’s Perspective is a useful post from Think Inclusive.

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My Best Posts On Parent Engagement In 2013

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Here are my choices for the best posts I’ve written on parent engagement in 2013 — well, at least since April when I published My Best Posts On Parent Engagement In 2013 — So Far (by the way, you can find all my “The Best…” lists related to parent engagement here):

Come On, Now – Schools Giving “Stamps” For Each Parent Involvement Activity?

The Best Multilingual Resources For Parents

The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Using Technology To Help Engage Parents

Great Article About Teachers Making Home Visits In Minnesota

The Best Resources On Pre-School Parent Engagement

Hmmm, Why Don’t I Have Much Confidence In Chicago Superintendent’s Parent Engagement Plan?

Writing Letters To Parents At The Start Of The Year

“Poll: Parents don’t support many education policy changes” (Plus, Links To Previous Polls)

The Best Resources To Help Engage Parents Of Children With Special Needs – Help Me Find More

What Is It With School District Attorneys This Week?

This Blog Is Now Four Years Old — Here Are Its Most Popular Posts During That Time

Wow, The Second “Must-Read” Parent Engagement Study In A Week!

Must-Read Report: “What Roles Do Parent Involvement, Family Background, and Culture Play in Student Motivation?”

All My Ed Week Posts On Parent Engagement In One Place

My Advice To Parents In “USA Weekend”

The Best Infographics About Parent Involvement In Schools

Excellent Article On Teachers Making Home Visits — & It Features Our School!

The Best Education Blogs For Parents

The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children

The Best Resources For Talking To Parents About The Common Core Standards

Learning Parent Engagement Lessons From…The Ritz-Carlton Hotel?

Not Very Interesting Parent Involvement Survey From U.S. Dept. Of Ed — Except for One Result

Parents As Teachers

“Five Stereotypes About Poor Families And Education”

“Program aims to get parents on their children’s academic team”

San Diego Controversy Shows How Rich “School Reformers” Damage Genuine Parent Engagement

The Best Resources For Learning About The “Word Gap”

 

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The Best Resources For Learning About The “Word Gap”

There has recently been a flurry of media attention to what is called the so-called “word gap.” It’s the term used to describe the difference in vocabulary development of low-income children and middle-and-high-income children during their pre-school years.

In addition to the media attention, there have been some high-profile efforts at trying to respond to the issue, and that’s where it gets particularly controversial. I thought a “Best” list here on the topic might be useful to readers:

I’d say the best piece that talks about the issue has been written by Esther Quintero at The Albert Shanker Institute. It’s titled The ‘early language gap’ is about more than words.

She followed that up by creating this short video:

Here are some of my previous posts on the topic:

Chicago Program Emphasizes Quality Of Parent/Child Interaction Key To Growth, Not Increasing Quantity Of Vocabulary

Another Reason To Wonder About Huge Parent Engagement Experiment In Providence

Could Providence’s Word Counting Project Be A “Boondoggle” As Well As Being Creepy?

Providence Wins Grant For Project That May Hold Promise, But Also Sounds A Bit Creepy

Intriguing Study Seems To Question Importance Of Word Quantity Spoken To Young Children

“Efforts To Close The Achievement Gap In Kids Start At Home”

Here are some additional resources:

Too Small To Fail is a project that Hillary Clinton has begun.

The 32-Million Word Gap is by David Shenk.

More Effective, Less Expensive, Still Controversial: Maximizing Vocabulary Growth In Early Childhood is from The Shanker Blog.

Can We Disrupt Poverty by Changing How Poor Parents Talk to Their Kids? is from The Atlantic.

We Need a Nuremberg Code for Big Data is from Slate.

Trying to Close a Knowledge Gap, Word by Word is an article and video from The New York Times that gives a pretty good over of research, concerns and potential strategies related to the “word gap.”

It includes discussion about the Rhode Island that’s inserting recording devices into children’s clothing, which I have previously posted about skeptically (though I’ve tried to maintain an open mind).

You can see all my parent-related “Best” lists at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.

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The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children

Here’s a short and sweet list on topic, and I hope others will suggest additional links.

I’ll be adding list to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.

