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Why is Parental Involvement an Ongoing Critical Issue in Special Education? GVSU 670 Critical Issues in Special Education Elaine Martin and Linda Kevorkian.

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Presentation on theme: "Why is Parental Involvement an Ongoing Critical Issue in Special Education? GVSU 670 Critical Issues in Special Education Elaine Martin and Linda Kevorkian."— Presentation transcript:


2 Why is Parental Involvement an Ongoing Critical Issue in Special Education? GVSU 670 Critical Issues in Special Education Elaine Martin and Linda Kevorkian 6/05/09

3 Why should we be worrying about parental involvement?

4 It is mandatory… IDEA Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education FAPE No Child Left Behind School Improvement Plans and AYP Pre-referral: RTI, functional behavior analysis Referral: Initial consent for assessment and identification Program planning and implementation: IEP, IFSP, positive behavior support plans Monitoring and compliance: progress reporting, manifest determination Parental rights and due process procedures Parent advisory committees FERPA and student records parent counseling and education re: childs disability and parent rights

5 Why should parent involvement in the special education process be mandated? …because research shows that parent involvement has a direct impact on: 1. student academic success 2. high school drop out rates 3. quality of life after school San Diego County Office of Education (1997) and the National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition (2005)

6 Who are our parents? 12.8% Black 4.4 % Asian 15.1% Hispanic 67.7% White 17.9% of our population does not speak English US 2007!

7 Non-traditional families… Single parent – mother Single parent – father Two working parents Grandparents raising their grandchildren Divorced Blended families Immigrants

8 According to Families and Living Arrangements: 2006, there were 12.9 million one-parent families in million single-mother families and 2.5 million single-father familiesFamilies and Living Arrangements: 2006 Michigan Dept. of Education Demographic Report for Grand Rapids Public Schools

9 School districts must become more pro-active about planning for parent involvement.

10 How do we start? By asking the questions… How do our various families view and value education and parental involvement? What barriers exist that impact parent involvement for our families and are these barriers different for different types of families/demographics?

11 More questions…. How and when are parents most likely to be involved? Do differing types of parental involvement have different results for students? What motivates our parents to become involved in their childrens education?

12 Where do we focus our resources when attempting to increase parental involvement?

13 We focused our questions around parental involvement within two groups: Families with children in secondary education Families from the Hispanic and Latino cultures

14 Research Question #1: How Important is Family Involvement in Middle School and High School Education?

15 What the research tells us…(Epstein, 2001) Schools play a key role in determining the levels of parent involvement. The older a student is and the higher the concentration of low-income students in the school, the more important parent involvement is, however... Parent involvement declines as students grow older. Parent involvement declines as income level decreases.

16 How can we get middle school and high school parents more involved? Help families learn about school programs and student needs on a regular basis. Involve families as volunteers Demonstrate how families can be involved in the learning process at home. Include parents as decision-makers in important matters at every level of decision-making. Coordinate with business and agencies to provide resources and services for families. Epstein 2001

17 National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transitions: Family Involvement (2005) Reviewed four standards for parental involvement at the secondary level and provided supporting research and discussion: Standard 4.1 School staff members demonstrate a strong commitment to family involvement and understand its critical role in supporting high achievement, access to postsecondary education, employment, and other successful adult outcomes.

18 The power of commitment… Family involvement and support is linked to decreased dropout rate, increased achievement rate on test, improved student behavior, higher grades and improved attitude towards school for student with or without disabilities. (Henderson & Berla, 1994; Henderson & Mapp2002; Hughes et. al., 1997; James & Partee,2003; Keith et. al., 1998; Koher,1996.).

19 Standard 4.2 Communication among youth, families, and schools is flexible, reciprocal, meaningful, and individualized.

20 communicating with families… Outreach, communication and relationships with families … are keys to effective programs (Henderson & Mappp,2002; James & Prate,, 2003; Keith, et al, 19198, Mapp, 1997; Rutherford & Billing, 1995; Sanders, et al.; 1999Yap & Enoki,1994) (Parent involvement is) essential for students for culturally diverse backgrounds There is a need to build trust and collaboration between schools and parents (Guy, Goldberg, McDonald, & Flam, 1997).

21 Standard 4.3 School staff actively cultivate, encourage, and welcome youth and family involvement.

22 cultivating parental involvement… Develop a formal process for identifying the strengths and needs then connecting families and students to groups that offer support. (Kohler, 1993; Rutherford & Billing, 1995) Schedule meetings that accommodate the timing and transportation needs of families. Offer family training on positive family-child relationships. (James & Partee, 2003; National PTA, 1997; Simmons, Stevenson, & Strand, 1993) Train staff on how to work in a collaborative fashion with families and students (Boethel,2003; Espinosa,1995; Kessler-Sklar &Baker, 2000; Krieger, 2002; National PTA,1997) Support community diversity. (Boethel, 2003; Furney & Salembier, 2000). Provide parents with community resources.

