2020-2021 Parent & Family Engagement Policy

  • The written school Parent and Family Engagement Policy establishes the school's expectations 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 annual Title I meeting is an explanation of the Title 1, Part A program. The family engagement plan is embedded in a powerpoint for stakeholder review at the virtual annual Title I meeting. Additional events/activities are communicated to parents via stakeholder meetings, parent letters, school newsletters, and school communications.

    (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 request a hard copy of the plan at any time. 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 (virtual and in-person), 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. Pittman Center Elementary School's administration and teachers schedule conferences both virtually and in-person at various times to accommodate different schedules. Teachers at Pittman Center 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 composed of the principal, teachers, instructional assistants, and parent representatives, meets frequently. 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, remind, and the school's website. The Parent Involvement Policy will be distributed at the virtual annual Title I meeting.

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

    In order to communicate regularly with families, Pittman Center Elementary School communicates in a variety of ways. 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-6 use grade-appropriate planners to communicate with families on a daily basis. Our principal publishes monthly school newsletters. These newsletters are available via hardcopy and email if necessary. Pittman Center also uses the Remind messaging system and Twitter to communicate digitally to parents events and announcements. 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. 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, as well as behavior via Classroom Dojo.

    (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:

    In regard to curriculum: Teachers send newsletters highlighting current curricular focus to parents. The curriculum is also discussed with parents at our orientation, at grade-level parent meetings, and at our Parent Night events. 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.

    In regard to 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 can schedule meetings with the principal or teacher. Parents also receive information regarding other assessments such as CASE periodically throughout the year. Student data is also discussed during parent-teacher conferences.

    (8) Per parent request-opportunities for regular meetings (virtual and in-person) 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 Pittman Center 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.

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

    Parent comments are always welcome at Pittman Center Elementary School. All parents are encouraged and welcome to join the PTO. PTO members, parents present at stakeholder meetings, and on the SIP committees provide additional 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.

    (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 by grade level teachers at times that are requested by parents and various times throughout the school year. Our administrator discusses current changes/results in regard to data and the school's areas of success and areas of greatest need at monthly (PTO 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 available at the school.
    • Parent training sessions are held by our school faculty at different times throughout the year on topics requested by parents or listed as a need on parent surveys.
    • "Technology Night" - Families participate in teacher-led stations learning about the use of Chromebooks, web-based grading tools, and web-based communication tools.
    • Parent Involvement activities are held by school representatives during after-school hours. Some examples include: Technology night (PreK-6) and Literacy Night (PreK-2), and Math Night (3-6).

    (13) Building capacity for involvement- Staff are educated, with the assistance of parents and the Title I family engagement coordinator, 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, and build ties between parents and the school.

    In addition to attending staff development opportunities relating to family engagement, the Pittman Center faculty and staff research and brainstorm on-going ideas with the Title-I family engagement coordinator on how to increase and promote family participation, collaboration, and contribution. The following are examples:

    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. 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 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.

    (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 in school programs and throughout the community, such as Head Start, public preschool, and the family resource center, to 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 Pittman Center Elementary School's future parents. Staff members and parent volunteers ar 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 Pittman Center 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 a variety of communications and family events held outside the school day which include picnics, literacy night, 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. Our district/school website offers translation in multiple languages for parents and families. Translators are available 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 is disseminated to families, is communicated in the language and method that the parent can understand, to the extent practicable. Childcare is provided for many parent/guardian events. The school staff and the 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.