DiscoverThePower ofPartnershipsA Guide to PTA’sBuilding SuccessfulPartnerships Process

Student grades and school pride are on the rise at Fremont HighSchool in Sunnyvale, California.Van Bokkelen Elementary School in Severn, Maryland—onceon the verge of being taken over by the state—has now madeadequate yearly progress for four consecutive years.Despite high student-to-teacher ratios at Appoquinimink EarlyChildhood Center in Middletown, Delaware, kindergartners aregetting the individual attention they need as early learners.Why?Family-SchoolPartnershipsThe PTA WayRead on to learn more about building successfulpartnerships in your community!See students soar! Get national recognition!·2·

Building Successful Partnerships—The PTA WayFrom Awareness When families, schools, and communities work together, Student achievement improves. Teacher morale rises. Communication among parents, teachers, and administrators increases. Family, school, and community connections multiply.It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. Familyinvolvement at home and in schools promotes studentsuccess. And there’s more than 30 years of research toback that up.Inform your school community of the power of their involvementin children’s development. Then, educate the community on waysto maximize their involvement.To Action Involvement doesn’t just happen; it must be encouraged, cultivated. Policiesand programs that focus on what families, schools, and communities can dotogether to support student success are crucial.Use the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships to develop, evaluate,and improve involvement practices at your school. Build successful familyschool partnerships—the PTA way.To Celebration.Family involvement promotes student success. You can never say it enough.And when you see it happening at your school, celebrate!Let your community know that it’s not just studies about other schools thatshow the link between involvement and achievement—it’s the experience atyour school as well. Advertise your accomplishments in the community, and aimfor PTA’s national Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Family-SchoolPartnership Award!·3·

Building Successful Partnerships—The PTA WayPTA National Standards for Family-School PartnershipsThe National Standards are PTA’s framework for how families, schools, and communitiesshould work together to support student success. Each of these standards is rooted inthe value of mutual respect, trust, and courtesy.Standard 1: Welcoming all families into the school community—Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed,valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students arelearning and doing in class.Standard 2: Communicating effectively—Families and school staffengage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning.Standard 3: Supporting student success—Families and school staffcontinuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy developmentboth at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen theirknowledge and skills to do so effectively.Standard 4: Speaking up for every child—Families are empowered to beadvocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treatedfairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.Standard 5: Sharing power—Families and school staff are equal partnersin decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence,and create policies, practices, and programs.Standard 6: Collaborating with community—Families and school staffcollaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staffto expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.For the National Standards Implementation Guide.·4·

Building Successful Partnerships—The PTA WayMake effective family-school partnerships a reality for your community, andsee the difference it makes for students. The National Standards outline thekey elements of involvement to address. The Building Successful Partnershipsprocess gives you a flexible, open approach to achieving your goals. RaiseAwarenessCelebrateSuccess TakeActionAssessPsgresro gn PoliciesAli rogramsdPna·5·

Building Successful Partnerships—AwarenessTogether, School Groups Boost Student SuccessFremont High School’s Students for Success Peer Tutoring Club—acollaboration between the school’s PTSA, National Honor Society, andteachers—is encouraging good study habits and raising student grades.Half of the regularly tutored students improved by a letter grade in at leastone subject in just one semester! Plus, the program is making school cool.Raise AwarenessContinually educate school stakeholders about the importance of family and community involvement in children’s academic experience, andthe vital roles they can play.Stakeholders include parents, extended family members, other caregivers, teachers, school staff and administrators, community leaders, local businesses and organizations, and more.Present the message about involvement not only to regular PTA and school audiencesbut also to local service and social clubs, town meetings, church groups, major areaemployers, etc. Tell them how they can help improve your school, raise studentachievement, and benefit themselves and the rest of the community.As you talk about roles and opportunities, introduce the National Standards and theBuilding Successful Partnerships process as tools for increasing involvement.By reaching out to these groups and individuals, you’ll build trust and ownership—gaining support for the school, the students, your PTA, and the work ahead.Tip: Identify willing individuals from all stakeholdergroups, backgrounds, and neighborhoods in the community to take leading roles in building successful partnerships. Each stage of the process offers stakeholdersan opportunity to contribute according to their interests and abilities, whether it’s by giving presenta-·6·

Building Successful Partnerships—Awarenesstions, being part of a focus group, helping put together a newsletter orevent, serving on the action team, talking one-on-one with potential partners, or something entirely different.Resources.PowerPoint presentations are available to give principals, parents,and other community members an overview of the NationalStandards and the research behind them, as well as practice-basedinformation on how to strengthen family and community partnerships with schools.There are also handouts, with specific tips for parents and teacherson partnering to support student learning, to enhancepresentations, share through newsletters andwebsites, and use as takeaways atPTA and school events.·7·