Parent Jiggernaut Follow-Up: Opting out vs. Opting In is a thoughtful post by Rachel Levy.

Wary of standardized testing, parents are increasingly opting their kids out of exams is from The Washington Post.

“Parents sign petition against use of FCAT” is the headline of a Miami Herald article.

The article begins:

The petition, gaining traction in parts of Florida and around the country, urges education administrators to rely less on standardized tests and use other measures to evaluate students, schools and teachers.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools has instituted 52 new standardized tests, and parents are up in arms about it.

You can read about it in The Washington Post at School district field-tests 52 (yes, 52) new tests on kids.

You can also visit the website of the parents group organizing against them — Mecklenburg ACTS.

‘What we’ve got here is failure to communicate’ is an excellent post by Carol Burris in The Washington Post.

In it, she criticizes many who blame the fact that more and more parents are “opting out” of having their children take standardized tests solely on “communication” issues:

It is all seen as just a failure to communicate. And therein lies the problem. The focus on communication, rather than on a response to concerns, demonstrates a lack of faith in the ability of parents and teachers to understand what is occurring. Parents understand the high-stakes testing rationale. They just don’t buy it. The interpretation of grassroots parental opposition as a “communication failure” communicates arrogance. It is the ultimate “nanny state” response—you do not understand what we know, and what we know and do are best for you.

Turn On, Tune In, Opt Out is an article in The Nation about the growing popularity of efforts by parents to have their children “opt-out” of taking standardized tests.

Chicago Teachers Union urges parents to oppose standardized tests for young kids is an article in the Chicago Sun-Times about a teacher/parent campaign against the pressure of standardized tests:

When Parents Yank Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests is an article in the Atlantic, by Alexander Russo, that gives a good overview of the “opt-out” movement.

The Defiant Parents: Testing’s Discontents is an excellent piece in The New Yorker.

Here’s an excerpt:

Parents who complain about testing—particularly affluent, educated ones—are easily derided, as they were by Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Education Secretary, a few months ago, when he described critics of the Common Core as “white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—[find] their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” But parents who challenge the status quo on testing are not motivated by a deluded pride in their children’s unrecognized accomplishments, or by a fear that their property values will diminish if their schools’ scores’ drop. They are, in many cases, driven by a conviction that a child’s performance on a standardized test is an inadequate, unreliable measure of that child’s knowledge, intelligence, aptitude, diligence, and character—and a still more unreliable measure of his teachers’ effort, skill, perseverance, competence, and kindness.

Most States Lack Opt-Out Policies – But Parents Find A Way is a very interesting and useful post by Alexander Russo.

The post gives a very good overview of state laws on “opting out” of standardized tests.

It appears that some schools are making it very difficult for parents to “opt-out” of standardized testing for their child. I’m not sure if this attitude is the best one to take to further parent engagement….

Read about what’s happening in Colorado and in Chicago.

Standing Up to Testing is a New York Times article on parents opting their students out of standardized testing in New York City.

Here’s an excerpt:

This movement of refusal does not evolve out of antipathy toward rigor and seriousness, as critics enjoy suggesting, but rather out of advocacy for more comprehensive forms of assessment and a depth of intellectual experience that test-driven pedagogy rarely allows. In the past year, the movement has grown considerably among parents and educators, across political classifications and demographics.

Here’s an excerpt from Valerie Strauss’ piece at The Washington Post:

The editorial board of a big-city newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, has gone on record as not only supporting the right of parents to have their children opt out of high-stakes standardized tests but also saying they are “right to protest” in this manner.

“Parents have few, if any venues to express their concerns”

The above quotation is from Jose Luis Vilson, who contributed to the New York Times “Room For Debate” forum on Should Parents Opt Out of Testing?

Check out his full contribution and comments from others.

The Middle Ground Between Opt Out And All In is a very thoughtful post by Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

when it comes to “opting out,” what’s important to me is the idea that you don’t have to agree with its proponents’ solution to acknowledge that they may be correct about the existence of a problem. There are good and bad policy applications happening right now, and it’s important to address the bad ones and build on the good ones.

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The Best Resources For Talking To Parents About The Common Core Standards

I’m no big fan of the Common Core Standards, but they are a reality for most of us.

