2020-2021 Parent & Family Engagement Policy

  • The written school Parent and Family Engagement Policy establishes the school’s expectation for Parent and Family Engagement and describes how the school will build the school and parent capacity for strong parent and family engagement. This plan includes all federal requirements, was developed with and agreed upon with parents, distributed to parents, and is being implemented.

    (1) Parents shall be notified of the policy in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, provided in a language the parents can understand.

    The policy is discussed and reviewed during our annual parent orientation/open house night. Sections of the plan and specific school events are communicated to parents during this initial meeting. Parents also have access to updated policy information on the school website, classroom letters, school newsletters, and parent meetings.

    (2) Such policy shall be made available to the local community and updated periodically to meet the changing needs of parents and the school.

    Parents can review our plan on the school website or retain a hard copy from the school office. Necessary updates are made to reflect the latest data and surveys. This policy is also updated as information on the Covid-19 Pandemic dictates.

    (3) The school will convene an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents of participating children shall be invited and encouraged to attend, to inform parents of their school's participation under this part and to explain the requirements of this part, and the right of the parents to be involved.

    Caton’s Chapel begins each year with a parent orientation/open house night. This event is heavily attended and provides the best opportunity to hold an annual meeting to review Title 1 participation and parents’ rights to be involved. Documentation, such as agendas and attendance rosters is collected for evidence of participation. Due to Covid-19, Caton’s Chapel had a drive-by orientation to open the 2020 school year. Teachers and staff answered questions concerning the opening of school during the pandemic.

    (4) The school offers a flexible number of meetings, such as meetings in the morning or evening, and may provide, with funds provided under this part, transportation, child care, or home visits, as such services relate to parental involvement.

    Since a large percentage of our student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch, we  continually take measures to accommodate families from diverse backgrounds. We offer our  families before, during, and after school opportunities to be involved and engaged in our school operations. We provide academic support to students needing remediation before school and  after school to accommodate different schedules. Caton’s Chapel Elementary School’s  administration and teachers schedule conferences during morning, afternoon, and evening hours  to accommodate different schedules. Additionally, teachers at Caton’s Chapel communicate their  availability to parents for discussions or phone conferences before school, during their planning  time, and after school hours to accommodate different schedules. With the Covid-19 Pandemic,  teachers also communicate with parents and students through Google Meet.

    (5) Parents are involved in an organized, ongoing, and timely way, in the planning, review, and improvement of programs under this part, including the planning, review, and improvement of the school parental involvement policy and the joint development of the school-wide program plan under section 1114(b)(2), except that if a school has in place a process for involving parents in the joint planning and design of the school's programs, the school may use that process, if such process includes an adequate representation of parents of participating children.

    Caton’s Chapel Community Club, which is comprised of administration, teachers, instructional assistants, parents, and community members meets monthly. This group along with our Leadership Team developed the Parent Involvement Policy based on identified needs, input from families, and results from the annual Parent and Community Engagement Survey. Decisions and actions are communicated through classroom newsletters, social media, Remind app, and the school’s website. The Parent Involvement Policy is distributed at the annual Title 1 Meeting and parent orientation. Caton’s Chapel Elementary School’s Leadership Team reviews school assessment data and the current school improvement plan and make decisions impacting school priorities for improvement. Our parent teacher organization has parent representatives who serve on this team. With the Covid-19 Pandemic restricting in person meetings, Caton’s Chapel Community Club plans to hold meetings via Google Meet to allow as many parents as possible to participate.

    (6) The school provides parents of participating children timely information about programs under Title I.

