California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II
When considering how to involve language-minority parents or guardians, school staff members need to consider support strategies that will enable all families to attend school events. One school with a high population of immigrant families found that family involvement increased when the following factors were present:
Staff members at the school noted that the strategies, such as instilling positive attitudes and developing personal relationships, must be schoolwide to succeed.1
Middle schools serving large populations of immigrant families often encourage parents and guardians to participate in school activities by providing educational services the adults need for themselves. For example, parents or guardians of English learners frequently lack direct access to community networks, and schools can serve as intermediaries between community resources and families who need them. Many immigrant communities tend to cluster near stores, churches, and other places where members convene. Principals and schools can use these venues to connect to the communities of the children they serve.2
John Glenn Middle School of International Studies, Desert Sands Unified School District, a 2004 Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage Model School
The school leadership helps incoming immigrant parents understand more about the middle school experience by providing a parent orientation led by other bilingual parents.
Ocean View Junior High School, Ocean View Elementary School District, a 2006 On the Right Track School
The school staff members offer four parenting classes for migrant and English-speaking parents or guardians. Staff members guide parents on how to support their children’s academic success by covering topics such as:
These classes are part of a strategy that helped the school’s API improve significantly.
Other ways to support English learners and parents or guardians are as follows:
Torch Middle School, Bassett Unified School District, a 2008 Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage Model School
Torch Middle School serves a school population that is 94 percent Hispanic. The school has met the statewide targets for student academic growth since 2004. One strategy staff members use to keep parents involved is a parenting class led onsite by a bilingual counselor. In addition, the school supports an active English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) on campus.
The PALMS Website is designed to assist practitioners in their efforts to promote Latino postsecondary enrollment. The site includes a wealth of materials identified specifically for families (Outside Source), students (Outside Source), and schools/service providers (Outside Source).
The project’s signature product, Tools for Latino Family Outreach: Supporting Student Success in the Middle Grades and Beyond, is field-tested, research-based, and available for free download.
Parent and family education
Partnerships with the Community
1Answering the Perplexities of Parent Involvement, Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development 2006 Annual Conference Issue, Volume 48, Number 6, June 2006.
2Works in Progress: A Report on Middle and High School Improvement Programs (PDF; Outside Source). Washington, D.C.: The Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, American Institutes of Research, January 2005, 53.
3Betty J. Cobbs and Margery B. Ginsberg, “Learning to Listen through Home Visits with Somali, Mien, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Latino Families," New Horizons for Learning (January 2006).
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California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814