Copyright 2008
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Does Your Race to the Top Include Parent Engagement?
If Not, Will You Make It to the Top??
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Our Program Outline for
U.S. Department of Education
Race to the Top Fund
Investing In Innovation Grants
Six Slices of Parental Involvement
Our History & Mission
Barriers to Parental Involvement
Four Myths of Parental Involvement
Six Slices of Parental Involvement
Parental Involvement Pledge
Parental Involvement Toolbox
Logic Model
Our History
A dozen parents and citizens in the St. Louis County, Missouri,
community of University City, formed this organization in October
of 1992, when the board of education’s strategic plan called for
the establishment of a model parent group. The plan called for:
“An independent self-perpetuating group, interested in the overall
welfare of District schools, that will maximize community involvement,
develop fund-raising activities, monitor District progress, and
perform studies and make recommendations to the District.”
By 1994, we became a model for the White House in the
landmark inclusion of parental involvement mandates, in Title I
of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act. This legislation
currently affects half of the public school children in America.
Nationwide over 5,000 schools & districts are a part of our
organization’s campaign. Our newsletter, Appleseed Today,
reaches 400,000 educators each month. Our web site has over
250,000 unique visitors and is accessed in the United States and
over 30 countries around the world each day.
Top 10
Project Appleseed's leadership
is among the Top Ten in
American education. Project
Appleseed’s founder and president,
Kevin Walker, was named one the Top
Ten People In American Education
during the last decade of the 20th
century by Teacher magazine. Mr.
Walker is also the recipient of Parenting
magazine's Parenting Leader Award,
honoring men and women who are
working to improve the lives of children
and public education in the United
Project Appleseed is the #1 source for
'parental involvement in public schools'
in Google & Yahoo.
Our Mission
Project Appleseed is a major
educational resource and advocate
for parents and families engaged in the
pursuit of life, liberty and happiness
in America’s public schools.
We are a catalyst in the implementation of
effective, research based, model parent and
community involvement programs that increase
social capital, improves the lives of families and
revitalizes schools and communities
across the United States.
Project Appleseed
Our Three Purposes
To positively impact public education,
we promote total quality improvement in
learning, wellness, and school facilities.
We aid parents & educators in meeting the
needs of the whole child through three purposes:
1. Increasing student achievement by mobilizing parent,
family and community volunteers inside and outside schools.
2. Strengthening fitness & nutrition by supporting family
participation in physical activities and healthy eating.
3. Enhancing the learning environment by utilizing alumni
and community giving – as universities do - to finance the
rebuilding of public schools as green buildings.
Three Types of Giving in Public Schools
Volunteer Time
Volunteers give their time to such activities as parent decision making
committees, tutoring programs, after-school enrichment programs,
mentoring programs, and classroom support.
Monetary Contributions
Monetary donations are almost always targeted for a specific purpose
or program. Generally, schools first develop priorities, plans, or goals and
then approach private givers with specific proposals.
Material Donations
Many schools receive in-kind donations of instructional materials,
computers, software, equipment, supplies, gift certificates and more.
Rand Corp, Zimmer, Krop,
Kaganoff, Ross, Brewer, 2001
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President Obama Addresses Congress
What if 100 million parents, grandparents, and caring adults
volunteered 10 hours in America’s public schools each year?
They would contribute one billion hours
of valuable family involvement capacity critical to increasing student achievement
for the nation’s 50 million K-12 students.
Financially, if teachers dedicated similar time
one-on-one with their students, the minimum dollar
benefit to children and schools would be $34 billion.
That matches the $37 billion
spent by the federal government on
all public schools this year.
Based on the average teacher pay in America of
$34.00 an hour* Wall Street Journal. Includes: ESEA,
Title I, IDEA, Improving Teacher Quality, 21st
Century Community Learning Centers, English
Language Learners and Impact Aid
Barriers to Parental Involvement
The most recent research on effective parental
involvement shows that numerous barriers to
involvement exist for both schools and families.
Some barriers are created by limited resources, while
others originate from the beliefs, perceptions and
attitudes of families and school staff.
(Liontos, 1992)
The most common barriers to family involvement include:
Lack of teacher time.
