ENGAGING FAMILIES THROUGH COLLABORATIVE, CULTURALLY-RESPONSIVE, AND STRENGTHS-BASED APPROACHES Katharine Shepherd, Ed.D. Associate Professor University of Vermont [email protected] AGENDA • Introductions and overview (30 minutes) • Framing the Issues (1 hour): – Legal and Historical Underpinnings – Lessons from Research – Framework for Culturally Responsive Systems • People, Practice, and Policy Considerations • Focus on People: Cultivating Self-awareness, Understanding and Strengths-Based Attitudes and Beliefs (45 minutes) • Break (15 minutes) • Focus on Practice: Promoting Cultural Reciprocity, Collaboration, and Family-Focused Decision-Making (90 minutes) • Lunch (1 hour) • Focus on Policies: Considering Language and Culture in School – Based Policies, Practices, and Procedures (45 minutes) • Closing: What’s Next? (15 minutes) OBJECTIVES AND AGREEMENTS Throughout the day, we will: • Consider the need for collaborative, strengths-based and culturally-responsive approaches for engaging families and creating partnerships with families from diverse backgrounds • Explore our own beliefs and assumptions about families • Identify practices and policies that foster positive approaches and the development of trusting family partnerships • Listen to one another for new ideas • Think about actions to be taken in the future THE GOAL: ENGAGING FAMILIES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DEVELOPING FAMILY PARTNERSHIP Family partnership occurs when families and professionals have trusting partnerships and families have multiple opportunities for meaningful engagement in their children’s education and in the life of the school. -Haines, McCart, & Turnbull, 2013 INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS “Historically, deficit views of culturally and linguistically diverse families and of children’s learning difficulties have combined to discourage family participation in schooling and in the special education referral process (Harry, 1992)…. We recommend professional development for teachers and administrators to change a pervasive negative attitude towards culturally and linguistically diverse families living in poverty and a propensity to blame them for their children’s struggles… We see great potential in proactive collaborative models that focus on family strengths and finding common ground upon which to build, and include parents in assessment, placement, and policy-making decisions, thereby restoring the balance of power in parent-professional discourse”(Klingner, Artiles, Kozleski, Harry, Zion, Tate, Duran, & Riley, 2005, p.22). YOUR CONSIDERATIONS • What experiences have you had in engaging parents from diverse backgrounds in educational decision-making and planning? – Positive experiences? – Negative experiences? – Questions? FRAMING THE ISSUES: HISTORY, LEGAL BASIS AND RESEARCH • The IDEA and parent participation • Research on parent participation: – Benefits and barriers – Family voices • Persistent challenges for families from diverse backgrounds • Disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students IDEA • • • • • • Zero Reject Nondiscriminatory evaluation Appropriate education Least restrictive environment Procedural due process Parent participation MULTIPLE ROLES FOR PARENTS AND FAMILIES: WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS • Changing perceptions of parents and families in general education • Family involvement and student outcomes (e.g., Epstein, 2010; Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Leithwood, 2010) • Parents/Families as: recipients of professionals’ decisions, organization members, service developers, teachers, political advocates, educational decision-makers, partners (Turnbull, Turnbull et al., 2015) STUDIES OF PARENT PARTICIPATION • Initial studies (1970s and early 80s): Parents as passive participants, parents as satisfied recipients of information and decisions, teachers viewing passive roles as appropriate roles • Paradigm shifts (1980s and 90s): Family systems theory and family support models; greater choice and definition of outcomes (e.g., BlueBanning et al., 2004; Bruder, 2000; Salembier & Furney, 1997) • Alternative interpretations of earlier studies: Language, power and privilege (Harry, 1992; LopezVasquez, 2001; Rao, 2000) STUDIES OF CLD FAMILIES • Cultural definitions of disability: Organic and medical etiologies vs. collective and spiritual interpretations (Kalynapur & Harry, 1992; Jegathaseen, Miller, & Fowler, 2010; Lamory, 2002) • Cultural interpretations/beliefs about the future: Ideals about efficiency, independence, self-determination and equity as compared to ideals of family associations, extended family, collective goals (Kalyanpur & Harry, 2012; Sileo et al, 1996) • Acknowledgement of special education as a cultural institution (Kalyanpur & Harry, 2012) VOICES FROM UVM RESEARCH: THE PATH TO DIAGNOSIS “To this day what remains my biggest frustration about it is