Family engagement is defined as:
“The mutual responsibility of families, schools, and communities to build relationships to support student learning and achievement, support family well-being, and the continuous learning and development of children, families, and educators. Family engagement is fully integrated in the child’s educational experience and is both culturally and linguistically appropriate.” Texas Administrative Code §102.1003.
It has long been recognized by both researchers and practitioners that family engagement plays a non-negotiable role in education. It is no longer a suggestion, rather a mandate, in Texas with the passage of house Bill 4 in 2015. Texas Education Code §29.168, created by House Bill 4, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, requires a school district or charter school to develop and implement a Family Engagement Plan to assist the district in achieving and maintaining high levels of family involvement and positive family attitudes toward education. The local Family Engagement Plan shall be based on the family engagement strategies established by Texas Education Agency in collaboration with other state agencies.
The Anton ISD Prekindergarten program embraces the individuality and uniqueness of families, and promotes a culture of learning that is child centered and age appropriate. Building partnerships between educators and families, by way of the Family Engagement Plan, ensures that every learner is encouraged, supported, and challenged to achieve the highest levels of knowledge, skills, and character.
The six Anton ISD Family Engagement Plan strategies are based on empirical research and are proven to demonstrate positive short-term and long-term outcomes for early childhood education. This plan expresses what is contained in the Commissioner’s Rule (102.1003(f)) in addition to specific examples of how each of the family engagement strategies will be accomplished in our high quality PK program. The following articulates strategies within each of the six domains.
Anton ISD’s Pre- Kindergarten program creates a safe and respectful environment where families can learn from each other as individuals and in groups; invites former program participants, including families and community volunteers, to share their educational and career experiences with current families; and ensures opportunities for continuous participation in events designed for families. Examples of events include:
“Open House” time during the initial days of each school year that creates a welcoming space for parents to gather and talk informally with one another before and/or after the event. This space is intentionally designed to be family-friendly with culturally diverse pictures and materials that welcome all families.
Room moms and volunteers to support parents and classroom activities
“Book Fair” where families can get to know one another and share community and school experiences
“Meet the Teacher” night facilitating family to family interactions, networking, and community/school support
“Remind App Implementation” meeting held during open house to provide parent training along with family to family support, dialogue, experiences that encourage parents to establish mutual support mechanisms
PTO meetings and sponsored events encouraging parent volunteer opportunities allowing parents to work collaboratively and designed to match families who have similar interests, goals, or challenges and providing opportunities for families to have ongoing connections
Class field trips and other activities that include family participation.
School Health and Advisory Council and Site Base Decision Making Teams provide opportunities for parents to interact and network with other parents interested in supporting public education in the Anton community
Invite former PK parents to share about their experiences and the transition to kindergarten.
Anton ISD PK Round-up. Early indicators of the following year enrollment
The Anton ISD PK Family Engagement Plan builds strategic partnerships by leveraging community resources; establishing and maintaining partnerships with businesses, faith-based organizations, and community agencies; monitoring and evaluating policies and practices to stimulate innovation and create learning pathways; identifying support from various agencies, including mental and physical health providers; partnering with local community-based organizations to create a family-friendly transition plan for students arriving from early childhood settings; and identifying partners to provide translators and culturally relevant resources reflective of home language. Examples of Strategies in Action (B) include:
Partnership with local businesses to provide vision checks for PK learners and other vision resources as needed
Holiday Gift Assistance partnerships with local entities for families in need
Family counselor assistance information for short term family guidance and needs
Educator/Campus newsletters that highlight community resources, events, and services to support diverse needs of multi-cultural families
Concealed Carry Campus
PK Roundup Flyers will be distributed to all elementary campuses to help share information about PK and other community resources.
Local Area Fire/Police Department/Military Personnel visits and speakers that share resources with students, families, and the school promoting safety and overall well-being
Local partnership to provide food, school supplies, and back to school backpacks for learners in need
Anton ISD Bilingual employees provide (as needed) translation services for families at events, meetings, newsletters, etc
Anton ISD increases/promotes family participation in decision-making by developing and supporting opportunities related to district and campus goal-setting efforts targeting family engagement; developing and supporting leadership skills for family members and providing opportunities for families to advocate for their children/families; collaborating with families to develop strategies to solve problems and serve as a problem solvers; engaging families in shaping program activities and cultivating the expectation that information must flow in both directions to reflect two-way communication; developing, in collaboration with families, clearly defined goals, outcomes, timelines, and strategies for assessing progress; providing each family with an opportunity to review and provide input on program practices, policies, communications, and events in order to ensure the program is responsive to the needs of families.
Utilize appropriate tools such as surveys or focus groups to gather feedback on the Family Engagement Plan. Examples of family participation in district and campus decision-making opportunities include:
Campus Site-Based Decision-Making Committee composed of campus staff, community partners, parents, and business representatives focusing on planning, curriculum, budgeting, staff development, overall school organization, all with the intent of improving the achievement of all learners at the campus
Campus visitation and volunteering opportunities
Share strategies with parents on how to advocate for themselves and their children appropriately
Educate families regarding their rights under State and Federal law regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Create and maintain an environment that values and affirms parent leadership.