Educator’s misperceptions of parents' abilities.
Lack of understanding of parents' communication styles.
Family mobility, limited family resources, such as
transportation and child care.
Parents' lack of comfort and vested interest in the school
along with tension in relationships between parents and
Difficulties of involvement in the upper grades.
(Jones, 2001; Baker, 2000; Caplan, 2000; American Association of School Administrators, 1998; Liontos, 1992)
Additionally, family involvement programs are
often not fully implemented because:
School staff had not been trained to work with families.
Administrators and teachers worried that increased family
involvement would add to their already busy schedules.
Educators were concerned that closer relationships with families
would mean giving up power and decision-making.
Families were not sure how far they could go in making suggestions
or asking questions; they worried that children would be punished
for their parents' actions by a teacher or principal who was annoyed
or threatened by the parent.
"It Takes A Parent”
Federal, state, and local officials must do a better job of abiding by the parental
involvement sections of the No Child Left Behind Act. "It Takes A Parent" is a report
based on research involving 18 school districts in six states. The report finds that:
Current parent involvement provisions of the law are
solid and ambitious, but require more faithful
implementation and greater enforcement.
Teachers and administrators often lack training in how
to engage parents; and parent involvement has fallen
to the bottom of the list of NCLB requirements, though
it is integral to the success of the law and of students
and schools.
Data reports are often confusing and overwhelming,
and parents wait months for performance results, often
into the next school year.
(Appleseed Foundation 2006)
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Leave No Parent Behind
Effective strategies to increase parent involvement programs
Engage in two-way, regular communication with
Start with a needs assessment like Project
Appleseed’s Parental Involvement Checklist
for schools and the Parental Involvement Report
Card for parents.
Tailor programs to schools' specific needs and be
respectful of diversity.
Clarify how parents can be involved in their
children's education by asking parents to take our
Parental Involvement Pledge.
Foster a climate of mutual respect and trust.
Welcome families into the school.
(Blazer& Drake 2000)
Click Here and Download
sample Adobe PDF copies of the
Parental Involvement Pledge
Parental Involvement Report Card
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The research identifies certain types of parental involvement and
specific strategies as effective in supporting student learning.
Increasing the number of contacts between the school and the
parent does appear to stimulate parent volunteerism.
Parent communication with school and parent participation in a
PTO/PTA can be influenced by schools. A study found that
increased school-initiated contact resulted in reciprocal parent
Thus, enhanced school contacts with parents should increase the
parents' contacts with school.
Creating opportunities to engage parents to a greater degree in
school can increase their involvement in the school's organizational
(Bourdieu 1990 & Feuerstein 2000)
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Pop Quiz: Parental Involvement Report Card
The Four Myths of Parental Involvement
Not all parent involvement
activities are created equal!
The National Center for Family and Community
Connections with Schools at the Southwest
Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) has
combed through research to learn how parents
can help improve their children's achievement.
Based on this research, SEDL responds to four
misconceptions of parent involvement in schools.
Myth #1: As a parent, the best way to get involved in my
child's education is by joining the local parents' organization.
Parents who are dues-paying members of their
children's school PTA are supporting the oldest
and largest child advocacy organization in the
United States. But being a member alone doesn't
ensure effective involvement in a child's learning.
To support achievement, research suggests the
most effective parental involvement focuses on
learning activities-reading to children, letting them
figure prices at the grocery store or setting aside
time and space to do homework and projects.
There are benefits in joining an organization like
the PTA or PTO, such as the opportunity to share
experiences and information with other parents
and access to organizational resources. Just the
same, parents can provide the support needed at
home for their children to be successful in school
without joining a local parent organization.
Myth #2: The teacher is the sole expert in educating a child,
so a parent should never question a teacher or staff on
school-related issues.
Teachers and parents or family caregivers play
different roles in a child's education. And a good
relationship between a teacher and a parent, based
on mutual respect and trust, benefits students. At
times, parents may need to ask a teacher or school
staff member for clarification about a specific issue or
Parents should contact their children's teachers or
other school staff when they have questions about
their children's education. Most school staff members
begin to see parents as partners when they know
they will ask questions when information is unclear.
Myth #3: The influence of parent involvement on school
achievement depends on the parents' income, level of education,
and employment status.