If teachers are ever in situations where they have to explain them to parents, or if there are parents who want to understand more about them, here are some relatively useful resources:

How Educators Can Address Parents’ Confusion About Common Core is from Mind/Shift.

Common Core for ELLs: Ten things parents should know about the Common Core Standards is from Colorin Colorado.

5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About The Common Core is from The American Enterprise Institute.

The PTA has a series of booklets in English and in Spanish. Go here and scroll down to “The Parents’ Guide To Student Success.”

What Parents Need to Know About Common Core State Standards is from Reading Rockets.

Spotlight on the Common Core State Standards – What Do Parents Need to Know? is from Education Northwest.

In Push For ‘Common’ Standards, Many Parents Left Uneducated comes from NPR.

What Should Teachers Tell Parents About The Common Core? is a series of teacher-written commentaries at Education Week Teacher.

A Lesson on the Common Core is a good short and sweat summary of the Common Core for parents. It’s by Jessica Lahey, and appeared in The New York Times.

The official Common Core Standards site unveiled a new design in an effort to make it more accessible and understandable to parents.

You can see all my parent engagement-related “Best” lists here.

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The Best Infographics About Parent Involvement In Schools

is a beginning list of the best infographics about parent involvement.

You can see all my parent involvement/engagement-related “Best” lists here.

help2

You can find a bigger version here.

An Infographic by Open Colleges

Embed Infographic

An Infographic by Open Colleges
Parent Volunteers in the Classroom

Explore more infographics like one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.



The National PTA has created a nice infographic titled “Tips For Teachers On Family Engagement.”

You can download the entire infographic here. Here’s a partial screenshot:

tips

I’m going to add this infographic, but I hope a math teacher out there will tell me if it’s accurate or not….

Click image to see a larger version
Math Cheat SheetMath Cheat Sheet via Math Game Time

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The Best Education Blogs For Parents

10 Amazing Education Blogs for Parents is a helpful post from Ed Tech Review that I learned about from Starr Sackstein.

I think they missed a few important ones, though, so I decided to make my own list. Let me know if you think I’m missing some:

Parent Cortical Mass

Raising Modern Learners

Joe Mazza’s blog, eFace Today

Our School: Parents As Partners

ParentNet Unplugged from Parent Involvement Matters

K-12 Parents and the Public is from Education Week.

Parents Across America

You can find all my parent-related “Best” lists here.

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“Poll: Parents don’t support many education policy changes” (Plus, Links To Previous Polls)

Updated: Here are two more articles about the poll:

What parents really think about school reform is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

AFT: Current Ed. Policies Don’t Work, Are Unpopular With Parents is from Education Week.

Poll: Parents don’t support many education policy changes is the headline of a Washington Post article . Here are the first two paragraphs:

Most parents with children in public schools do not support recent changes in education policy, from closing low-performing schools to shifting public dollars to charter schools to private school vouchers, according to a new poll to be released Monday by the American Federation of Teachers.

The poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates, surveyed 1,000 parents this month and found that most would rather see their neighborhood schools strengthened and given more resources than have options to enroll their children elsewhere.

Some might question it impartiality because of the AFT’s involvement, but the results are reflective of past polls done by other groups.

Here’s another summary of the same poll: What Parents Want For Education Policy

I’m turning this post into something of a “The Best…” list, and here are links to posts about previous polls:

The Best Posts/Articles On This Year’s Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup Education Poll — 2012

Gallup Poll On Education Issues Just Released 2011

Gallup Poll On Education Issues Released 2010

“Public Attitudes Toward The Public Schools” 2009

U.S. “Survey finds parent-teacher relationships strong–Teachers given grade of “A””

“Parents Agree – Better Assessments, Less High-Stakes Testing”

On the heels of the poll mentioned at the beginning of this post, another came out contradicting it. However, here are two posts analyzing this new polls lack of credibility:

Do Parents Support High-Stakes Testing? is a great post by Diane Ravitch responding to a new poll supposedly finding that parents support these tests.

Associated Press Propaganda: What the AP Survey Really Shows is from Accomplished California Teachers, and links to an exhaustive analysis.

