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Making the Connection: Engaging Families to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities


Making the Connection: Engaging Families to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities 2013 Families may have varying cultural expectations, i.e., some cultures ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Making the Connection: Engaging Families to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

Making the Connection Engaging Families to
Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities
  • 2013

ecacEmpowering Families Improving Lives
  • Individual Assistance
  • Workshops on a variety of topics
  • Toll free Parent Info Line
  • Lending Libraries
  • Newsletters
  • Information packets
  • Parent-to-Parent Support
  • Assistance to parent groups
  • Parent Training and Information Center (PTI)
  • NC Family to Family Health Information Center

The North Carolina State Improvement Project

Improving Instruction For Students With
  • To improve the quality of Instruction for
    students with disabilities.
  • Improve basic skills performance.
  • Increase the percentage of qualified teachers of
    students with disabilities.
  • Increase graduation rates and decrease dropout
  • Improve parent satisfaction and Involvement with,
    and support of, school services.
  • Improve the quality of teachers instructional

Why does your work with families
make a difference?
  • Families involvement in their childrens
    education stands out as one of the greatest
    predictors of growth and well-being for students
    with disabilities.
  • Elliott Mullins, 2004 Resch et al., 2010

Parent Involvement Benefits
  • Earn higher grades and better test scores
  • Enrolled in higher-level programs
  • Promoted more and pass more of their classes
  • Earn more class or course credits
  • Attend school more regularly, and drop-out less
  • Have better social skills and demonstrate better
    behavior and
  • Go on to postsecondary education or other
    productive life choices.
  • When parents are actively
  • engaged in their childrens
  • learning, students usually
  • benefit in the following ways
  • New Wave of Evidence The Impact of School,
    Family and Community Connection on Student
    Achievement, Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp

Schools that succeed in engaging families from
very diverse background share three key practices.
  • They focus on building trusting, collaborative
  • Schools recognize, respect and address familys
    needs, as well as cultural and class differences.
  • They embrace a philosophy of partnership where
    power and responsibility are shared.
  • Ann Henderson and Karen Mapp (2002)

The Joining ProcessKaren Mapp (2003)
  • Describes how schools can successfully develop a
    culture that honors and validates parents as true
    partners in their childs educational development
    that results in improved student learning.
  1. Welcoming
  2. Honoring
  3. Connecting

  • School facilities are welcoming.
  • Staff, parents and visitors greet each other in
    genuinely friendly ways.
  • School leaders, staff and parent groups are
    easily accessible.
  • School staff are responsive to the different
    backgrounds and cultures of families.
  • Families are made to feel a part of the school

  • The school community has a philosophy of true
    partnership, where power is shared.
  • Parents are given a real voice in governance,
    with representation from a diverse group of
  • The school solicits and listens to ideas and is
    responsive to diverse needs of families.
  • Family members are genuinely respected and
    affirmed for the contributions they make.

Research indicates
  • School personnel often treat poor families from a
    deficit perspective that becomes a barrier to
    family involvement.
  • Strengths-based approaches can foster the
    school-home connection.

Recognize the Roadblocks to Parent Engagement
  • Time
  • Not feeling welcomed
  • Not knowing how to contribute (whether at school
    or with child)
  • Educational background
  • Not understanding the system
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Language
  • Special needs
  • Economic and other needs

  • School staff and families put children at the
  • Work together on education issues designed to
    improve educational opportunities for the
  • School program/ events are linked to improved
    student learning
  • Equip parents with skills on how to help their
    children learn at home.
  • Families know that school staff care about their
    students and have high expectations.
  • School staff develop relationships with families.

Every family functions as a home learning
environment, regardless of its structure,
economic level, ethnic or cultural background.
Consequently, every family has the potential to
support and improve the academic achievement of
its children.Unknown
What do the numbers tell us?
  • School-aged children in the US
  • 32 are members of a single parent household
  • 18 live below the federal poverty level
  • 22 are members of an immigrant family (at least
    one parent)
  • 6 do not live with either parent
  • 41 do not have internet access
  • 31 do not have a computer at home
  • Teacher Demographics in the US
  • 80 are White
  • 79 are female
  • Median Age is 46
  • 56 have a masters degree

To begin
  • You MUST identify the meaning of the word
    family in your school
  • Anddesign your approach to include the families
    you dont know not just the ones you do.

  • The transmission approach
  • Is NOT effective in parent involvement programs
  • Knowledge emanates from an authority
  • The parent is an empty vessel, which the educator
  • One size fits all.
  • The transaction approach
  • Cooperative interactions between educator and
    parent works!
  • Opportunity to create a dialogue between
    educators and parents
  • Meeting parents where they are
  • Partnership and true collaboration.

Remember, Research Shows
  • The most effective family engagement /
    involvement activities are what the parent does
    at home.

What Parents Say
  • Tell us what our kids do.
  • Show us how to tell if our kids are doing well.
  • Explain how you teach skills, reading and math.
  • Show us some strategies to help our kids.
  • Tell us how our children will be assessed.
  • Let us know how we can help you.
  • Anne Henderson, Annenberg Institute for School

Reaching Out to Diverse Families
  • Actively welcome students and families.
  • Involve family / community who speak the native
  • Recruit staff volunteers who speak the same
  • Invite families to celebrate the schools
  • Give parents a school roadmap to learning
  • Hold classes for non-native English speakers.
  • Meet families where they are.