A large body of research confirms that family
involvement in children's school experiences has
a positive effect on children's attitudes toward
achievement in school, regardless of how much
money parents have or how many years of
school they completed.
More important is the parents' attitude toward
learning. Working parents may not have much
time to be involved at their children's schools,
but they can show how much they value
education and take an active interest in what
their children are learning.
Myth #4: The key actors in parent involvement are
the teacher, parents or family, and the student.
Meaningful and successful parent
involvement is not limited to
partnerships between parents and
teachers. Parents and family
caregivers should think of the following
educators and decision makers as
participants in their children's
educations-teachers, the principal, the
school board, the superintendent, and
public officials.
Parents can influence school board
members and public officials by
participating in meetings, voting, and
engaging in discussions of education
matters and child advocacy issues.
The Double Helix of Public Schools
In the 21st century school improvement works like the
double helix that combines and recombines genetic
material to renew life. An effective school improvement
strategy must combine two complementary strands:
The inside strand focuses on the content of schooling curricula, academic standards, incentives and work rules for
teachers and a philosophy of school management.
The outside strand attracts and mobilizes community and
political support, social capital, and other resources from
outside the traditional school bureaucracy - from parents,
grandparents, community members, alumni, businesses and
the larger community.
School Genome
Many communities have the financial, intellectual, and leadership resources needed to
rebuild their own educational improvement strategies. To initiate an effort to improve public
schools in all of our nation's communities, Project Appleseed concentrates on the outside
strand of school improvement. We mobilize Americans to volunteer and give to their local
public schools based on the Six Slices of Parental Involvement.
(Hill, 1989)
Six Types of Parental Involvement, Epstein, et. al. 2002.
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The Six Slices of Parental Involvement
GOAL: Recruit and organize parent help and support
Distribute Project Appleseed's learning compact known as the
Parental Involvement Pledge to recruit and organize parent
Distribute Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Report Card.
The Report Card is intended to help parents evaluate their
contributions to their child's success at school .
Slice 1
Use the Project Appleseed's Parent Volunteer Database to identify
all available talents, times, and locations of volunteers.
Establish a parent room or center for volunteer work, meetings,
and resources for families.
GOAL: Help all families establish home
environments to support children as
Home visits at transition points to preschool, elementary, middle
and high school; and neighborhood meetings to help families
understand schools and to help schools understand families.
School provides suggestions for home conditions that support
learning at each grade level, provides workshops, videotapes,
and/or computerized phone messages on parenting and childrearing .
Parent education and other courses or training for parents (e.g.,
GED, college credit; family literacy), and family support
programs to assist families with health nutrition, and other
Slice 2
GOAL: Design more effective forms of
school-to-home and home-to-school
communications with all families each
year about school programs and their
children's progress.
Parent and student pick-up of report card, with
conferences with every parent at least twice a year,
with follow-ups as needed.
Weekly or monthly folders of student work are sent
home and reviewed, parental comments returned to
teacher. Regular schedule of useful notices, memos,
phone calls, newsletters, and other communications.
Clear information on all school policies, programs
reforms, and transitions. Clear information on choosing
schools, or courses, programs, and activities within
Slice 3
GOAL: Provide information and ideas to
families about how to help students at home
with homework and other curricular-related
activities, decisions, and planning.
Information on homework policies and how to monitor, and
discuss schoolwork at home, and skills required for students in
all subjects at each grade.
Information on how to assist students to improve skills on
various class and school assignments.
Regular schedule of homework that requires students to
discuss and interact with families on what they are learning
in class (e.g., TIPS).
Goal setting for students with families each year, and for
future plans for college or work.
Slice 4
GOAL: Include parents in school decisions,
developing parent leaders and
Active PTA/PTO or other parent organizations, school
advisory councils for parent leadership and participation.
District level councils and committees for family and
community involvement.
Independent advocacy groups to work for school
improvements and to provide networks to link all families
with parent representatives.
Information on school or local elections for school
Slice 5
GOAL: Identify and integrate resources and
services from the community to strengthen
school programs, family practices, and
student learning.
