Large Florida District Creates App For Parents

Pinellas schools hope app engages parents is an article from a Florida newspaper about a large school district creating a smartphone app for students.

Here’s how it begins:

Pinellas County schools have launched a new smartphone application meant to encourage parents to play a more active role in their children’s education.

The “PCS Family Engagement Mobile App” has a link for every Pinellas school and gives parents information on academic standards, student scholarships and ways to get involved in their child’s education. Links in the app provide “How To” videos to help children be successful in school, parent workshops and support groups, information on upcoming events, ways to volunteer in the district and family engagement tips.

The free app, available for Apple and Android devices, allows users to message teachers and other school officials directly, sends users notifications and adds events to the phone’s calendar.

I’m adding this info to A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Using Technology To Help Engage Parents.

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New York City Mayor Vows Community Schools Expansion

New York City Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a huge increase in the number of Community Schools in the city.

You can read about his announcement in these two articles:

De Blasio Unveils New Plans for Troubled Schools in New York

Read Mayor Bill de Blasio’s speech outlining a $150M plan for school improvement is from Chalkbeat.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

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Home Visits Are “about identifying parents and teachers as “co-educators”

All in the Family: How Teacher Home Visits Can Lead to School Transformation is an excellent article in NEA Today.

Here’s an excerpt:

This isn’t “parent involvement,” in the form of Valentine’s Day parties, or “parent communication,” in the form of one-way emails. Rather, this is about identifying parents and teachers as “co-educators,” who share respective knowledge about that student. It’s about helping teachers become culturally aware and parents seriously involved in their child’s education.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits.

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Dumb Virginia Law Gets Thrown-Out: Bringing Kids To School Late Is Not A Crime

A Virginia court has ruled that parents cannot be charged with a crime if their kids come to school late.

Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post article, Va. Supreme Court: Parents can’t be charged when kids are late to school:

The court’s decision stemmed from a 2012 case in Loudoun County in which Maureen Blake, a divorced mother of three, was convicted of three misdemeanor charges for her children’s lateness and fined $1,000 for each count. Millette wrote in his decision that each charge was based on five instances in which the children, then ages 8, 10 and 11, were late, generally by about five to 20 minutes.

Blake stated that some of the tardiness was attributable to one child’s struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems on the part of the children or Blake’s own ADHD, for which she was receiving treatment.

What a dumb prosecution of a dumb law. Jeez, if our schools took to court every parent whose kids were five to twenty minutes late five times a year, we’d have a zillion court cases. More importantly, it would likely mean instead of their being late, they just wouldn’t come to school that day at all. Plus, it will really generate a lot of positive feelings among parents — NOT!

Even though it’s been thrown-out, I’ve still got to add it to The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas.

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“Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Award Call for Nominations”

Here’s an excerpt from their press announcement:

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), together with long-time partner Toyota, seeks out the nation’s most exemplary teachers that engage families in education.

The Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Award celebrates teachers who are dedicated to including more than one generation in the educational process. An exemplary educator’s school or program will receive a $20,000 prize to further efforts to engage families in learning together and join an elite group of educators across the country that have been recognized as such for nearly two decades.

Every nominee will represent success stories of bringing families into the learning process, and NCFL and Toyota will recognize a second prize winner with a $2,500 prize.

You can’t nominate yourself. Nominations can be made online here.

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It Looks Like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Might Be Getting Serious About Parent Engagement

Can CMS get more parents involved in educating our children? is the headline of an article in Charlotte’s newspaper about a meeting District staff had with Karen Mapp, one of the most respected experts around on parent engagement.

Here’s an excerpt:

Her message was simple: If districts truly want parents to be engaged, they must do a better job of inviting them in and listening to what parents say they need and want. And this effort, she said, must extend beyond the schools to include the entire district.

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Heinz Foundation Puts Big Money Into What Actually Might Be Effective Parent Engagement

The Heinz Endowments have just made a $600,000 commitment to parent engagement in Pittsburgh. And what’s particularly promising about it is that they’re doing it in partnership with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, a group that has a good grasp of parent engagement (as opposed to parent involvement).

Read about it at How can more Pittsburgh parents become engaged in their kids’ education?

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Mississippi Parents Organize For Adequate State School Funding

Parent groups in Mississippi are spearheading a drive for a state constitutional amendment to force the legislature to adequately fund schools.

It sounds like a pretty challenging, innovative and, so far, successful campaign.

You can read more about it at Learning First’s post, Parents, Educators and Communities Working Together To Make a Commitment to Children.

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Ridiculous British Rules On Parents Taking Kids Out Of School Face Growing Opposition

I’ve previously written a number of posts about the British prohibitions against parents taking their children out of school for vacations and events when class is in session.

It’s now facing growing opposition.

You can read more at these two articles:

Ban on term time holidays should be overturned, say council leaders is from The Guardian.

Parents must be allowed to take children out of school for holidays, council leaders say is from The Telegraph.

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Nice Article On Making Home Visits — From “Teaching Tolerance”

Meet 
the Family is a good article form Teaching Tolerance about teachers making home visits.

Here’s an excerpt:

The social, emotional and academic benefits of home visits are well documented and widely acknowledged. But although the number of teachers doing home visits across the country is steadily growing, the consistency with which these visits are conducted varies greatly, a fact that limits the scope of their impact. More administrators, however, are taking note of the importance of home visits and grappling with the scalability challenge: How can a school or district launch and maintain a successful home-visit program that benefits all students?

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits.

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New York Times Article On Parent Fundraising For Schools

Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds is the headline of a New York Times article on parent fundraising for schools.

Here’s an excerpt:

The inequities in local philanthropic fund-raising, which is unregulated and tax-deductible for donors, mirror the growth in wealth among the richest 1 percent over all, said Rob Reich, an associate professor of political philosophy at Stanford University. The energy that parents expend raising money for their own children’s school, he said, “comes at the potential expense of their political engagement on a broader basis to actually get public dollars to be enough for all kids.”

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Parent Fundraising & Equity Issues.

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New National Parent Involvement Group Forms

You’ll definitely want to read the post, New National Group Aims to Advance Family-School Engagement Efforts, over at Education Week.

Here’s how it begins:

Some of the nation’s leading advocates and practitioners of family, school, and community engagement have joined forces to found a new organization to elevate their efforts to a higher level of influence in discussions about improving student achievement.

The new National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) hopes to lead efforts to garner much-needed financial and legislative support for an issue that many acknowledge is heralded as a crucial component of school improvement but is often neglected. The organization also will work to strengthen the network of family engagement experts and researchers nationwide to share best practices and develop more research-based policies in the field.

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It Sounds Like California’s First & Only Parent Trigger School Is A Disaster

Adelanto Report Card: Year Zero of the Parent Trigger Revolution is from Capital and Main, and paints a devastating picture of life at California’s first and only school that has been initiated by using the parent trigger law.

It’s a must-read…..

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools.

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