Instructions vs. Instruction
What type of information or support do teachers
need to effectively encourage involvement by
providing instruction not instructions?
  • Let him read for 15
  • minutes, and have him
  • read out loud so you can
  • hear him. And when he
  • makes mistakes, dont say
  • No, you know better than
  • that go in there and
  • sayI think youve
  • misread this and Lets go
  • over this.
  • This teachers response to a
  • question from a father is a
  • great example of effective
  • communication and
  • instructions.

Families may need information and guidance in how
to create language rich environments and
  • Consider family culture and language differences
    when creating strategies / activities.
  • Activities should help families see that reading
    and conversation about books can be FUN.
  • Technology is both a barrier to family
    interactions and an effective tool in creating

Examples of Instruction
  • Echo Reading
  • You read one line and the child reads the same
    line after you. Increase the number of lines you
    read as the childs reading improves. Try to
    echo read at least one story each week
  • Choral Reading
  • You and your child read the same text aloud
    together. Choral reading should be done at least
    2x per week.
  • Partner Reading
  • You and your child take turns reading. Start by
    reading one sentence and asking the child to read
    the next sentence. As the childs fluency
    improves, you read one page and he/she reads a
    page. Partner read once a week.
  • Repeated Reading
  • Read the same book or story more that once in the
    same week.

  • When you read with your child, use as much
    expression as you can so your reading sounds like
    speaking and the story comes alive.

Effective activities at home should be designed
  • Engage the family
  • Reinforce current classroom instruction
  • Review or practice basic skills
  • Challenge students who are ready to move forward

Reading and Math Activities at Home can be FUN
and we know they make a difference in a students
  • Remember, families say they need INSTRUCTIONS on
    how to help their child at home.

Be creative with instructions for parents! TRY
  • Giving families step by step tip sheets
    explaining how to support reading or math at home
  • Making short videos - modeling how to read with
    a child
  • Inviting families to a make it and take it
    event at school and create tools for helping with
    reading and math
  • Providing words you should know definitions so
    parents are talking the same language.

Be creative with instructions for parents! TRY
  • Creating fill in the blank math stories to teach
    families how to use these at home
  • Developing Q A documents giving parents
    questions to explore with their child
  • Sending home a weekly activity and directions
    either by tweet, email, phone tree, website, and
    with the child.

And dont forget about using technology when
  • Developing a shared work site such as Big Tent
  • Offering skill building conference calls or
  • Communicating by tweet, email, website, etc.
  • Using a BLOG to connect and educate families
  • Maintaining an electronic calendar of assignments
    and activities

THINK about
  • Working with building leadership to ensure that
    all school wide parent events are welcoming and
    useful for ALL families
  • Making home activities relate to the parents
    work, culture, family history or hobbies
  • Providing opportunities for families who do not
    read or do math well to be successful at helping
    their child at home
  • Identifying and using cultural mentors
  • Using partners such as faith based and community
  • Creating parent to parent support and educational

Are families of children with disabilities
considered when planning BIG EVENTS in the
  • Family Literacy / Math Nights
  • Sports and Stories
  • Meet the Press
  • What am I eating?
  • How does my family use Math?
  • Book fair events
  • Career math spotlight

ecac will also be your PARTNER!
  • We are creating
  • Activity instructions
  • Templates
  • Flip videos and other tools
  • Let us know what will be helpful!
In summary
  • Parents impact the individual childs learning
  • True collaboration is a process rather than an
  • The outcome should be parents who feel they are a
    valued and important part of their childs

  • The old way of thinking was that parent
    involvement was all about parents. The new way
    is that its about student success.
  • Joyce Epstein

  • Achievement Gaps Family and Community
    engagement (2008)
  • Henderson, A.T., Mapp, K.L., Davies, D. ,
    Beyond the Bake Sale The Essential Guide to
    Family / School Partnerships. (2007)
  • Iowa School Boards Foundation, Family, School,
    and Community Connections Improving Student
    Learning (2007)
  • Edwards, Caitlin C., Da Fonte, Alexandra, The
    5-Point Plan fostering Successful Partnerships
    with Families of Students With Disabilities.
    Teaching Exceptional Children (Jan/Feb 2012)
  • National PTA / building successful Partnerships,
    Barriers to Parent Involvement Roadblocks and

  • New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED)
    and the Center for the Education and Study of
    diverse Populations (CESDP), Professional
    Development Tools Improving Communication,
    Module 2.
  • Project Appleseed, the Campaign for Public School
    Improvement, (2008)
  • Rutgers University, Strategies for Effective
    collaboration with Parents, Schools and Community
    members, (Presentation 2009)
  • Bringing Literacy Home, KaiLonnie Dunsmore and
    Douglas Fisher, Editor
  • SEF Research Report A New Majority Low Income
    Students in the South
  • Parents Helping Parent Wyoming