Focusing on the Early Years

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FOCUSING ON THE EARLY YEARS:
WHY IT MATTERS & WHAT
YOU CAN DO
PRESENTERS:
BOB BUTTS, ASST. SUPT. OF EARLY LEARNING, OSPI
MARI TAYLOR, WSSDA PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR, LAKE STEVENS SD
MARY FERTAKIS, WSSDA PAST PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR, TUKWILA SD
SARAH LYTLE, PH.D., DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH & EDUCATION, I-LABS, UW
WSSDA ANNUAL CONFERENCE, NOV. 20, 2014
AGENDA
• Welcome & Introductions
• Session Objectives
• Participant Survey: P-3 Inventory
• Why Early Learning?: Current Brain Research; Making EL a priority
at the District level; Return on Investment
• Pre-K & K-3 Actions: Inventory Components; Family Engagement;
K-3 Reading
• Next Steps
SESSION OBJECTIVES
1. Recognize the critical importance of the early years of
a child’s development.
2. Based on the information provided, identify additional
actions and the next steps participants can take in
their districts to expand pre-K – 3rd grade activities.
PARTICIPANT SURVEY
**** Please take 5 mins. to complete the P-3 Inventory
form at your table ****
WHAT PRE-K ACTIONS CAN A DISTRICT TAKE?
• Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT).
• Special Education for 3-5 year olds.
• Provide family engagement opportunities prior to kindergarten.
• Partner with early learning providers.
• Help provide high quality pre-school opportunities.
• Provide preparation for studnets before kindergarten entry.
• Other actions? (What additional actions is your district taking?)
WHAT K-3RD GRADE ACTIONS CAN A DISTRICT TAKE?
• Provide full-day kindergarten.
• Create a system to identify students who need extra help and provide them with it.
• Engage our commuhity to provide the social and health supports many
students/families need.
• Provide extended learning opportunities (i.e. before, after & summer school
programs).
• Professional development to ensure K-3 teachers understand child development, the
needs of children living in poverty, and how to teach students to read.
• Use available K-3 class size reduction dollars for this purpose.
• Have a designated Early Learning Coordinator on staff.
FOCUS ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT:
LEARNINGS FROM THE HARVARD FAMILY ENGAGEMENT INSTITUTE
• Parent involvement needs to occur from Pre-K through 12th grade.
• Family engagement is not a “program” – it needs to be built into our systems.
• Building trusting relationships with teachers and the school is of paramount
importance for families to feel connected.
• We must shift from deficit to asset-based thinking as we problem-solve, honor
community, and value families as “co-producers” in our partnership.
• Create hands-on learning opportunities for families and students.
FOCUS ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT:
LEARNINGS FROM THE HARVARD FAMILY ENGAGEMENT INSTITUTE
• Parents volunteering and mentoring helps educate children both at home and at
school.
• Parent communication should be with teachers, the district, and the community.
• Communication between parents and teachers should include both the good and
the bad.
• “My expectations for communication with teachers are to know what is being
taught, when it is being taught, and what I can do to prepare my child for
testing.”
FOCUS ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT:
LEARNINGS FROM THE HARVARD FAMILY ENGAGEMENT INSTITUTE
• Relationships are key for successful engagement and reach across all areas:
home and family; school; community.
• Research data supports the positive academic and social outcomes that result
from effective family engagement.
• Ties to community (as well as schools) can have a sustained effect on learning
outcomes.
• Are our schools welcoming? Assess the “welcoming” nature of how parents and
community members feel upon entering our buildings - from how they are
greeted, to the messages communicated on signage around the schools.
FOCUS ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT:
LEARNINGS FROM THE HARVARD FAMILY ENGAGEMENT INSTITUTE
• We must share essential core beliefs of what families want for their children:
-> All parents have dreams for their children and want the best for them
-> All parents have the capacity to support their children’s learning.
-> Parents and school staff should be equal partners.
-> The responsibility for building partnerships between school and home
rests primarily with school staff, especially school leaders.
FOCUS ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT:
LEARNINGS FROM THE HARVARD FAMILY ENGAGEMENT INSTITUTE
• The primary responsibility for initiating family engagement needs to come from
school leaders and staff.
• FE initiatives need to be linked to student learning – less focus on social,
celebratory and informational activities (“feasts and festivals”).
• We (all levels of the district) have to prove we can be trusted.
• “What we need to be measuring is the change in family/parent behaviors, NOT
student test scores in order to evaluate if our parent engagement initiatives are
successful.” (Dr. Karen Mapp)
FOCUS ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT:
LEARNINGS FROM THE HARVARD FAMILY ENGAGEMENT INSTITUTE
* Readiness and willingness are key - both have to be in place or strategies and
initiatives won’t work.
* Our governance role in family engagement:
-> Ensure our policies are aligned with our family engagement philosophy so
policy and practice are working together;
-> Work with staff to identify policies that need to incorporate updated family
engagement language - and where this language should be included if it doesn’t
currently exist in policy;
-> Make intentional decisions about resource allocation based on family
engagement as a priority.
DISCUSSION & NEXT STEPS
THANK YOU!
Bob Butts: [email protected]
Mari Taylor: [email protected]
Mary Fertakis: [email protected]
Sarah Roseberry Lytle: [email protected]
THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING.
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