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.
Portions of this plan and specific events are also communicated to parents through parent letters, school newsletters, and parent meetings. The plan is also posted on the school website and in the student planner. Translated documents are available in Spanish and we have three faculty members who are bi-lingual and regularly translate.
(2) Such policy shall be made available to the local community and updated periodically to meet the changing needs of parents and the school.
Stakeholders are able to view the Parent and Family Engagement plan and policy, located on the school website, at their convenience. 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.
The annual meeting is held in conjunction with the school orientation at the beginning of the school year. Parents and students are encouraged to attend. Evidence of these meetings include agendas and attendance rosters.
(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.
Based on our school demographics, PFJHS makes every effort to accommodate families from diverse backgrounds. We offer our families during and after-school opportunities to be involved and engaged in our school operations. Pigeon Forge Junior High School’s administration and teachers schedule conferences in morning, afternoon, and evening hours to accommodate differing schedules. Teachers at PFJHS communicate their availability to parents for discussions or phone conferences before-school, during their planning time, and after-school hours.
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.
The Parent Teacher Organization, which is comprised of the administration, teachers and staff, and parent representatives meet regularly throughout the school year. This group works together to provide input for the Parent Involvement Policy based on identified needs, input from families, and results from the annual Parent and Community Engagement Survey. Decisions and actions can be communicated through the school website.
(6) The school provides parents of participating children timely information about programs under Title I.
In order to communicate clearly and effectively, in a timely manner, PFJH sends home: 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 are available on the school website. A paper copy of the planner/handbook is given to each student upon enrollment. (Virtual) Classroom 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 to discuss these important issues. Students in grades 5-8 use planners to communicate with families on a daily basis. The Sevier County School System’s webmaster uses the district website to communicate with families. In addition to important school dates, events, and reminders, there are many other resources located on the district site. This site provides parents with many resources for parental involvement, homework help, parent tips, etc. Teachers provide parents with their email addresses in order to provide parents with an easy form of communication. Teachers, as well as the school, utilize the Remind App, which enables teachers to text message parents information. 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 through the Skyward.
(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 have created a syllabus which highlights standards, pacing, major projects, and units of study for each course. The curriculum is also discussed with parents at our fall orientation, grade-level parent meetings, and our parent night events throughout the year. 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: When assessment results are available, the administration and teachers review the prior year’s test results. Brochures and letters are sent home accompanying state test results in a timely manner. If parents have questions about the results, they schedule meetings with the administration or teachers. Parents also receive information regarding other assessment such as CASE Benchmark testing and classroom assessment throughout the year.
(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.
Teachers and parents have an open line of communication regarding educational decisions for students. Conferences are held throughout the year as well as upon request by the teacher or parent. The goal of the conferences are to make educational decisions that are in the best interest of the student. Teachers at PFJH contact parents regularly, and are able to communicate clearly regarding the progress and/or concerns they may have.
(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 feedback is always welcome at Pigeon Forge Junior High School. Parent representatives from the 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.
(10) A parent school compact is jointly developed with parents and describes the responsibilities of each stakeholder as required by ESSA Sec. 1116.
(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 during parent/teacher conference times as part of our parent involvement plan. Special Education, Interventionists, ELL teachers, and special area teachers offer insight into various programs and provide parent resources on various academic and social topics. Our administrator discusses current changes/results in regard to data and the school’s area of success and areas of greatest need at Parent Teacher Organization meetings. Our administration informs families of celebrations, curricular changes/needs, and upcoming assessments through messages on Remind, informational flyers sent home throughout the year, and the school 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 various teachers at different times of day on topics requested by parents or listed as a need on parent surveys.
- Parent Involvement activities are held by school representatives during after-school hours. Some examples include: Book Fair, intervention nights, talks on ELL resources, and hands-on usage of technology resources.
(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 PFMS faculty and staff research on-going ideas on how to increase and promote family participation, collaboration, and contribution. The following are examples:
- Students in grades 5-8 use student planners to communicate daily with families.
- Newsletters and informational flyers are sent home at various times both from classroom teachers and administration.
- Email communication is used between parents, administrators, and teachers. Conferences between parents, teachers, and administrators 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
(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.
PFJH does not house Head Start, pre-K, or kindergarten students.
(15) Building capacity for involvement- Provide other reasonable support for Parent and Family Engagement activities per parent request. (Example: transportation, childcare)
PFJHS holds parent involvement activities during parent/teacher conference times. Since many of our parents work multiple jobs, and sometimes have difficulty finding childcare and transportation, PFJH plans activities concurrently in hopes that stakeholders will be able to attend. Every effort is made to assist our parents with limited English proficiency through the use of translators and translated documents. Translators are available during the school day, as well as during conferences and parent meetings. Faculty and staff are available to assist parents in reading forms and completing paperwork. Forms are sent home in English and in Spanish. While childcare is not provided, children are welcome to come to events and meetings. The school staff and the Parent Teacher Organization also seeks to actively involve parents with opportunities to volunteer within the school and 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.
At PFJH, every effort is made to assist our families with limited English proficiency. Many district/school documents are available in both English and Spanish. Translators are brought in to interpret during meetings. Faculty and staff are also available to assist parents in reading forms and completing paperwork. We currently have 3 faculty members that are fluent in Spanish. Forms are sent home in English and Spanish. “Home School Connections” newsletter, available in both Spanish and English, sent home monthly to all families.