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Friday, October 22, 2010

Engaging Parents With Student Data

From the Quick and The Ed blog site:

Unfortunately, many of the efforts to build student data systems exclude some of the most important stakeholders — students and their families. But, I’m encouraged by October’s Family Involvement Network of Educators newsletter, which highlights five examples of schools using data to help teachers engage parents in their child’s learning.
I loved the example from Arizona, where the Creighton School District is using data to reorganize parent-teacher conferences. In Creighton, they replace the standard twice per year 15 minute individual parent/teacher conference with Academic Parent–Teacher Teams. The teams have two main components:
  1. Three 75-minute classroom team meetings each year. These team meetings are initiated by a personal invitation to the parent by the teacher, and consist of the teacher, the entire class of parents, and a parent liaison.  Each meeting includes a review of student academic performance data, parent–student academic goal setting, teacher demonstration of skills to practice at home, parent practice, and networking opportunities with other parents.
  2. One 30-minute individual parent–teacher conference. In this yearly individual meeting parents and teachers review student performance data and create action plans to optimize learning.
Three early signs of progress:
  1. Increased teacher participation: Academic Parent–Teacher Teams are not a district mandate, but rather an optional grassroots project that teachers can adopt if they choose. In the 2009–2010 school year, 12 classrooms participated, while 79 classrooms have already signed on for the upcoming 2010–2011 school year.
  2. Increased father involvement: A surprising result has been the high numbers of fathers who have come to team meetings—more than in classrooms with conventional parent–teacher conferences. When fathers were asked what made them more interested in coming to team meetings, they said that they were specifically interested in academics and wanted to be involved in understanding their child’s progress.
  3. High attendance: In the classrooms that had APTTs, attendance at meetings was 92% on average. That was much higher than participation in conventional parent–teacher conferences.
With the help of the tools described in the five case studies, family engagement can change from a one-time event to an ongoing, substantive conversation.

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