The comparison between a year with parent involvement in education and one without speaks volumes about why parent involvement is essential to a successful campus improvement plan. It is more than just a box to check off to say a certain number of parents attended a meeting or served at a school outreach event. Parent involvement through a Parent Engagement Program (PEP) can have positive and long-lasting effects on students, their greater school environment, and their overall academic achievement.
As a whole, the goal of the campus improvement plan is based on four primary goals:
- Conduct a Comprehensive Needs Assessment and address weaknesses
- Establish a plan to enhance the teaching and learning experience
- Create a plan that stives for unity of purpose, accountability, and focus
- Communicate plan to improve student outcomes to stakeholders
Based on these main goals, a committee is formed to review far more detailed information regarding measuring student achievement and progress towards it, setting timelines for goal achievement, and providing a program to encourage parental involvement at the campus.
Who the Key Players Are in a Campus Improvement Plan
A campus improvement plan is designed to make a school run more efficiently in daily operations as well as optimally in terms of planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing development and patterns, and school organization.
To ensure that it is well rounded and takes into consideration different viewpoints, the committee is generally made up of administrators, business members, community members, local education agency representatives, paraprofessionals, principals, school leaders, special education staff, and teachers.
The beginning of a new school year is a common starting point for a campus improvement plan committee, at which time a principal will meet with them to review the ways student performance has been improved in the past and how it will be done going forward. Any new modifications adopted will undergo detailed planning in implementation, operation, and evaluation during the course of the school year.
Why Parent Involvement Is Essential to a Successful Campus Improvement Plan
While there are many notable parties that are a part of a campus improvement plan committee, it is worth pointing out that campus improvement plans are specifically directed by the state of Texas to incorporate a program designed solely to encourage parental involvement at the school level.
This is due in large part because the involvement of parents in a child’s school campus and education can yield benefits such as:
- Better classroom behavior
- Improved test scores
- Increased overall academic achievement
- Less bullying
- Lower truancy rates
When a parent invests time and attention in their child’s education, it can contribute to the emotional well-being of a child at home that then impacts the quality of the social-emotional climate at school. Research and studies have shown that a child’s improved social-emotional learning can yield as much as an eleven percent improvement rate in test scores alone.
This is why many school districts across the nation are looking to adopt a social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. Although the work begins at home with parents and their children, incorporating many of these same techniques into the school curriculum has the ability to create a more positive and stable atmosphere within the school.
Creating A Widely Available Parent Engagement Program on a Low Budget
Creating an effective parent engagement program from the ground up can require both time and effort that many school faculty and educators already find to be in short supply. The challenge then becomes creating a program on a low budget that offers easy access to students’ families.
Since many schools are already overwhelmed and understaffed, The ARKGroup created a parent engagement program based on social-emotional learning that is research based, award-winning, and reasonably priced.
Programs like these can typically be adopted on a school district or campus level and generally require two main steps for implementation:
- Providing your district or campus leaders with program fact sheets and publicity materials
- Giving the students’ families codes to access the program online
A program that is already established and accessible saves school districts from having to reinvent the wheel and gives them an outlet for parents to plug into remotely.
Parents can access seven different learning modules online that allow participants to work at their own pace and finish at their convenience. To ensure comprehension, each module/lesson is in Spanish and English, is presented in video and text formats, and includes a quiz and a journaling opportunity. Upon completion of the course, the participant will receive a state-certified certificate of completion.
Reaching Working Parents
Getting parents involved in campus improvement plans is not always a matter of willingness. Sometimes parents are hindered in getting as involved as they would like because they work two jobs or are caring for others in the home.
However, with the benefits of parent involvement in their child’s education at stake, schools can provide online modules to help parents learn how to best support their children at home and the domino effect that can have at school.
Regardless of what hours a parent works or their responsibilities throughout the day, online modules can be accessed around the clock to allow participants to complete sessions at their own convenience. This is key in eliminating roadblocks to parental involvement for those who want to be a part of a parent engagement program but cannot do so in-person due to other responsibilities.
The Urgency of Parent Involvement
With the coronavirus pandemic and virtual and hybrid learning changing the way students attend school, parent involvement is close to an all-time low. Left unchanged, this can have a dramatically negative effect on students’ education as well as the overall school environment upon students’ return to the campus.
With the state mandating that parent engagement programs be a part of campus improvement plans, school districts and campuses cannot afford to let these programs slip through the cracks at a time when they are perhaps more needed than ever before.
Even if time is short and resources are thin, recognize the urgency of parent involvement and incorporate a reputable online parent engagement program today.
If your school district or campus understands why parent involvement is essential to a successful campus improvement plan, encourage them to start investing in students and their families today with a readymade parent engagement program.
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