Information for students and families on community health,
cultural, recreational, social support, and other programs or
Information on community activities that link to learning skills
and talents, including summer programs for students.
Service to the community by students, families, and schools
(e.g., recycling, art, music, drama, and other activities for
seniors or others, etc.)
Alumni to link to school programs for students.
Slice 6
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Community Outreach
The Parental Involvement Pledge
my pledge of commitment to help our community's children achieve a truly
independent future. My declaration of responsibility and commitment to
my public schools is stated in the five self-evident truths as spoken by
President Woodrow Wilson…
How To Build Capacity With the Pledge
Our Title I learning compact is called the
Parental Involvement Pledge and it is the
most widely distributed compact in the United
States. By signing the Pledge, parents agree
to "take personal responsibility" for their
children's education. We ask you, as parents,
grandparents or as caring adults, to pledge to
spend at least five hours each semester
assisting at school, and fifteen minutes
reading with your child each evening.
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How To Build Capacity With the Pledge
The Pledge is distributed to families in individual schools and school
districts, to connect them with volunteer opportunities programs for adults,
focusing on school improvement and building social capital for the school
The Pledge entices parents to come to school for volunteering, parenting,
academics, communication, safety, decision making, performances and more.
By coming to school often, parents communicate more with teachers on
their children's progress and learn how to support learning at home. Excited by
new ways to participate in school programs, and once comfortable, parents get
involved and volunteer to help.
Parents of students and other adults participate in programs to further
their own interests and education. Many parents become role models while
aslo stimulating their children's improved performance, by demonstrating an
interest in education,
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What Is It?
The Parental Involvement Pledge is a
learning compact that has two
components. It provides an
opportunity for parents to formalize
their commitment to working with their
child's school through a written
agreement they can complete and
take to their parent leader, school
secretary, teacher, or principal.
The Pledge also provides a survey of
parent volunteer interests. The survey
identifies 37 areas in which parents
can volunteer in school, outside the
classroom and at home. The Pledge is
aligned with the Six Slices of Parental
How Do You Use the Pledge?
The Pledge is a tool to share with staff and parent organizations
as a way of recruiting volunteers and appropriately connecting
them with specific needs and activities.
When Do You Use It?
Title I of No Child Left Behind requires that a Pledge or other
learning compact be used during parent-teacher conferences.
Use it also when you want to encourage parents to volunteer or
when you want teachers to invite and encourage parental
involvement on National Parental Involvement Day, the third
Thursday in November or Public School Volunteer Week which is
the third week of April.
Why Do You Use It?
U.S. Department of Education research demonstrates that
schools that use learning compacts like the Parental
Involvement Pledge have higher student achievement than
those that don't use them.
The Pledge provides a concrete way to help parents volunteer
because it allows them to choose very specific activities. It is
easier to get a commitment and follow-through if it is clear
exactly what is being asked and what is expected. (Prospects
Study 1993)
Who Do You Involve?
Use the Pledge with parents, family members, parent groups,
and staff as a tool and encouragement for parental
involvement. When parents are involved, their children do
better in school, and they go to better schools.
Organized Parental Involvementtm
A growing number of school improvement initiatives
seeking to transform schools are engaging significant
numbers of organized parents. The initiatives strive to
improve a school’s culture; the quality of relationships
among educators, parents, and children; and
students’ educational outcomes. The initiatives work
toward effecting systemic change in a school, and
they situate their reform efforts within the context of
the surrounding community.
Since schools alone cannot solve the problems imported into them from society, some
projects reach beyond schools; they draw upon the power of community institutions,
such as businesses, civic groups, and churches to improve schools and aspects of life
in the community that impact education. Successful systemic initiatives usually result in
an increase in the quantity and quality of the various forms of parent involvement,
such as the number of parent volunteers in the school, and the number of parents
helping their children with homework.
(Lewis, 1997; Murnane & Levy, 1996, Giles 1998)
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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
How Much Is Parental Involvement
Worth to Your School?
If volunteer service were calculated into the
school budget at $34.00 an hour, based on the
average teacher pay in America*, then 100
family volunteers who take the Pledge will
generate at least $34,000.00 of volunteer service
for their school each year!
How much volunteer time
did your school get this year???