23 Standard 4.4 Youth, families, and school staff are partners in the development of policies and decisions affecting youth and families

24 Strategies for effective partnering … Develop an accessible and understandable decision- making and problem-solving process for all parties involved (parents, school and community). (National PTA, 1997) Disseminate information about policies, goals, and reforms to families and students (Kohler, 2000; Lopez 2002; National Center for Dissemination of Disability Research, 1999) Institute policies that respect diversity. (Boethel, 2003; Harry 2002, Kalyanpur, Harry & Skrtic, 2000; Lamorey, 2002) Provide training on policy, reform and related issues. ( James & Partee, 2003, National PTA 1997) Include student and families on decisions, governance, and other program and school committees. ( Furney & Salembier, 2000; James 7 Partee 2003 ; National PTA; Sanders et al, 1999)

25 Best Practice: Schools and Families - Creating Essential Connections for Learning The definition for the family has changed. Family has been replaced with parent because of the significant adults in the lives of children, and the options beyond being volunteer, homework helper, and fundraiser. The school environment influences the students academic achievement and school performance. What a family does to support learning in the home has a greater impact on achievement than who the family is according to their financial status. Out of school time is powerful, which includes community and friendships for school achievement. Programs that are comprehensive and well-planned provide options for family involvement and allow schools to be responsive for family diversity. This is critical for continued success in middle and high school. The more the home and school match in academic context and importance, the more of a contribution the family makes to the students success in school.

26 Best Practice: Family Involvement in Middle and High School Students Education The schools, teachers, and parents can monitor the students growth and progress. This is a time in a young persons life when they are trying to gain independence from their parents while maintaining connections to them. It respects their autonomy while maintaining the relationship with their child. Finally, parents need to set up a climate of high expectations in the home, school, and community for their children. This is more important than any other time in their life. They need to feel competent and encouraged to complete tasks and enroll in difficult coursework. Parents can handle this hurdle by maintaining high expectations and raising their students self-confidence to help them internalize educational values.

27 Research Question #2: What do we know about parental involvement of Latino and Hispanic Families in their childrens education?

28 What a review of the research tells us…. Three critical factors which determine parent involvement: Parents role construct (their beliefs about their need to be involved in the childs education) parents sense of self-efficacy (belief that they have the knowledge and skills to be involved) school invitations.

29 Research shows… …cultural and socioeconomic factors strongly influenced perceptions (of Latinos and Hispanics) about parental involvement.

30 Do Educational Programs Increase Parents Practices at Home?: Factors Influencing Latino Parent Involvement (Chrispeels & Gonz, 2004) These investigators studied the effects of a 9 week parent education program on the involvement of 1,156 Latino parents in 20 California elementary and secondary schools. The Parent Institute for Quality Education, a non- profit group, provided the education program. The purpose of the course was to help Latino and other immigrant parents learn about the American educational system, how to interact with schools and teachers, and how to help their children at home.

31 Parents were surveyed before and after the 9 week course. Assessed seven areas related to parent involvement: 1. home learning activities (e.g., reading to child), 2. parenting practices (e.g., praising child) 3. home-school connections (e.g., PTA meetings), 4. parents knowledge (e.g., knowing academic standards) 5. sense of self-efficacy (e.g. able to help child be successful in school) 6. parent role construction (parents believe they have to be involved in childs education) 7. college expectations (e.g., expect child to go to university)

32 Results of the study… Parent education program affected parents role construct (their belief that they need to be involved in their childs education) A significant difference in parent knowledge, beliefs, and practices was found after the 9 week program. Parents reported dramatic changes in their parenting behaviors such as using more praise and less physical punishment, establishing rules and limiting TV time. Knowledge gained in the program is the strongest predictor of Latino parent involvement with both elementary and secondary-aged children. At the secondary level, parental participation in school activities affected parenting practices. The knowledge gained through the program directly influenced parents decisions to contact the school.

33 Additional findings… Parents knowledge about the school system and the importance of being involved are the easiest in which to effect change. Role construct can be changed with knowledge. Latino families will respond if the school provides information about how to help in a culturally sensitive way. Parents need to understand that planning for college must begin in elementary and junior high school and this knowledge can help parents reconstruct their role and parenting practices. Home-school connections are the most difficult to change and require more effort on the part of the school and teachers to increase invitations and opportunities for involvement.