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The Best Resources To Help Engage Parents Of Children With Special Needs – Help Me Find More

I’m beginning this list with a few resources, but hope that readers will contribute a lot more.

You can see all my parent-engagement related “The Best…” lists here.

Here is a very beginning list of The Best Resources To Help Engage Parents Of Children With Special Needs:

The LD Navigator is an online tool designed to help health care professionals talk to parents about learning disabilities. However, it also seems to me that it could be very helpful directly to parents and to teachers who want to learn more about them. You can read more about it at Ed Week.

“What You Should Know About IEP Plans For Special Needs Students” is a useful post.

Four Important Signs That Your Child’s IEP Is Workingshares some suggestions to parents from The National Center For Learning Disabilities. It also includes ideas what to do it you feel it isn’t working.

New law aids parents of special needs children in dealing with school districts is an article in the Tampa Bay Times about a new state law in Florida, but it offers some perspectives helpful for parents (and teachers) of special needs children everywhere.

U.S. Department of Education Awards $14 Million to Special Education Parent Technical Assistance Centers is the headline of a US DOE press release.

Here’s an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $14 million in five-year grants to operate eight special education parent technical assistance centers that work to assist families of children with disability. The eight centers set to receive funding include one Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR); six Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (RPTACs); and one Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (NAPTAC).

The centers will use the funding to improve the information they provide parents on laws, policies, and evidence-based education practices affecting children with disabilities. The centers will also use the funding to explore how data can be used to inform instruction; how to interpret results from evaluations and assessments; and ways to effectively engage in school reform activities, including how to interpret and use the data that informs those activities.

“Parents will always be their children’s first and most important teachers, and can have tremendous impact on their kids’ readiness to learn at every stage of the education pipeline,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These grants will help special education parent technical assistance centers enhance the important services they provide to families across the country.”

I’m not familiar with these centers, and don’t know how useful or responsive they are to parent needs (I’d love to hear comments about them).

Special Education Toolkit: Resources is from the National PTA and it has a lot of…resources related to special education.

Please suggest more resources!

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This Blog Is Now Four Years Old — Here Are Its Most Popular Posts During That Time

I began this blog four years ago, shortly after my book, Building Parents In Schools, was published. I thought it would be interesting, and perhaps helpful, to share its most popular posts during that time.

You might also be interested in:

My Most Popular Parent Engagement Posts Of The Year — 2012

My Most Popular Parent Engagement Posts Of The Year — 2010

Here are my most popular parent engagement posts over the past four years:

1. The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers

2. Good Middle School Journal Article On Parent Involvement

3. Another Reason Why We Need To Be Careful How We Speak To Parents About Their Children

4. Jeez, What Was Ron Clark Thinking?

5. The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas

6. The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences

7. The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits

8. The Best Ideas On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Succeed Academically

9. “The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement”

10. A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement

11. Teachers Have Got To Stop Blaming Parents

12. What A Terrible Video About Parents & Schools With A Terrible Message

13. The Power Of A Positive Phone Call Home

14. Some Of These “Parent Academies” Just Don’t Get It….

15. Chart: Useful Summary Of The Differences Between Parent Involvement & Parent Engagement

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The Best Resources On Pre-School Parent Engagement

I have many “Best” lists on multiple aspects of parent engagement, but thought with all the recent talk about expanding early education, a list on pre-school parent engagement would be useful.

You can see all my parent engagement “Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On Pre-School Parent Engagement:

Preschools Aim to Better Equip Low-Income Parents is a brand new article at Education Week.

Head Start has a series of downloadable flyers in their Importance of Home Language Series that are in English and Spanish. They’re useful for educators and for parents.

Here’s an article about Head Start’s home visiting program, Head Start casts parents in educator’s role, and it’s worth a read….

Two new studies were just released examining Head Start. They were mixed in some areas, but positive about its effect on parent engagement.

Here’s an excerpt from a summary:

One of the studies, by the nonprofit Mathematica Policy Research, found that parents of children enrolled in Head Start became more engaged in teaching their children at home: They increased (slightly) the frequency that they told their children stories, played games, did arts and crafts and went to the library. The report also found that children in Head Start made significant academic progress during the year on skills like identifying numbers and shapes.