Building Successful Partnerships—ActionCollaborations with Community Engage Parents in SchoolPTA leaders at Van Bokkelen Elementary School knew that to improvestudent achievement, they needed to involve parents and the community—a challenge at this Title I school. Working with such groups as the MarylandState Department of Education, YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, and a community college, the school and its PTA introduced after-school programs, adulteducation, and resources to help families support learning at home. Theschool has become a community hub, and parents have gained confidencein their ability to partner in their children’s education. The benefits of thesechanges can be seen in improved grades and test scores across the board,and in four consecutive years of making adequate yearly progress. Not badfor a school that used to be one of the worst performing in the state!Take ActionWith a shared understanding of what it takes for students to be successful in school, you and your school and community peers areready to take action.Work with your principal to create an action team that reflects theschool community. Your team may include a teacher, librarian, parent, grandparent,student council president, neighbor from the community, representative from a youthserving organization, and others.Evaluate the current state of family-school-community partnerships at your school.Identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as incentives and barriers to involvement. Using the school improvement plan as a reference, discuss how the strengthsand weaknesses are impacting student achievement.Then, create a clear, compelling vision for how families, the school, and the community can work together for student success. Apply the National Standards to yourcommunity’s unique situation.·8·

Building Successful Partnerships—ActionTo make your vision a reality, develop an action plan to align policies, programs,and practices with the National Standards. Address the weakness and barriers youidentified, and reinforce the strengths. As with any action plan, be sure to definemeasurable goals.Periodically assess your progress to determine where improvements have been madeand where further work must be done. Also, since a community’s composition andneeds are continually changing, continually assess the relevance of your work and thebuy-in from the community.Putting It Into Practice: Eastwood Elementary School in Decatur,Alabama, evaluated its communication practices and found that, amongother things, there was no consistent method of sharing classroom information with parents. After looking at what several other schools did to facilitateteacher-parent communication, the action team selected an academicplanner, approved by the principal, to become the schoolwide method forcommunicating homework, tests, and other classroom activities—makingparents true partners with teachers in supporting student learning.ResourcesThe National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Implementation Guideprovides examples of what each standard may look like in practice, and can help inevaluating your school’s progress in building successfulpartnerships. The guide also includes actionideas for each standard, and stories ofhow communities are working towardsuccess. PTA Three for Me helps schools and PTAs organizeinvolvement and tap into parents’ talents and skills, andhelps family members find ways to stay involved andsupport their children’s schools.·9·

Building Successful Partnerships—CelebrationFamilies Speak Up and See ResultsWhen student-to-teacher ratios reached as high as 27:1 at theAppoquinimink Early Childhood Center, parents spoke up to ensure abetter educational experience for their children. The PTA collaborated withfamilies and school staff to explore solutions to the maxed-out classrooms;then, they presented the district board of education with a proposal. Theboard responded and took steps to ensure that the kindergarteners wouldreceive the guidance and attention they needed to succeed.Celebrate SuccessCapitalize on your accomplishments! Your successes—big andsmall—are your PTA’s best form of advertisement.Publish stories in school and district newsletters, send pressreleases to local media, and post pictures and outcomes online togive stakeholders real-life proof of involvement’s power to improveschools and benefit students. Success stories will show school leaders and currentand potential members, donors, and partnering organizations why their involvementand collaboration is critical to student success.The more you promote your successes, the more people will want to get involved—and the more your children will succeed!ResourcesThe PTA Report to the Community is a template for highlighting your PTA’saccomplishments in increasing involvement to supportteaching and learning, and for introducing your plans tocontinue that effort. This report can not only continue toheighten awareness in your community but, combined withthe reports of other communities, demonstrate to thenation the collective impact PTA is making on studentachievement through family-school partnerships.Download the report template.· 10 ·

Building Successful Partnerships—CelebrationSeek national recognition—and reward—for your collaborativeefforts! Apply for the Phoebe Apperson Hearst FamilySchool Partnerships Awards:Outstanding Family-School Partnership AwardFor exemplary implementation of all six NationalStandards, one local PTA will receive a monetaryaward of 2,000.Family-School Partnership Award of ExcellenceFor representing the best in one National Standard each, six local PTAs willreceive monetary awards of 500.Family-School Partnership Award of MeritFor demonstrating a commitment to building partnerships, all local PTAs thatapply will receive a certificate of recognition.Learn more at .DiscoverThe Power of Partnerships.· 11 ·

About PTAPTA is the largest volunteer parent organization in the United States. It comprises morethan 5 million members devoted to theeducational success of children and thepromotion of parent involvement in schools.PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofitorganization that prides itself on being apowerful voice for all children, a relevantresource for families and communities, anda strong advocate for public education.Membership in PTA is open to anyone whois concerned with the education, health, andwelfare of children and youth.Join PTA in Building SuccessfulFamily-School Partnerships Today.(800) 307-4PTA (4782). Printed in U.S.A. (8/08)and everychild.onevoice. are registered service marks of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.