National PTA Honors Schools and PTAs for Leadership and Innovation in Family Engagement
Heidi May Wilson
Media Relations Manager
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 16, 2016)—National PTA is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2016 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Awards—the highest honor presented by the association for innovation in family engagement. The honorees were recognized in a special Facebook Live event.
This year’s recipients are:
- Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Family-School Partnership Award—Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA (Dept. of Defense Education Activity School, Germany)
With over 100 new students, Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA focused its efforts during the 2015-2016 school year on making sure all families felt welcomed, supported, engaged and connected to the PTA and school community. The PTA hosted several events that helped to strengthen connections between families and teachers and provided parents an opportunity to experience and ask questions about some of the new methods for teaching and learning. Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA also hosted a number of small group gatherings with their district superintendent and the director of DoDEA Europe that allowed parents to give their feedback on how the school is doing across all areas.
- Phoebe Apperson Hearst Family-School Partnership Award of Merit—Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School PTSA (Raleigh, N.C.)
Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School PTSA worked to welcome all families by focusing on intentional and sustained outreach to two traditionally under-represented groups of parents: Hispanic families and dads and other male role models. The PTSA established a “Pack Men” group, which hosted monthly breakfasts for at-risk boys, many of whom don’t have positive male role models at home. The male volunteers developed relationships with each other and the school staff to support student success by empowering, encouraging and inspiring the boys to make better choices, avoid negative behaviors and serve their community. The PTSA reached out to Hispanic families by hosting a family engagement event at a neighborhood community center.
- Phoebe Apperson Hearst Family-School Partnership Award of Merit—New Century Technology High School PTSA (Huntsville, Ala.)
New Century Technology High School PTSA focused its family engagement efforts on communicating effectively to empower families to support student success. The PTSA expanded its communications channels, using a new website, newsletter, text messages and social media accounts to share information about PTSA and school programs, events and news. The PTSA also started bimonthly “Coffee with the Principal” sessions, during which the principal informed families about school improvement plans and answered questions from parents. Additionally, New Century Technology High School PTSA hosted educational seminars for students and families that featured guest speakers from the community who discussed topics such as how to select a college and job interview techniques.
“The Phoebe Apperson Hearst Awards—named after National PTA co-founder Phoebe Apperson Hearst—honor local PTAs that have demonstrated outstanding success in engaging families and building family-school-community partnerships,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “Family engagement and family-school-community partnerships are proven to advance children’s learning and growth, increase student achievement and positively impact school improvement efforts. We are thrilled to recognize the hard work and achievements of Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA, Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School PTSA and New Century Technology High School PTSA with the 2016 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Awards.”
Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA, Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School PTSA and New Century Technology High School PTSA were selected to receive the awards from among the 2016-2018 National PTA Schools of Excellence. Through the National PTA School of Excellence program, PTAs partner with their schools to examine how families feel the school measures up to the research-based indicators of the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. PTAs and schools then work together to address barriers and create new ways for families to support student success. The National PTA School of Excellence designation is awarded when a PTA and school have achieved a high level of family engagement or when a PTA and school have made substantive, positive improvement in families’ perceptions by the end of the school year.
In addition to announcing the 2016 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Award recipients, National PTA has released a report spotlighting outcomes for the schools designated as 2016-2018 National PTA Schools of Excellence from their participation in the program. Among the outcomes, the PTAs and schools improved family perceptions by an average of 30% across all indicators of the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships, demonstrating that more families felt welcomed, valued and respected at the school and empowered to support their children academically and emotionally. More than 50% of the schools also reported an increase in PTA participation among families and school staff.
“It is essential that families feel welcomed and valued in their children’s school and are active participants in their education. It is also critical that families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “As underscored in the report, Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA, Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School PTSA, New Century Technology High School PTSA and all of the 2016-2018 National PTA Schools of Excellence have put strong practices into place that involve families in the life of the school and are true examples of what can be accomplished when schools and families work together.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.