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. Since we are doing a drive up Orientation with pandemic concerns, the powerpoint will be copied and placed in a folder for the parents to review. Portions of this plan and specific events are also communicated to parents via parent letters, school newsletters, and parent meetings, family engagement events (virtual and/or in person). The plan is also available in the front office via hard copy upon request.
(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 have access to our plan on site and virtually through a variety of school communications. Periodic updates are made as needed to reflect school needs based on data gleaned from our annual Parent and Family and 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/or 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. We provide academic support to students needing remediation before-school and after- school to accommodate different schedules. Wearwood Elementary School’s administration and teachers schedule conferences in morning, afternoon, and evening hours to accommodate different schedules. Teachers at Wearwood 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, classroom teachers, instructional assistants, and parent representatives, meets (monthly). This group developed the Parent and Family Engagement Policy based on identified needs, input from families, and results from the annual Parent and Family Engagement Survey. Decisions and actions are communicated through school newsletters and the school’s website. The Parent and Family Engagement Policy will be distributed at the beginning-of-the-year parent meetings/parent orientation. Wearwood 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 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 Wearwood Elementary School 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 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 parent and family engagement, 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 Jupitergrades.
(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 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.
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. Parents also receive information regarding other assessments such as STAR Reading/Math periodically 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.
When a child is experiencing difficulty, teachers at Wearwood Elementary 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 Wearwood 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.
(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, the school’s website, and other school communications such as Remind, Facebook, and Twitter.
(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 and blended learning coach) 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 and Family Engagement activities are held by school representatives during after-school hours. Some examples include: Virtual Learning Workshops, WARM (Writing, Arts, Reading, Music) Literacy Night, GradeLevel 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 parent and family engagement, the Wearwood Elementary 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-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, 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 o 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 and Family Engagement.
(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 Wearwood 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
(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. The school and district website offer an option to translate the information into multiple languages. 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, virtual and person-to person conferencing, as well as other school social media like Remind, Twitter, and Facebook.