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.  

    During the annual, beginning of the year Parent Orientation Drive By Day, our plan is explained within a PowerPoint presentation. Portions of this plan and specific events are also  communicated to parents via parent letters, school newsletters, and parent meetings. The plan is  also posted on the school’s website and in the student planner. 

    (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 view our plan on the school website or have access to it on site. Periodic updates are made as needed to reflect school needs based on data gleaned from our annual Family and  Community Engagement survey results. Input from parents through our parent and community  group is also encouraged. 

    (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.  

    Evidence such as agenda/minutes, attendance rosters, and communication is collected for  documentation. 

    (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 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. Jones Cove Elementary School’s administration and teachers schedule conferences in morning, afternoon, and evening hours to accommodate different schedules. Teachers at Jones Cove Elementary School communicate their availability to parents for discussions or phone conferences before school, during their planning time, and after school hours to accommodate different schedules.

    (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 schoolwide 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.

    Our Parent Advisory Council or Parent Teacher Organization, which is comprised of the principal, 2 teachers, 1 instructional assistant, and 4 parent representatives, meets (monthly). This group 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 school newsletters and the school’s website. The Parent  Involvement Policy will be distributed at the beginning-of-the-year parent meetings/parent orientation. Jones Cove Elementary School’s Prioritization Committee was originally formed to review school assessment data and the content of the current school improvement plan as well as make  decisions impacting school priorities for improvement. Our parent teacher organization has 4 parent representatives who serve on this committee.

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

    In order to communicate regularly with families Jones Cove Elementary School sends:

    • Information during the first week of school identifying opportunities for families to volunteer and become involved.
    • A school handbook/planner containing important information and school procedures is available  to all families through our school website.
    • A paper copy of this handbook/planner is provided to  all families upon enrollment.
    • 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 principal to discuss these important issues.
    • Weekly or monthly grade-level newsletters to families.
    • Students in K-8 use grade-appropriate planners to communicate with families on a daily basis.
    • Our principal publishes school newsletters via our school website every other week. Paper copies are available to parents who do not have internet access. Portions of these newsletters are translated for Hispanic speaking parents.
    • The Sevier County School System’s webmaster uses the district website to communicate with  families.
    • In addition to important school dates, events, and reminders, parents may 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 parents with 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 and assessment are communicated to our families:

    Curriculum - Teachers send newsletters highlighting current curricular focus to parents. The curriculum is also discussed with parents at our fall Open House, at grade-level parent meetings, and at our Parent Night event. At the beginning of each school year, each parent receives 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.

    Assessment - The principal and teachers review the prior year’s test results. Brochures and letters are sent home accompanying State Test results as soon as it is feasible. If parents have questions about the results, they schedule meetings with the principal or teacher.

    (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 Jones Cove 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 administrator 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 carry through with recommendations, suggestions, and requests for help made by parents.

    (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 Jones Cove Elementary School. Parent representatives on the Prioritization Team, parents on the SIP committees, and parents representing our Parent Advisory Council/Parent Teacher Organization provide input. These groups meet periodically throughout the school year. Family and community members can submit comments via a link on the school wide program on the district’s website at https://www.sevier.org/domain/183.

    (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 within 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 our school administrator at different times of day. Our administrator discusses current changes/results in regard to data and the school’s areas of success and areas of greatest need at monthly (PTA organization) meetings or other times, as needed. Our administrator informs families of celebrations, curricular changes/needs, and upcoming assessments through newsletters 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 presented annually to families:

    • Title I parent materials are placed in a “Parent Resource Center.”
    • Parent training sessions are held by our (school guidance counselor) at different times of day on topics requested by parents or listed as a need on parent surveys.
    • "Technology Night” - Families rotate through teacher-led stations learning about the use of Promethean Boards, document cameras, Virtual fieldtrips, and school and teacher websites.
    • Parent Involvement activities are held by school representatives during after-school hours. Some examples include: WARM (Writing, Arts, Reading, Music) Literacy Night, Grade-Level Reading Olympics.
    • “Book a Lunch with a Special Friend,” during lunch times during Book Fair Week, READ 180 Intervention night, and a theme-based night activity offers opportunities to reinforce literacy.

    (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 Jones Cove faculty and staff research and brainstorm on-going ideas on how to increase and promote family participation, collaboration, and contribution. The following are examples:

    • K-8 use grade-appropriate student planners to communicate daily with families.
    • Newsletters are sent home weekly and/or monthly from classroom teachers.
    • Newsletters are sent home monthly by the administrator.
    • Email communication is used between parents, administrator, and teachers.
    • Conferences between parents/teachers/administrator occur as needed.
    • The school website address is communicated to parents in the beginning-of-the-year information  packet.

    The website includes information on the following:

    • School motto, mission statement, beliefs, and vision
    • Student handbook
    • Celebrations of students, faculty, and staff
    • Accelerated Reader information
    • School calendar and important dates
    • 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. Staff members participate in presentations designed to inform all staff members of the value in active parent involvement.

    (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 Jones Cove Elementary School’s future parents.
    • Many staff members and parent 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 “the life of a kindergartener” during the spring semester of the year.
    • Prior to kindergarten enrollment Kindergarten teachers visit the Head Start program to meet with parents to discuss the transition into Kindergarten.

    The Pre-K teacher at Jones Cove Elementary plans with Kindergarten teachers to understand  Kindergarten expectations. Her instruction is driven by her understanding of the entry-level  expectations for these students. Each Pre-K child becomes familiar with the building, the staff, and the school expectations. Pre-K students participate in all school-wide assemblies and  programs. The Pre-K teacher is closely involved with families through monthly family events held outside the school day which include picnics, literacy nights, or other outings to help establish rapport and strong school/family relationships to support school success.

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

    Every effort is made to assist our parents with limited English proficiency. Many district/school documents are available in both English and Spanish. Translators are brought in to interpret during meetings with 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. Childcare is provided for many parent/guardian events. The school staff and the Parent Advisory Council/Parent Teacher Organization also seek to actively involve parents with opportunities to volunteer within the school and provide a mentor to help these parents by providing support or translation.

    (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.