The Power of Partnerships
with Parents
Debra Jennings
Peggy O’Reilly
Isabel C. Garcia
Russ Hammond
SPAN, Inc. of NJ
Parent to Parent of Miami
NCLB: SEAs must support the collection
and dissemination of effective parental
involvement practices to its LEAs and
 IDEA: SEA must establish measurable
and rigorous targets for indicators
established by the Secretary
Indicator for Family Involvement
Percent of parents with a child receiving
special education services who report
that schools facilitated parent
involvement as a means of improving
services and results for children with
Parent Involvement - Definition
Six types of parent involvement:
 Parenting
 Communicating
 Supporting school
 Learning at home
 Decision-making
 Collaborating with the community
NCLB Definition
Parent involvement is
defined as regular, twoway communication.
Sec. 1118
Key Findings of Parent
Involvement Research
Impact on Student Achievement
Linked to high student achievement
Continuity has a protective effect as children
progress through the education system
All families can have a positive influence on their
children’s learning
Activities linked to student learning have a greater
effect on achievement than more general forms of
Research on Effective Strategies
Successful programs address specific
parent and community needs
 Effectively engage diverse families by
recognizing, respecting and addressing
cultural and class differences
 Programs embrace a philosophy of
Research on Organizing Parents
to Improve Schools
Efforts in low-performing schools have
contributed to changes in policy,
resources, personnel, school culture and
educational programs.
Recommendations for Practice
Recognize that all parents want their children
to do well.
 Create programs that will help families guide
their children’s learning
 Work with families to build their social and
political connections
 Develop of the capacity of school staff to work
with families and community organizations
Recommendations for Practice
Link family and community engagement
efforts to student learning
 Focus efforts in building trusting &
respectful relationships
 Embrace a philosophy of partnership and
be willing to share power with families
 Build strong connections between schools
and community organizations
Recommendations for Future
Design and conduct research that is
more rigorous and focused and that uses
culturally sensitive and more
empowering definitions of parent
Henderson & Berla (1994) Meta-analysis
3 factors influence student achievement
Parent’s create an encouraging learning
Influences achievement more than family income,
education level, or cultural background
Sets high, realistic goals
 Becomes involved in their child’s education
Specific programs
Teacher practices
Welcoming school climate
Westat and Policy Studies Associates for
the U.S. Department of Education (2001)
Analyzed the relationship between student
test scores and several variables
 Outreach to parents of low-performing
students, was linked to improved student
achievement in both reading and math
 Schools that reported a high level of
outreach to parents scored 40 percent
higher than schools with reported low levels
of outreach.
Education Research Service, “Building Family
School Partnerships,” 1999.
Harry, Beth, Building Cultural Reciprocity with
Families: Case Studies in Special Education,
National PTA, “National Standards for
Parent/Family Involvement Programs,” 2004.
Henderson, Ann & Karen Mapp, A New Wave of
Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and
Community Connections on Student
Achievement, 2002.
Region 1 Technical Assistance to
Parent Centers
Serving PTIs and CPRCS
in 8 states:
 Connecticut,
 Maine
 Massachusetts
 New Hampshire
 New Jersey,
 New York
 Rhode Island, and
 Vermont
Goals of Our TA Services
To build the organizational capacity of OSEPfunded Parent Centers (PTIs & CPRCs)
through direct technical assistance and
sharing peer-to-peer activities
 To avoid duplication of efforts & energies, in
order to maximize effectiveness of parent
center services to families;
 To connect parent Centers to the research and
products of the broader TA & D Networks.
Our Services to Centers
Include the following:
 On-site technical assistance,
 Technical assistance via telephone and e-mail;
 Regular conference calls and bulletin boards for
effective communication between parent centers;
 Annual regional conference;
 Financial support for center-driven capacity
building activities; and
 A regional database of training materials in
multiple languages and accessible formats (as
part of a national database).
