Friday, April 03, 2020
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Idaho Parents Unlimited supports, empowers, educates and advocates to enhance the quality of life for Idahoans with disabilities and their families

Six Keys of Parent, School, and Community Collaboration

 The keys to successful school, family, and community partnerships.

Check Out Head Start's Family Engagement Video Series

The Best Practices in Family and Community Engagement Video Series is designed to support each program's efforts toward systemic and integrated engagement. Rooted in the Office of Head Start (OHS) Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework, the videos highlight examples of innovative approaches to engagement that foster strong relationships with families and lead to positive outcomes for children and families.

How Can Parents be Involved in the RTI Process?

The hallmarks of effective home-school collaboration include open communication and involvement of parents in all stages of the learning process. Being informed about your school's RTI process is the first step to becoming an active partner. Both the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities advise parents to ask the following questions:

  • Does our school use an RTI process? If not, are there plans to adopt one? Be aware that your child's school may call their procedures a "problem solving process," or may have a unique title for their procedures, e.g., Instructional Support Team, and not use the specific RTI terminology
  • Are their written materials for parents explaining the RTI process? How can parents be involved in the various phases of the RTI process?
  • What interventions are being used, and are these scientifically based as supported by research?
  • What length of time is recommended for an intervention before determining if the student is making adequate progress?
  • How do school personnel check to be sure that the interventions were carried out as planned?
  • What techniques are being used to monitor student progress and the effectiveness of the interventions? Does the school provide parents with regular progress monitoring reports?
  • At what point in the RTI process are parents informed of their due process rights under IDEA 2004, including the right to request an evaluation for special education eligibility?

How to Build a Powerful Collaboration Team

A powerful collaboration team depends on teachers working together to analyze data to improve their classroom practices and drive the school improvement process. To build an effective collaboration team, consider these tips from the Educational Leadership article, “What is a ‘Professional Learning Community,’”:

  • Be open about data that was once kept private. From goals and strategies, to materials and pacing, teachers must discuss and collaborate using shared data in order to improve classroom practices and witness results.
  • It is critical that each teacher is part of a collaboration team within the school. Teachers need to be dedicated to student learning, taking time to meet during the school day and throughout the year. 
  • Teams must focus their efforts on answering critical questions related to improving student learning. Products generated by the teams may include: Lists of essential outcomes, different kinds of assessment, analyses of student achievement and strategies for improving results.
  • Teams must establish protocols to clarify expectations regarding individual roles, responsibilities and relationships among team members.
  • Teams must adopt student achievement goals linked with school and district goals.

Building a powerful collaboration team – and using the insights the team creates – is a critical method for improving academic achievement in a classroom, school or district.

Questions to Ask Your School or District About RTI

In addition to understanding RTI, when this process is being used to educate your child it is also important for parents to be included as partners with schools in the adoption and implementation of RTI programs. How do you do that? Here are some questions that we can ask as our school and/or district is adopting an RTI process:

  1. In considering whether and how to implement RTI, what is the school and/or district strategy for reviewing curriculum options? How will parents be included in this process?
  2. Does this process ensure that the curriculum adopted will address the needs of the student population?
  3. Does the curriculum include materials that parents can use at home?
  4. Are there sufficient resources (time, materials, and staff) to be able to offer the variety of proven instructional strategies needed to address diverse student needs?
  5. How will our teachers be trained in using tools and methods for measuring student performance that recognize small increments of growth?
  6. What interventions will be used? Are these scientifically based as supported by research? Will they address the cultural and language needs of our students?
  7. Does the district have clear, objective guidelines for determining an "adequate" response to an intervention—how much progress over what period of time will determine if an intervention is successful? How will school personnel check to be sure that the interventions were carried out as planned?
  8. At what point in the RTI process are parents informed of their due process rights under IDEA 2004, including the right to request an evaluation for special education eligibility?
  9. Does the school and district have a plan for keeping parents informed as the new procedures are put into place? Are there written materials for parents that explain the RTI process?
  10. Does our school and district have specific ways to include parents as partners in the process, including regular school-wide or districtwide meetings to let parents know what is working and what additional efforts or resources may be needed?