    In order to communicate regularly with families, Caton’s Chapel Elementary School sends home the following:

    • Information identifying opportunities for families to become involved in their students’ academic success and tips to help students achieve.
    • The school’s social media page and communication app remind parents of important upcoming dates and programs related to the school.
    • A school handbook containing important information and school procedures is sent home with each student and available on our school’s website.
    • Grade-level parent meetings are held to communicate class schedules, attendance, use of assignment books, and expectations for student learning and behavior. Parents who are unable to attend are provided with alternate dates and times to meet with classroom teachers and administration in person or through Google Meet to discuss these important issues.
    • Weekly and/or monthly grade-level newsletters sent to families.
    • Students in K-6 use grade-appropriate planners to communicate with families on a daily basis.
    • The Sevier County School System utilizes a district website to communicate with families. In addition to important school dates, events, and reminders, parents can use the Parent Link section found on our district’s website. This link provides parents with many resources for parental involvement, homework help, parenting tips, etc.
    • Each teacher maintains a web page containing announcements, homework assignments, and other important information.
    • Teachers provide parents with their email addresses in order to provide an easy form of communication.
    • Teachers send home progress reports and six week report cards to inform parents of their child’s academic performance. Parents may also check student grades online via Gradebook Wizard. 

    (7) The school provides parents of participating children a description and explanation of the curriculum in use at the school, the forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet.

    The following are ways that curriculum, academic assessment, and proficiency levels are communicated to our families:

    Curriculum - The curriculum is discussed with parents at our Beginning of the Year Orientation and grade-level parent meetings. Parents are given a copy of the Parents’ Guide to the Curriculum which outlines what their child is expected to know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. Additionally, teachers send newsletters to parents highlighting the current curricular focus.

    Assessment and Proficiency Levels - Administration and teachers review the prior year’s test results. Brochures and letters are sent home accompanying TNReady Test results. Proficiency levels are discussed at parent-teacher conferences and/or at another meeting time convenient for the parents. Parents also receive information regarding Benchmark and Common Assessments periodically throughout the year that inform parents of their student’s proficiency level.

    (8) Per parent request opportunities for regular meetings to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions relating to the education of their children, and respond to any suggestions as soon as practically possible.

    When a child is experiencing difficulty, teachers at Caton’s Chapel Elementary School conference with parents to discuss how to motivate the child, offer suggestions for remediation/enrichment, and solicit help and support from home. Similarly, when a parent requests a meeting with teachers, they come together with the administration to listen to the views and challenges faced by the parent and offer suggestions and/or accommodations to best meet the needs of the student. The teachers and support staff work together to implement a plan created from the recommendations, suggestions, and requests for help made by parents, teachers, and administrators.

    (9) A process is in place to submit parent comments on the school wide program (SIP) if it is not satisfactory to the parents when the school makes the plan available to the district/LEA.

    Parent comments are always welcome at Caton’s Chapel Elementary School. Parent representatives on the Leadership Team, parents on the SIP committees, and parents representing our Community Club offer input. Caton’s Chapel Community Club holds discussions about any concerns during meetings.

    (10) A parent school compact is jointly developed with parents and describes the responsibilities of each stakeholder as required by ESSA Sec. 1116.

    Parents receive this parent school compact in the beginning of the year packet to sign and return. These compacts are kept on file at the school.

    (11) Building capacity for involvement - Assistance is provided to parents in understanding topics such as the State’s academic content standards, State student academic achievement standards, State and local academic assessments, and how to monitor a child’s progress and work with educators to improve student achievement.

    Parent training sessions are held by school administrators and teachers as needed. Administrators discuss current changes/results in regard to data and the school’s areas of success and areas of greatest need at monthly Community Club meetings and/or other times as needed. The administration informs families of celebrations, curricular changes/needs, and upcoming assessments through school and classroom newsletters, social media and apps, and the school’s website.

    (12) Building capacity for involvement- Materials and training are provided to help parents work with their children to improve their achievement, such as literacy training and using technology to foster parent and family engagement.

    The following opportunities are given to parents throughout the year:

    • Title 1 parent materials are sent home and placed in the “Parent Resource Center”.
    • Parent training sessions are held by administration, teachers, and guidance counselor at various times of the day in person and through Google Meet on topics requested by parents or listed as a need on parent surveys.
    • Teachers inform parents of various technology programs utilized in their classroom and/or available on ClassLink and how parents can best help children at home.
    • Remote Learning Orientation is held at the beginning of the school year explaining expectations and how the program works at each individual grade level.
    • Remote Learning Parent Training will be held after the beginning of the school year to instruct parents in ways to help their children be successful using remote learning.
    • Parents will be given a brief overview of the process and then allowed to ask questions and receive help in any area in which they have been struggling.

