The National Standards for Family School Partnerships focuses on what parents, schools and communities can do together to support student success. The fifth of the six standards focuses on shared power. The goal of this standard is to strengthen the family’s voice in shared decision making. Ask yourself, are all families full partners in making decisions that affect their children at school and in the community?
Here are a few indicators that demonstrate a school has met the standard for shared power!
- The school has established policy to ensure that parents have an equal voice in all major decisions that affect children, such as principal selection and budget allocation.
- Parent leaders work with the school improvement team to adopt effective strategies to engage families in reducing achievement gaps between groups of students.
- Parent leaders are trained in facilitation skills such as brainstorming, role-plays, and small group activities that encourage everyone to speak.
- The principal and parent leaders personally invite public officials to meetings to discuss ideas, issues, and problems in the community.
- The PTA parent leaders build the organizations effectiveness by recruiting and maintaining a leadership team that reflects the school and community and by aligning all programs and practices with PTAs National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.
The following are some of the resources available from National PTA and our partners to encourage schools, PTAs and families to work together as partners in decision-making about children’s well-being:
To get started, identify all the ways your school can include and consult parents in decisions that affect the school community. Make sure the PTA or parent group membership and leadership is reflective of the school community. Also, consider programs and activities that develop social and political connections.
ENGAGE! is a weekly column on Family Engagement written by Sherri Wilson, Senior Manager of Family and Community Engagement at the National PTA. Sherri is the former Director of the Alabama Parent Information and Resource Center and is currently responsible for developing and implementing programs related to family and community engagement at the National PTA.