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 Night, 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. (Orientation Night was handled virtually due to pandemic) 

    (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. 

    During the annual, beginning of the year Parent Orientation Night, 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. (Orientation Night was handled virtually due to 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 during- and after-school opportunities to be involved and engaged in our school operations.
    • Sevierville Middle School’s administration and teachers schedule conferences in morning, afternoon, and evening hours to accommodate different schedules.

    Teachers at Sevierville Middle 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. 

    Sevierville Middle School has several ways for parents to be involved in the planning, review, and improvement of programs.

    • Parents are asked to volunteer for school improvement committees that meet monthly after school (school healthy team, school data team, school rewards, school improvement, and community involvement)
    • All parents are asked to join our Parent Teacher organization that also meets monthly 

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

    In order to communicate regularly with families:

    • Sevierville Middle School distributes information during the Parent Orientation Meeting identifying opportunities for families to volunteer and become involved.
    • A school handbook/planner containing important information is given to each student.
    • A parent orientation is 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 the opportunity to meet with classroom teachers and principal to discuss these important issues.
    • Each team sends a school newsletter home every three weeks to inform them of school information.
    • Students in 6-8 use grade-appropriate 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, 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. The webmaster at Sevierville Middle School keeps and updated webpage with all the important dates for school. Each grade level of teachers maintain a webpage which includes important school information and assignments.
    • 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 and students have access to an online grading system that allows students and parents to see their progress at any given time.

    (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. 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. Teachers of core classes also have a course syllabi located on the school’s webpage. 

    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 schedule meetings with the principal or teacher. Students that are participating in Intervention Programs receive progress reports every six weeks.

    (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 Sevierville Middle 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. (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 Sevierville Middle School. Parent representatives on the Prioritization Team, parents on the school improvement committees, and parents representing our Parent Teacher Organization provide input. These groups meet periodically throughout the school year. Family and community members can submit comment vial 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.

    A parent school compact is developed and reviewed during school improvement committees that are help throughout the year.

    (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.

    • Our Principal discusses current changes/results in regard to data and the school’s areas of success and areas of greatest need at monthly (PT0 organization) meetings or other times, as needed.
    • Our administrator informs families of celebrations, curricular changes/needs, and upcoming assessments through newsletters, Remind 101, BrightArrow and the school’s website. ● A parent or guardian can schedule a conference with teachers or administration at anytime to discuss achievement or any other areas of concern.

    (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:

    Parent Involvement activities are held by school representatives through out the year. Some examples include: Read 180 explanations, Read 180 Parent Night, Navigating the Sevier County School’s and Sevierville Middle School website, navigating Gradebook wizard, understanding standardized testing, Google Chromebook trainings as response to 1:1 initiative ,Response to Intervention and various other topics as needed. (Most meeting will be held virtually due to pandemic) 

    (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 Sevierville Middle School faculty and staff research and brainstorm on-going ideas on how to increase and promote family participation, collaboration, and contribution.

    • Students at SMS use grade-appropriate student planners to communicate daily with families.
    • Team newsletters are sent home every three weeks. Email communication is used between parents, administrators, 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
      • Sevier County Schools calendar and important dates
      • Roster of faculty and staff with communication links via email
    • Parent Orientation 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 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:

    • Fifth graders from SIS visit SMS in May to orientate themselves to the new school. These steps serve to ease the transition from SIS to Sevierville Middle School.
    • SMS hold a freshman-orientation night each March to help eighth grade students start the 4-year planning process to SCHS.
    • SMS eighth grade students visit SCHS to become familiar with the building and clubs

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

    Sevierville Middle School will use teachers and Beta Students to help with childcare and transportation will be worked with on a case by case as requested by the parents. 

    (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. 

    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. Sevierville Middle School also has an interpreter on campus 2 days a week to aid with communication with both students and parents. Home School Connection” newsletters, available in both English and Spanish, is linked to the Parent Resource section of our school website, and is also sent home monthly to all families.