For just $250.00 per school, the Parental Involvement
Toolbox has the cost effective, research-based
tools, like our learning compact called the
Parental Involvement Pledge.
We can help you balance the budget.
* Wall Street Journal February 2, 2007
Create A Toolbox for Your Schools
Each Toolbox has school branded master
copies and a year long authorization to
reproduce unlimited copies of the Toolbox.
One Year - $250.00 - Reproduction rights for one year
at an individual school. Number of additional district
schools? @ $125.00 each.
Two Years - $350.00 - Reproduction rights for two
years at an individual school. Number of additional
district schools? @$175.00 each.
Three Years - $500.00 - Reproduction rights for three
years at an individual school. Number of additional
district schools? @ $200.00 each.
Get the Parental Involvement Toolbox Today!
Project Appleseed has developed effective community
engagement strategies that will organize parental involvement,
increase school safety, and raise student achievement in local
school districts. Each Toolbox has school branded master copies
and a year long authorization to reproduce unlimited copies of:
The Parental Involvement Pledge learning compact
Parental Involvement Pledge Online
The Parental Involvement Report Card
Certificates of Parental Involvement for families and schools
Parent Organizing Database 1.1 Software ...... more!
Tools In The Parental Involvement Toolbox
1. Parent Volunteer Recruitment Tools.
Master copies of the Parental Involvement Pledge.pdf,
branded with your school's name, for distribution to
every student and family.
Master copies of the Parental Involvement Report
Card.pdf self-assessment, for distribution to every
parent, grandparent, and caring adult.
Web page for the Parental Involvement Pledge
Online, branded with your school's name, for
accessibility anywhere!
Masterfiles are in Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf files). Toolboxes
are delivered by e-mail.
Tools In The Parental Involvement Toolbox
2. Parent Organizing Database 1.1
A complete data base for all Pledged volunteers-parents, grandparents, families and community
Monitor Pledge fulfillment activity of each volunteer.
Keep detailed information on unique volunteer
preferences and abilities...and more!
Tools In The Parental Involvement Toolbox
3. Staff Support Tools
Suggestions on How To Run A Successful Pledge
Twenty-Six Ways to Reach Out to Parents.
Project Appleseed's Newsletter Appleseed
A Certificate of Recognition.
Title I, Parental Involvement Certification
Regular e-mail updates on Project Appleseed
and parental involvement best practices.
Sample letters for parent recruitment.
Tools In The Parental Involvement Toolbox
4. Training With PowerPoint Central
The Best Parental Involvement
Training Resources In America are
presented by the nation's leading
researchers and leaders in the
parental involvement.
The United States Department of
Education has provided Project
Appleseed with 30 PowerPoint .ppt
presentations for distribution to our
There are several ways to order:
Order on-line at click here.
Order by Email Now. Click here to email a request for an invoice. Send
us your name, title, address, school, district and phone number. Indicate
the number of schools and the number of years.
Purchase Orders - Click here and download an order form and mail to:
Project Appleseed / 520 Melville Avenue / St. Louis, Missouri, 63130-4506.
Secure Credit Card - Use your major credit card or debit card. Debit
cards (also called check cards, ATM cards, or banking cards) are accepted
if they bear the Visa or MasterCard logo. Click here and go to our secure
donation site at the Network for Good. Once there you will create a
password, enter your order as a 'Parental Involvement Toolbox', and enter
the correct 'donation' amount for your school or district.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
Title I No Child Left Behind
"Principles: The overall goals of the ARRA are to stimulate the
economy in the short term and invest in education and other
essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of
our nation. The success of the education part of the ARRA will
depend on the shared commitment and responsibility of students,
parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, education boards,
college presidents, state school chiefs, governors, local officials, and
federal officials."
Under Title I, each school district is required to spend at least 1% of
its Title I funds on programs for parents. Parents must be involved in
decisions about how that money is to be spent. In fact, parents must
jointly develop and approve the district and school's parent
involvement policies which should spell out how this money is spent.
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Copyright 2008
520 Melville Avenue / St. Louis, MO 63130-4506
Phone (615) 686-2195 / Fax (314) 725-2319
A 501 (c) (3) Tax Exempt Organization
Source notes in print at