Family engagement is a crucial aspect of the educational institution and academic success. For that reason, educators and school administrators stress the benefits of schools, families, and the community working together to benefit their districts’ students. When families are engaged in their children’s educational endeavors, they are helping to create a community that is conducive to learning. The U.S. Department of Education also understands the importance of family engagement and has set engagement requirements for schools.
Take a look at the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Education in Part A – Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies: Subpart 1 – Basic Requirements Sec. 1118. Parental Involvement:
- Local schools can receive funds under the Part A- Improving Basic Programs policy, if they create and offer programs and activities that implement meaningful communication with parents of participating English Learner (EL) children.
- Participating local schools that receive government funds must develop and distribute a written parental involvement policy. Said policy will list expectations for parental involvement and will be incorporated with Sec. 112. Local Educational Agency Plans.
- A certain amount of funds shall be allocated towards promoting family literacy and parenting skills. Parents will have the authority to make decisions on how funds are used and dispersed.
- Schools receiving funds are required to jointly develop a written parental involvement policy. Parents will have the right to decide how these requirements will be carried out. Said policy will be disseminated in the languages spoken by the parents. If parents are not content or do not approve of the plan, it may be amended.
- All schools participating in the program must have an annual meeting to explain the requirements of the program and the parents’ rights.
- Participating schools must offer several meetings throughout the school year at flexible times, so that all parents can get a chance to participate.
- Schools must provide information that helps parents understand state standards for academic content and achievement.
- Schools must provide parents with descriptions and explanations of the curriculum, academic assessments, and other decisions regarding their children’s academic endeavors.
- Whenever possible, participating school shall integrate parental involvement activities with other programs, such as Home Instruction Programs for Preschoolers, Early Reading, Head Start, and more.
For more information on how to better serve your students and community, visit the Latino Family Literacy Project. The organization offers resources and access to webinars that better prepare teachers and school administrators who are working with English Language Learners (ELLs) and immigrant communities. The Project provides information on how to work with ELL parents, so that schools and parents work together toward the academic success of their children.