Parent Involvement and the New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Parent Involvement and the New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has important family and parent involvement provisions embedded in the reauthorization by Congress. As Michele Brooks, a former assistant superintendent of family engagement for Boston Public Schools, writes on the Harvard Family Research Project site this emphasis on family involvement opens a window of opportunity.

As Books reports, this change in the policy environment is key to the continued evolution of parent and family involvement in schools. For example, a joint draft on family engagement prepared by both the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Health and Human Services is now out for public comment.

DOE has also released a framework for creating and maintaining a partnership between schools and parents. Called Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, this document lays out a framework that helps support the development of the parent-school partnership.

The framework spells out seven important outcomes for parents and families, which set families up for academic success. Parents will be seen as:

• Supporters of their children’s learning and development
• Encouragers of an achievement identity, a positive self image, and a “can do” spirit in their children
• Monitors of their children’s time, behavior, boundaries and resources
• Models of lifelong learning and enthusiasm for education
• Advocates/Activists for improved learning opportunities for their children and at their schools
• Decision-makers/choosers of educational options for their children, the school, and community
• Collaborators with school staff and members of the community on issues of school improvement and reform

Brooks also discusses how districts are responding by establishing leadership positions focused on parent involvement. At this point, she writes, “105 districts nationally have identified people in their district who work on family and parent engagement and participate in the District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement, which is sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership.”

The window of opportunity is wide open at the moment and it’s up to school district leaders, principals, teachers, and parents to keep that window open. Programs such as The Latino Family Literacy Project help keep that window open with its focus on sustained parent involvement and family reading. See what districts are saying about The Latino Family Literacy Project and its focus on Parental Involvement.

Parent Involvement and the New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Katherine Del MonteParent Involvement and the New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)