The second of the studies, known as the Head Start Impact Study, is the latest in a series of reports that has looked at the academic, social-emotional and health outcomes for Head Start students over time. Previously, the study had found that gains made in preschool for children enrolled in Head Start tapered off in first grade. The latest report shows that nearly all the health benefits and academic and social emotional gains were gone by third grade. There were also some negative outcomes, including a greater likelihood of being held back.

But parenting skills continued to be better for Head Start families, and in some cases social skills and reading ability were somewhat higher for Head Start children in third grade.

“One of the strengths of the Head Start program is the parent involvement and parent engagement,” said Linda Smith, ACF deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development, in a phone interview. “And it is borne out in the study.”

The practice of early childhood home visits by non-school staff seems to be growing. Education Week posted a useful article on the practice, Home Visits Help New Families; Support School Readiness.

Here’s how it begins:

Kindergartners across the country are kicking off their official schooling careers over the next several weeks (some are already underway), but up to 45 percent of them won’t be “ready to learn,” under a definition that includes certain cognitive skills, but also physical and mental health, emotional well-being, and the ability to relate to others.

Most of the children who fall short of that definition of school readiness come from low-income communities in households often headed by a single mother.

That sobering reminder about the gaps that exist even as children are just embarking on their schooling comes from the Pew Center on the States and its campaign for state governments to invest more resources into voluntary home visiting programs for expectant and new families. There are scores of home visiting programs designed to address a slew of health, social, and educational challenges that manifest in the earliest stages of a child’s life (even in utero). These programs pair professionals such as nurses or social workers with parents who volunteer to receive support and information about good parenting that can start as early as pregnancy and reach into a child’s fifth year of life.

Parent Involvement One of the Most Enduring Benefits of the Head Start Program is the headline of a post that begins:

Recent research released by Alexander Gelber and Adam Isen at the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania suggests that increased parent involvement in a child’s life is one of the most enduring benefits of the Head Start Program.

The article also contains a link to what seems to be a relatively useful guide for parent involvement in Head Start programs.

Study: Head Start Programs May Increase Parents’ Involvement is a short blog post at Education Week about a recent….study.

Parents, teachers tout classroom councils to boost engagement is an article about how a Chicago Head Start center is engaging parents. The exact model is probably not practical in many or most classrooms, but it’s just another way of looking at parents as “co-educators.”

The National Center On Parent, Family and Community Engagement is connected to Head Start. Here is how the website describes its purpose:

The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement will identify, develop and disseminate evidence-based best practices associated with the development of young children and the strengthening of families and communities. The Center will create culturally and linguistically relevant training and tools for implementing comprehensive, systemic, and integrated approaches to parent, family and community engagement in Head Start and Early Head Start.

It’s filled with useful resources, including multimedia.

New study shows parent involvement leads to better classroom attention is the title of an MSNBC article about research on pre-schoolers and their families.

Here’s an excerpt:

A new study by cognitive neuroscientist Helen Neville from the University of Oregon, Eugene indicates that parental involvement may be a large factor in preschoolers ability to retain attention in the classroom. The study also showed that a brief training program on attention aimed at 3- to 5-year-olds and their families could help boost brain activity and narrow the academic achievement gap between low- and high-income students.

HIPPY stands for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, and you can read more about its home visiting program here.

Head Start recently published quite a compilation of recent research related to parent involvement and pre-school youth.

is from The Cultural Orientation Resource Center:

The HHS Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Head Start (OHS) has a number of resources that support refugee families. The handbook, Raising Young Children in a New Country: Supporting Early Learning and Healthy Development, focuses on refugee families and the parenting of children from the prenatal period through age 5. Throughout handbook are easy-to-follow illustrations that provide families with information about healthy development, early learning and school readiness, and family engagement in early care. An adaptation of the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) publication, Raising Children in a New Country: An Illustrated Handbook, handbook was authored by BRYCS in collaboration with the National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness (NCCLR). Spanish and Arabic translations are expected to be completed during September 2013.

NHSA Dialog, which is published by the National Head Start Association and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, have recently published an issue entirely devoted to Parent Involvement and Engagement In Head Start.

