Middle - PARCC

Stepping Up with PARCC
Tips for hosting a PARCC family night in Middle School
Incorporate key information throughout the evening.
New standards create the need for new assessments.
These tests not only evaluate students’ progress, but
also show teachers and parents where a student needs
help so they are able to personalize instruction to meet
individual student needs.
These tests will help us ensure that all students,
regardless of income or family background, have equal
access to a world-class education that will prepare them
for in high school and beyond.
These tests will help students achieve, which will lead
to a better-educated workforce, stronger communities,
and a more competitive United States.
These tests serve as an educational GPS system,
assessing where a student currently is and determining
the best route to get to where they need to be by
graduation so they are career and college ready.
The new standards will improve student achievement
over time as teachers and students get used to the new
standards and tests. Reports of fewer students meeting
grade-level expectations don’t necessarily mean that
schools are performing worse or that students are
learning less.
Make families feel welcome!
Just like you do with your students, greet families at the
door and direct them to the right place. Ask student
volunteers to help.
Create a parking lot for questions or have information
booths to answer families’ questions. Make sure to
remind families that they will get additional
information through follow up communications from
the school in a newsletter, email or flier.
Offer translation and interpretation services for
families. Consider asking students’ family members to
be volunteer interpreters.
Create family packets or resource stations and include a
place to take notes. Consider lending out pencils or
pens to those who forgot their own.
Begin with a welcome and overview.
Explain the shift to new standards and PARCC using a
PowerPoint or video.
Address anxieties that come with change but set a
positive tone throughout the night. Focus on how these
changes will benefit students and provide parents with
more information on how their children are doing.
Consider inviting a principal or guidance counselor
from the high school to explain how the new verticallyaligned standards set up students for success in middle
school, high school and beyond.
Encourage families to write down their questions to ask
during small group sessions, at the information booths
or to record in the parking lot.
Tips for hosting a PARCC family night in Middle School
• Score report review: Show families a sample score
report, and provide a walk through on what kind of
information will be displayed on different parts of the
report. Discuss what information is useful to have
about their students and why. Consider showing them
ways in which you will use this information to help
their students in the classroom. Provide sample
questions that family members can ask teachers about
their student’s progress and how your state, district
and school will use this information to prepare
students and inform their shifts to high school.
Consider inviting a high school guidance counselor to
serve as a resource. (We will have more information
on this topic coming soon.)
After the overview, consider moving families to classrooms
for smaller group presentations.
Smaller groups can help families feel more comfortable
asking questions and can give them an opportunity to
learn more information about how they can help their
individual student.
Examples of small group sessions include:
• Family members become the students. Demonstrate
how new standards are implemented in the classroom
by delivering a lesson to the parents and family
members. Consider grouping attendees by subject or
grade. Ask family members to share how they solve
problems or reason through the lesson just like you do
with your students!
• Homework help role playing. Ask for parent and
student volunteers to role play working through a
challenging homework assignment. Remind families
that they do not have to be an expert in a subject to
help with homework. Families should stay positive and
value productive struggle as natural and necessary to
learning. Highlight online resources that students and
families can use to help with challenging content.
• Student-led sessions: Have students show families
how they would complete a short assignment or
PARCC practice test item. Moderate the session and
remain available as a resource to the students. Remind
families that this may be different than the way they
learned when they were in school and that is okay!
• Take the test sessions: Offer parents and families the
opportunity to take a PARCC practice test using the
same format (tablet, desktop, or pencil and paper) as
their student. If your school is using the computerbased assessment, show families the technology
tutorial and explain how your school is incorporating
technology into the classroom. If you school is using
the paper based assessment, share your school or
district’s plan to shift to computer based testing.
Offer continued support beyond the family night event.
Provide resources and information about who parents
should contact if they have questions.
For 8th grade student parents and families, consider
scheduling an end-of-year family night to talk about
summer strategies and what families might expect as
their students transition from middle school to high
Offer to host an “Understanding the Score Report” night
in late spring. More resources, including a video, will be
available later this year.
Check with your local or state PTA and other PARCC
partners to see if they have webinars or other parent
information nights to share with attendees.

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