    (13) Building capacity for involvement - Staff are educated, with the assistance of parents, in the value and contributions of parents, and in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with as equal partners, implement and coordinate parent programs, build ties between parents and the school.

    In addition to attending staff development opportunities relating to family engagement, the Caton’s Chapel faculty and staff research and brainstorm on-going ideas on how to increase and promote family participation, collaboration, and contribution. The following are examples:

    • Teachers participate in an extensive G Suite Training that teaches them how to use available Google apps to communicate with students and parents and then are issued a Chromebook to utilize with their classrooms.
    • Students in K-6 use grade-appropriate student planners to communicate daily with families.
    • Newsletters are sent home weekly and/or monthly from classroom teachers. Information about upcoming events is posted on the school’s social media and classroom remind apps. Email and Google Meet are also used to communicate between parents, administrators, and teachers.
    • Conferences between parents, teachers, and administrators occur each six weeks and as requested by parents.
    • The school website address is communicated to parents in the beginning of the year information packet. The website includes information on the following subjects: school motto, mission statement, beliefs, vision, student handbook, celebrations, school calendar, important dates, and roster of faculty and staff with communication links via email.
    • Grade-level parent meetings are held to communicate class schedules, attendance, use of student planners, and expectations for student learning and behavior. Parents who are unable to attend are provided with alternate dates and times to meet with classroom teachers.
    • Sevier County’s parent involvement coordinator trains staff members on the value of active parent involvement and various ways to achieve this.

    (14) Building capacity for involvement - To the extent feasible and appropriate, Title I-A parent and family engagement programs are coordinated and integrated with parent involvement activities with Head Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, Even Start, , the Home Instruction Programs for Preschool Youngsters, the Parents as Teachers Program, and public preschool and other programs, and conduct other activities, such as parent resource centers, that encourage and support parents in more fully participating in the education of their children.

    In an effort to smooth the transition from home to school for young children, the following measures are in place:

    • Kindergarten registration is an opportunity to welcome future parents to our building,  gather paperwork, communicate needs, and positively begin a relationship with Caton’s  Chapel Elementary School’s future parents. Many staff members and volunteers are  involved in this process.
    • Students entering Kindergarten in the fall begin on a staggered attendance schedule. The use of this schedule serves to ease the transition from Pre-K or home to Kindergarten classes.
    • Pre-K students visit the kindergarten classroom for a portion of one day to see “a day in  the life of a kindergartener” during the spring semester of the year prior to kindergarten enrollment. 

    (15) Building capacity for involvement - Provide other reasonable support for Parent and Family Engagement activities per parent request. (Example: transportation, childcare)

    Childcare is provided for parent/guardian events as needed. The school staff and the school’s Community Club seek to actively involve parents with opportunities to volunteer within the school and provide a mentor to help parents with small children by providing support.

    (16) Accessibility-Local educational agencies and schools, to the extent practicable, shall provide full opportunities for the participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, and parents of migratory children, including providing information and school reports in a format and, to the extent practicable, in a language parents understand.

    Parent meetings are conducted throughout the school year or on an as needed basis providing  parents with information concerning their child’s education, materials to practice and support  identified skills relative to their child’s learning, and tips for parents, while fostering a positive  relationship between the home and school environment. Two-way communication involves a  variety of media such as phone calls, emails, and person-to-person conferencing. Every effort is made to assist our parents with limited English proficiency. Many school/district documents are  available in both English and Spanish. Translators are brought in to interpret during meetings for families with limited English Proficiency as needed. Faculty, staff, or other volunteers are also  available to assist parents in reading forms and completing paperwork. Information disseminated  to families is sent in clear, simple English. Forms are often sent home in English and in Spanish  versions where applicable.