Action Steps - Standard 5
- Identify all the ways your school can include and consult parents in decisions that affect the school community.
- Make sure the PTA/parent group membership and leadership is reflective of the school community.
- Consider programs and activities that develop social and political connections.
What Parents and Parent Leaders Can Do
- Working in partnership with the principal, identify ways the PTA/parent group can support one or more goals of the school improvement plan.
- Host a voter registration drive.
- Host a forum for candidates running for public office; focus questions on issues that affect children, families, and education.
- Work with students, parents, teachers, school and community leaders, and businesses to develop a parent/family involvement policy that establishes the foundation for involvement programs in your community.
- Get to know your elected officials at all levels of government, as they influence public policy decisions related to children and education.
What School Leaders and Staff Can Do
- Conduct an annual survey and/or focus groups to get the input of parents on current and potential school programs and policies.
- At a PTA/parent group meeting, discuss the school’s scores on state tests and describe the school’s plans to improve.
- Sponsor a school accountability meeting at which school officials describe school programs, services, and performance data.
- Make sure the parents on the school improvement team represent the diverse population of the school.
- Invite parents to share concerns and ideas by having a suggestion box in the front office, and be personally accessible to all parents.
Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, by Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson and Don Davies (New York: The New Press, 2007), includes a school climate survey that can be an excellent action research project.
The Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, developed by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, is a parent leadership training program in education. It has graduated more than 1,500 parents across the state of Kentucky in the past 11 years.
National Issues Forums offers workshops and a starter kit on how to organize public forums on community issues and also helps sponsor forums.