The Alliance for Parent
Six (6) Regional Technical Assistance Centers:
Region 1 – SPAN, NJ - Northeast
Region 2 – ECAC, NC - Mid-South
Region 3 – ECAC, NC – Southeast, PR & VI
Region 4 – OCEDC, OH - North Central
Region 5 – PEAK, CO - Mountain
Region 6 – Matrix, CA – Western, Guam & AS
One (1) National Technical Assistance Center
OSEP Funded Parent Centers
Serve families with children with
disabilities (or at-risk of classification for
special education services)
 At least one (1) in every state, Puerto
Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam & American
 Independent non-profit 501(c)3
Partnership for Access, Equity &
Debra Jennings, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
Peggy Thorpe O’Reilly, NJ Department of Education-OSEP
SEA and Parent Center
Collaborations in New Jersey
Based on:
 State priorities identified in State
Improvement Planning process
 Inclusion
 Parent Involvement
Literacy Strategies for Families
Goal – increase family knowledge of and
involvement in early literacy practices
 Districts involved
 Literacy activities
 Team planning
 Examples of implementation
 Future plans
Parent Educator Collaboration in the
IEP Process
Goal – improve parent-educator
communication and collaboration
 Evolution of this initiative
 Products - tools
 Future plans
Inclusion & Transition
Awareness Activities
Goal – increase parent knowledge about
the importance of inclusion in general
education settings and transition
planning in order to further
implementation of these practices within
Inclusion and Transition Activities
Regional mini-conferences on Inclusion
New Jersey’s vision for inclusion
 Panel presentations – students, families,
and educators
Teleconferences on transition and
 Q&A
Parent Support Group Initiative
Goal – increase parent involvement in
improving services for students with
 Activities - expand and create parent
support groups at the local level
 Outcomes
Challenges & Strategies
Challenge: Time and competing priorities
 Email
 Phone
 Face to Face
 Make a commitment to participate
Collaboration Challenges
and Strategies
Challenge: Differing perspectives
 Relationship building
Organization to organization
 People within the organization
 Transparency, honesty and trust
Learning process
 Resources-Funds of Knowledge
 About our children
About parents we work with
 About the communities we live and work in
 About "realities''
Rich perspectives for program
implementation & improvement
Family Collaboration
a Dance of Intimacy…
Partnerships…The pulse of the
Think Politically
Raise the
Look from the
Hold Steady
Inspire Others
Who is
Receptive to
Evaluate &
move forward
Cooperative Agreement
Six Parent Liaisons
ESE Coffee Talks
Educational conferences
Facilitate informal mediation
with school, district & Access
Center personnel/Attend
Resolution meetings.
Review IEP (Individual
Education Plan)
Transition meeting from the
Early Intervention Programs
Transition to the community
Parent Conferences
ESOL Presentations
Parents as Faculty/The
parent perspective
Systems Change Feedback
Parent Liaison Meeting Observation
 Report at local councils and task forces
 Share evaluation results with community
 Advocate for additional funding supports
for children with disabilities and their
Encourage the Heart
A leadership practice that is
essential for all partnerships
Examples of Parent Involvement
from other States
IN: School, Family, Community
Indiana formed a collaborative at the
State level to:
Promote parent involvement at all levels of
decision making
 Develop policies to increase respect for
 Create family friendly environment
 Result in improved student success
Brett E. Bollinger, Ed.D.
GA: Parent Mentors
Parent out reach and assistance in
navigating the special education maze,
and serves on school strategic planning
 In 60 School systems (30% of districts)
 The SIG extends this by providing a bilingual out reach person in a targeted
area with a higher population of Hispanic
Patricia Murray Solomon, 404-657-7328
LA: Family Facilitator
Family member of a student with a
 Serves as “Goodwill Ambassador” for
school districts
 Family Leadership Academies trainer
 Ensure meaningful family participation
on every School Improvement Team
Kay Marcel
AL: Simple Steps to Improving
SIG staff trained the PTI on how to train
parents to help their children learn to
 Provided “Literacy Boxes” which
contained ideas for games and activities
to reinforce reading skills
 1000 parents participated
Julie Colley Lowery
KA: Family-School-Community
Partnership (FSCP) Curriculum.
Designed by the Kansas State
Department of Education and the
Kansas Parent Training Information
Center, Families Together.
 Based upon the national PTA standards
 Presented at public schools and
Jane Groff
FL: Family as Faculty
Family members of students with
disabilities address pre-service students
on the importance of family involvement.
 Part of the training program at nine
universities in Florida.
Lori Massey
ID: School, Family and
Community Partnerships
Trained 700 school personnel on the six
keys to parent involvement.
 PTI training for parents to support learning
to read
 Development of a parent discussion board
to share ideas and perspectives.
Russ Hammond
Contact Information
Isabel Garcia –
 Debra Jennings –
 Peggy Thorpe –
 Donna Fluke –
To Find the Parent Center(s) in your State:

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