Bridging Worlds: Family Engagement in the Transition to Kindergarten is a useful “case study” from The Harvard Family Research Project.

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The Best Multilingual Resources For Parents

Online and hard-copy resources can be useful aids in helping to engage parents, though I’d suggest that they be used by educators as openings to initiate genuine conversations — not as ends in themselves.

I thought readers might find a collection of what I think are decent multilingual resources that could be used in this context.

This post is a supplement to two other “The Best…” lists:

The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers

The Best Ideas On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Succeed Academically

You can also find all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Best Multilingual Resources For Parents:

The National Council of La Raza has just published Padres Comprometidos: Support Your Child’s Success in English and Spanish. I wouldn’t say it’s all that great, and it, unfortunately, is being used to also promote General Mills’ products. But it is in Spanish, and there really aren’t that many decent Spanish-language parent involvement materials around.

Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets (Hojas de Consejos Para Las Reuniones de Padres y Maestros) are two hand-outs — one in English and one in Spanish — that “are designed to support educators and families in conducting productive, successful parent-teacher conferences.” They’re from the Harvard Family Research Project.

“But What If I Don’t Know English?” is another great resource from Colorin Colorado, and it’s available in Spanish and and in English. It shares ideas on how parents who don’t speak English can still help their children develop literacy skills.

En Camino: Educational Toolkit For Families is a series of free online “modules,” available in both English and Spanish, designed to help answer parent and student questions about college. It’s from the National Center For Family Literacy.

Ed Week’s Learning The Language blog posted information and links to a number of resources in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali for parents with children who might have learning disabilities.

People For Education publishes multilingual materials useful for parents. Though some of them are unique to Ontario, others can be used elsewhere. Here’s a sample in English.

College Bound is a series of videos — both in English and Spanish — designed to help parents get ideas on how they can support their children academically. Parent have to register at the site in order to watch them, but it only takes a few seconds to do so. The videos are very accessible, and a few of them seem useful enough for teachers to use them in the classroom with students.

Head Start has a series of downloadable flyers in their Importance of Home Language Series that are in English and Spanish. They’re useful for educators and for parents.

Growing Readers offers a sizable collection of bilingual (English/Spanish) materials offering advice to parents on how to…grow young readers. You can also sign-up to received a new article free by email every month.

The State of Massachusetts has an impressive collection of pre-school learning guides for parents. They’re in English, Spanish, Haitian, Khmer, Chinese and Portuguese. They seem very well-designed and accessible with excellent graphics.

Edutopia has just announced they’ve translated two useful parent resources into Spanish: A Parent’s Guide to 21st-Century Learning and Mobile Devices for Learning: What You Need to Know.

This is from The Cultural Orientation Resource Center:

The HHS Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Head Start (OHS) has a number of resources that support refugee families. The handbook, Raising Young Children in a New Country: Supporting Early Learning and Healthy Development, focuses on refugee families and the parenting of children from the prenatal period through age 5. Throughout this handbook are easy-to-follow illustrations that provide families with information about healthy development, early learning and school readiness, and family engagement in early care. An adaptation of the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) publication, Raising Children in a New Country: An Illustrated Handbook, this handbook was authored by BRYCS in collaboration with the National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness (NCCLR). Spanish and Arabic translations are expected to be completed during September 2013.

I have been, and continue to be, skeptical of anything connected to NBC’s Education Nation — including their “Parent Toolkit” (see NBC “Education Nation” Unveils “Parent Toolkit” — Time To Be Skeptical).

However, they have just published a Spanish version of that Parent Toolkit and, given the dearth of good multilingual parent resources, I’m very reluctantly adding it to this list.

Use it at your own risk, though….

Let me know if you have other suggestions…..

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The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools

I’ve published many posts on Community Schools, which are schools that make a point of working with the local community and resources and facilities. I’m a big supporter of them. However, as I’ve written in some of my posts, I think many miss opportunities to be more successful by not engaging parents in the process of developing them.

Often, schools seem to only look at parents as “clients” to be served, and not as “partners” and “co-creators.”