Using parents as equal partners with staff in reviewing family engagement results and making decisions regarding plans for continuous improvement
LPAC parent representation
Regularly held parent/teacher conferences
Progress monitoring information is shared with parents encouraging their feedback, questions, and ideas regarding future learning experiences.
Pre-Kindergarten educators in Anton ISD recognize the families of our learners as the first and best teachers in the child’s life. In order to equip families with tools to enhance and extend their child’s learning, our educators work with families to design or implement existing home educational resources to support learning at home while strengthening the family/school partnership; provide families with information and/or training on creating a home learning environment connected to formal learning opportunities; equip families with resources and skills to support their children through the transition to school and offering opportunities for families and children to visit the school in advance of the pre-kindergarten school year; provide complementary home learning activities for families to engage in a home with children through information presented in newsletters, online tech tools, social media, parent/family-teacher conferences, or other school-related events; provide information focusing on age-appropriate developmental expectations; collaborate with families to appropriately respond to children’s behavior in a non-punitive, positive, and supportive way; and assist families to implement best practices that will help achieve the goals and objectives identified to meet the needs of the child and family. Examples of how Anton ISD equips families with tools to enhance and extend learning include:
Anton ISD offers a high-quality full day PK program to eligible learners, enhancing and extending socialization and facilitating parent involvement for Pre-K families
Teacher/parent conferences held throughout the school year and collaborating with them in setting goals for their children while in the PK program
Encouraging family members to volunteer in the classroom, using the time to foster enhanced communication regarding their child’s development
Suggested extension home activities that correspond to activities done in the classroom
Sharing technology tips/resources that are family-friendly to enhance parents’ knowledge on child development (Accessible Downloadable Apps)
PK registrations and throughout the summer and school year that include campus tours and school/program information
District webpage that shared information supportive of enhancing and extending learning for children participating in the PK program
District webpage includes recommended learning links
Parents are encouraged to access class/campus/district information from the Parent Portal on the Anton ISD website
Parents are provided with learner progress by way of regular report cards, weekly teacher communication, etc.
BOY, MOY, and EOY benchmarking
Anton ISD Code of Conduct
Strategies in Action: (E) Developing Staff Skills in Evidence-Based Practices that Support Families
Anton ISD believes in a continuous improvement philosophy. We provide essential professional development for educators in understanding communication and engagement with families, including training on communicating with families in crisis; promoting and developing family engagement as a core strategy to improve teaching and learning among all educators and staff; and developing staff skills to support and use culturally diverse, culturally relevant, and culturally responsive family engagement strategies. Strategies in Action (E) include:
Develop educator skills to support and use culturally diverse, culturally relevant, and culturally responsive family engagement strategies
Promoting and developing family engagement as a core strategy to improve teaching and learning among all educators and staff
Continuous professional development achieved through training opportunities from Region 17
Educators will brainstorm and actively seek out ways parents can play a major role in decision-making within the classroom
Utilize developmentally appropriate activities to help children understand differences in families, cultures and traditions
Educators will continue training targeting how to support families in crisis
Train educator about the resources that are available in the community that support families’ interests and needs
Educators will participate in professional learning that focuses on strength-based approach to family engagement
Continuation of educator awareness of how culture may influence perspective in child-rearing, communication styles, caregiving, discipline, etc.
Implementation of the Anton ISD Discipline Policy
Utilization of resources available in Circle Progress Monitoring platforms (C-Palls+)
Continuing membership in the ESC 17 as a means of professional learning, program effectiveness, and practices associated with HQPK implementation
Self-assessment will be a cornerstone to the overall process of evaluating for program effectiveness and to support future improvements. Our PK program develops a data collection systems that monitor family engagement; uses data to ensure alignment between family engagement activities and district/school teaching and learning goals and to promote continuous family engagement; employs an evaluation plan to guide action; uses a cyclical process to ensure evaluation results are used for continuous improvement and adjustment; and ensures educators and parents play a role in the family engagement evaluation process. Efforts contributing to the evaluation process include:
Parent surveys will gain information on preferences of program components and parents’ perception of program effectiveness. Survey results serve to improve program design and to increase parent outreach and involvement.
Anton ISD will conduct an annual EOY program evaluation and review of the results will support improvement efforts for the new school year considering all areas of the Family Engagement Plan.
Child-centered goals setting collaborations with parents will continue at the BOY. Progress monitoring and reporting will occur at the BOY, MOY, and EOY
Survey parents at least annually on the effectiveness of the prekindergarten experience for their child and their family
Incorporating foals related to family engagement into the program/campus strategic planning initiatives
Utilize the “High Quality Checklist” for Family Engagement Plan provided by Region 17 ESC.
Utilize the “High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Self-Assessment” instrument created by the TEA to include results indicating strengths, opportunities to grow, and next steps for continuous improvement.
Participation in family involvement activities will be quantitatively documented and monitored at the campus/district levels. Qualitative data will be collected to ensure the specific needs of families are being address through surveys. Evaluation results will future planning efforts in an effort to optimize family involvement within the school and Anton community.