The National Standards for Family School Partnerships focuses on what parents, schools and communities can do together to support student success. The fourth of the six standards focuses on speaking up for every child. The goal of this standard is to help families become empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, and to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.
To help families understand how the school system works, it’s important that they:
- Understand how the school and district operate
- Understand their rights and responsibilities under federal and state laws
- Know about resources available
- Understand how to resolve problems and conflicts
To empower families to support their own and other children’s success in school, it’s important to:
- Develop families’ capacity to be effective school advocates
- Plan for the future
- Ensure smooth transitions
- Engage in civic advocacy for student achievement
Many parents and community members need opportunities to learn and practice advocacy skills before they will feel comfortable speaking up. School staff and PTAs/parent groups can make a critical contribution to student success by ensuring that every child has an advocate.
The following are some of the resources available from National PTA and our partners to help empower families at your school to speak up for every child:
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.