Community schools are great. I just wonder how much better they could be be if parents were more participants in making decisions about them and not just viewed as a people needing help.

You can see all my “The Best…” lists related to parent engagement here.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools:

Here’s an excerpt from a study that found the same problem related to lack of parent engagement that I’ve mentioned earlier:

This study investigated the effectiveness of a community school’s strategy in influencing the motivators of parental involvement. Through a mixed-method, case-study investigation of a long-established community school in New York City, the study found inconclusive evidence that community school operations positively influenced the motivations of parents to involve themselves in their child’s education. In particular, the site found a low level of parent participation, lack of efficacious mastery experiences and incidents of social persuasion, lack of a sense of collective leadership among parents and staff, and a low level of relational trust between parents and the school organization. Nevertheless, enough positive evidence was collected to suggest that community school operations remain promising strategies capable of positively influencing parents to become more involved in their children’s education. The lack of significant increases in parent motivation may be due to the lack of fidelity to which the site implemented its own community school model, the difficulties of sustaining reform over several decades in an impoverished urban setting, and the priorities of the New York City Department of Education.

School’s a Community Effort in Indiana District is another excellent article by Mary Ann Zehr at Education Week. I exchanged emails with  about that issue of parent engagement, and she graciously gave me permission to publish it here:

First, here was my question to her:

I really liked your community schools story , and am a big advocate of them. However, one of the missed opportunities I have seen with many is that the school staff often decide what they should offer and how, with very little input from parents themselves. I’m going to point readers of my parents blog to your story, but I was wondering if you had any sense of if parents were and are involved in the decision to be more of a community school and how the programs are run?

Here is her response:

I don’t feel qualified to say how much input parents are giving into how the community schools should be run because that wasn’t the focus of my reporting. At Lincoln School, I attended a morning “coffee” hosted by the school for parents. Several parents and grandparents told me they regularly attend such events. They expressed appreciation for input they’d received about nutrition through that venue. At the “coffee”, several community people gave presentations for programs the attendees can get involved in, such as a program to support grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The meeting was facilitated by a parent coordinator employed by Lincoln School; she seemed to have a good relationship with the parents. The parent coordinator has used the parents’ ideas for speakers and topics at the meetings. I didn’t ask how parents were involved in the various structures, such as the School Community Council, that are in charge of the school-community connections.

Here are two useful articles on community schools:

One is titled Community Schools: Reform’s Lesser-Known Frontier and appeared in Education Week.

The other is A Community School Makes the Grade: Principal Eileen Santiago Tells Us How, and is from one of my favorite blogs, Public School Insights.

Oakland Schools Struggle, but Emeryville May Point a Way Up is the headline of a New York Times article  about an effort to connect schools with social service agencies.

“The Roles Of Parent & Community Engagement In Student Success: Work Works In Illinois” is a new report published by advocates of Community Schools. Even though it’s focused on Illinois, a lot of the info can be applied anywhere.

Lightening the Load: A Look at Four Ways that Community Schools Can Support Effective Teaching is a new report from The Center For American Progress.

Oregon Community Schools Model Shows Staying Power is an article from Education Week.

Community schools recognize the vital role of full-service partnerships is a recent post from Thoughts On Public Education, and gives a pretty good report on recent developments in developing community schools.

Community School Model Seen as Valuable to Rural Areas is an interesting article over at Education Week.

“Community Schools: Aligning Local Resources” is a brand-new report that has come out, and is described by Public Education NewsBlast this way:

A new brief from the Partnership for Community Schools describes how local government agencies can partner with schools to align existing resources, how these partnerships can be truly effective, and how to pay for them. Through a coordinated delivery system, a community school offers more effective programs and services than any partner could offer on its own. The brief profiles five efforts in California that illustrate the critical role of coordination and intentional collaboration between partners.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Education Secretary Duncan spoke at a conference  designed to support the creation of more “community schools” in the United States. A report on community schools was released at the conference.

Partnerships for Learning: Community Support for Youth Success is a new report from The Harvard Family Research Project.

Here’s how they describe it:

There is strong evidence that, when schools partner with families and community-based organizations, these partnerships for learning improve children’s development and school success. They provide a seamless web of supports designed to ensure positive learning experiences for children and youth.