34 Best practice article: Involving Migrant Families in Education (Martinez &Velazquez, 2000) Increasing parental involvement requires understanding migrant families' strengths, their family dynamics, the challenges their mobile lifestyle creates, and recognition of the positive contributions migrant parents make to their children's education.

35 Educators typically believe parent involvement is about… preparing children for school (i.e., teaching children the alphabet, talking and reading to children to promote language development), attending school events (i.e., parent-teacher conferences) and fulfilling any requests teachers make of parents (i.e., to play word games with their children at home)

36 Migrant families believe… education is about instruction in issues such as development of morals, values, respect for self and others, good manners, responsibility towards self and the community vs. teaching reading, writing, and academics

37 Barriers to parental involvement… lack of English lack of educational skills (especially for children in higher grades) long work hours and lack of time

38 You can help if you … Acknowledge parents for the way they support their child with emotional (vs. environmental and financial) resources: Sharing life stories that encourage being a good citizen Instilling a value for hard work Emphasizing how difficult life can be without an education

39 What else can you do… Use bilingual community liaisons to train parents and to help bridge language and cultural differences between home and school Provide child care, transportation, evening and weekend activities, and refreshments. Implement a curriculum that reflects the culture, values, interests, experiences, and concerns of the migrant family so parents can more easily relate to "homework" and be more inclined to help their child (also increasing their confidence and self-esteem). Provide flexible instructional programming that allows students to drop out of school to work or take care of family responsibilities and return to pick up their academic work without penalties.

40 Develop opportunities for education and training at work sites, community centers, churches, and school sites for both students and families. Provide access to on-line links to college and ESL courses via distance learning options at public computer centers Partner with the agriculture industry to develop collaborative opportunities that allow parents to attend school activities during work hour and utilize parents' knowledge, skills, and talents. Give migrant parents an opportunity at parent- teacher conferences to express ways they believe they can contribute to their childs education.

41 Coordinate social and health outreach efforts with local school community involvement activities, making them less threatening to migrant parents who are hard to reach. Incorporate more bilingual and Spanish language books in schools and public libraries to promote family reading at home. Juevos verdes y hamon, Juan Ramon! Transcribe oral family histories or experiences for inclusion in library collections, providing parents, grandparents, and other family members with links to school and community. Reach out to parents and secondary school students by using bilingual community liaisons, secondary school advisors, advocates, and peer and cross-age tutors or mentors.

42 Think "family" rather than just "parent" when planning involvement activities. Develop parent programs that include workshops or retreats at colleges and universities in order to provide an early orientation to the postsecondary education process. Conduct parent workshops that include such activities as "sharing secret talents" (e.g., singing, craftsmanship, crocheting, etc.) that empower parents with the knowledge that they can benefit students and schools. Promote higher aspirations among students and families through community based career education and parent/child work-study positions.

43 Ask an Expert - Welcoming Hispanic Children and Families to Preschool (Cristina Sanchez-Lopez January, 2006) Its ok (and good) for parents to speak to their child in their native language at home. The stronger the childs first language, the greater likelihood of academic success. Make certain that the books you choose to have and use (for classroom or to take home) do not depict a particular race of people in a stereotypical manner. Parents may be hesitant to ask questions except about how their child is behaving. Remember that this doesnt mean that those parents do not care about their childrens education. They are the parents who are expected to care for, nourish, discipline, nurture, and love their children but you are the teacher. Be sure to acknowledge their contributions and how they will help their child in school.

44 Understand that children are not sent off to school at such a young age in many countries. Show respect for the families culture by ensuring that there non-stereotypical artifacts visible throughout your classroom. At the beginning of the year, ask the parents their childs name, how to pronounce it correctly, and then practice the name in front of them until they smile and give you the OK. This starts the year off letting the parents know how much you care for their child and how much you respect them, their language, and their culture, and it puts them at ease Give clear instructions on what things to work on at home in their language while you work on other things at school. They should be encouraged to share what sorts of things they see while you share your side.

45 Let parents know about our unspoken cultural norms and help them function more comfortably in U.S. society. Help the children to connect to their parents, their language, and their culture. Learn some of their Spanish words. Inform parents about what you are studying in class for each unit. Encourage children to read to their parents and parents to read to their children.

46 Conclusions: Planning for parental involvement on a more personal and individualized level will support, encourage and motivate higher levels of participation by our diverse families and ultimately, have a greater impact on student success both in school and in post-school life.

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