In this paper, we draw on the experiences of national organizations and a set of community schools that have built these learning partnerships, and examine seven key elements that we find to be essential in building them. Our paper serves as a guide to school districts and their partners as they consider whether and how to implement a partnerships for learning model. It also informs those who have already established these partnerships and wish to reflect on how to maximize partnership—and student—success.

“Community & Family Engagement: Principals What Works” is a report from The Coalition For Community Schools, and looks useful.

Providence’s Bailey Elementary School combines education, community outreach is the headline of an article  about community schools in Rhode Island. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“In our urban districts, we know that when kids come to school, they come with a whole lot of baggage,” said Rebecca Boxx, program director at Dorcas Place, an adult literacy center in Providence. “The educational system can’t handle that on its own. This is an effort to unite community partners and school districts behind one targeted goal: to increase academic achievement by providing family support.”

Last week, Bailey was one of seven schools statewide (and the only Providence public school) to come off the state Department of Education’s sanction list — those schools that have failed to make adequate yearly progress.

Brady and others are convinced that the “wraparound” social services available at Bailey helped the school meet more than 20 academic targets two years in a row.

School leaders say Oakland’s community school movement will continue, even without Tony Smith is a good article from Ed Source about ambitious plans for community schools in Oakland.

“One School, One Year: A Look Inside Oyler School” is a special NPR Markeplace report on a community school in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Linking home and classroom, Oakland bets on community schools is a fairly in-depth report on…community schools in Oakland, California, and is published by the Hechinger Report.

Community Schools: A Model for the Middle Grades is an article in Education Week that’s worth a look.

Here’s a pretty interesting piece in the Huffington Post about community schools in Cincinnati.

Here’s an excerpt:

A little more than a decade ago, voters passed a bond levy making possible the rebuilding or renovating of every public school in the district. The promise to taxpayers was that the facilities would be much more than just traditional academic settings during traditional school hours. Schools, typically dormant after-hours and on weekends, would be central to each neighborhood’s revitalization.

Indeed, these buildings have grown into around-the-clock community centers: populated by partnerships providing health care, tutoring, social services, recreational opportunities, and other resources for students and their families, and all residents of the surrounding neighborhood.

Syracuse: A Citywide Education Experiment is a Prezi presentation (embedded below) by Sarah Sparks from Education Week. It’s on a pretty interesting effort in…Syracuse. It expands on the idea of community schools, and sounds great. I still have the same concern that I have with most community schools, however — that families might be viewed more as clients instead of partners.

Candidates See Cincinnati as Model for New York Schools is the headline of an article in The New York Times.

Here’s an excerpt:

Despite its relatively small size, Cincinnati, with roughly 30,000 students, has become a lodestar for big-city school systems across the country. Superintendents and union leaders looking for an alternative to a high-stakes, data-driven movement in education have showered the community schools model with praise, noting that it has expanded access to health care and social services, tackling problems thought to be causes of academic failure.

Community Schools: A Worthwhile Investment provides a very good overview of community schools. It appears in Education Week.

Here’s an excerpt:

Research has made it clear that instructional improvements can be successful only when they are combined with family and community engagement and genuine efforts to improve the school’s climate for learning—in other words, when resources are organized for student success by creating community schools. Now there is growing proof that not only does this reform strategy boost outcomes for children, but that it also provides a significant social return on investment.

Why community schools are a no-brainer is a useful post over at Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog.

Community schools gaining traction under state’s new funding formula is an article in Ed Source about the growth of community schools in California. It’s a pretty thorough article, and includes a number of useful links.

Research Review Gives Thumbs Up to Community Schools Approach the headline of a post at Education Week.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the wake of newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to open 100 community schools, a report released Tuesday finds promise in this type of educational intervention. The study, supported in part with a grant from an organization founded by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, concludes that research and theory support the concept of community schools that seek to boost academic performance by offering mentoring, counseling, healthcare, and other wraparound services that extend well beyond the classroom.

The report itself, unfortunately, looks very little — if at all — at the importance of parents being involved in developing plans on how community schools can be developed. Of course, that’s a shortcoming of most, though not all, community school programs.

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