it feels like you are going to a country where everyone knows the rules and everyone knows the language and everyone knows the secret handshakes and they don’t tell you anything about it.” “I think that’s a really natural thing for any parent to go through is at first you get this overwhelming sense of grief. [Emotional] I’m sorry. The playback on this is difficult to go there, because at the same time, I still have some, I think that every parent gets that sensation, even if it’s a physical defect, birth defect or, and then you just pick it up.” VOICES: KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE • “It’s like calling the fire department. You expect a truck to come and you expect them to have the right equipment and the right firefighters, the right skills and they’re going to help you and when they don’t show up and they don’t put out the fire, you got your hands full and so I think that, you know, as human servants, they need to be firefighters and rescue people. …That’s what parents need. It feeds their hope. I like to go home, go to be and close my eyes and go to sleep and know that somebody has actually got my back.” VOICES: KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE • “It almost seems that a generation or two generations ago you went to a doctor, you didn’t bring a lot of your own information, you didn’t challenge what the doctor said, you took what they said and did it and it seems like the whole special ed area needs, like it’s time for that to happen because I think it still runs like an old school doctor’s office where you show up and they will tell you what you will or will not do and instead it needs to be, “here’s my information” and here’s how we are going to make it work for all of us and this is what I don’t agree with and it’s okay for me to say that. I shouldn’t be shut down for not agreeing…” VOICES: KNOWING MY CHILD • “It’s interesting because when he went to high school, I had reached a point of cynicism almost really. I was just like, yea, here we go again. My expectations were very low and at his first IEP meeting every one of his general ed teachers was there and I was really shocked first of all at that and I asked them questions that I always ask and they all had answers for me. They all clearly knew [my son] and I was just shocked. I didn’t hardly know how to respond after years of not getting that…” PERSISTENT CHALLENGES • Lack of equity in family-professional relationships and collaboration • Challenges related to language and communication within the IEP and assessment processes • Disproportionate representation of students who are CLD in special education • Persistent achievement gaps • Deficit views of parents/families = Rhetoric vs. Reality VISION FOR A CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM (KLINGNER ET AL., 2005) • Move from a deficit approach to a focus on creating culturally responsive systems • Advance core values of care, respect and responsibility among individuals and systems • Look deeply at current patterns: special education processes, decision-making, communication • Account for complex interaction of language, culture and context; make decisions within a “coherent theoretical framework” (Miramontes et al., 1997) THE FRAMEWORK AND VISION, CONTINUED • Culturally responsive policies: Proactive, equitable, inclusive, flexible • Culturally responsive practices: Evidence-based, collaborative, family-focused • Positive, culturally responsive people: Strengths based attitudes and approaches, intentional communication and action, shared responsibility for all students and families FOCUS ON PEOPLE • “Know Thyself”: Promoting Self-awareness • Seek to understand the families with whom you work • Encourage the “posture” or process of cultural reciprocity(Kalyanpur & Harry, 2012) • Encourage listening, openness, and family-centered approaches “The first thing you have to know is yourself. People who knows themselves can step outside themselves and watch their own reactions like an observer.” Adam Smith ACTIVITY 1 A PORTRAIT OF YOU Language and culture Conception of family Your beliefs and actions Experiences with disability Experiences in education TO THINK ABOUT AND SHARE… • Discuss your responses to the graphic with a partner • What did you learn about yourself in this process? • In what ways do your beliefs and experiences contribute to your ability to understand families from diverse backgrounds? • Which of your key beliefs and experiences may serve as “blind spots” or triggers for you? FOR THE GROUP… • How can you encourage the people in your setting to become more aware of their own beliefs and to adopt strengths-based and culturally-responsive attitudes and approaches that lead to trusting family partnerships? FOCUS ON PRACTICE • Encourage processes that promote cultural reciprocity • Provide teachers, leaders, and families with opportunities to gain skills in collaboration and cultural reciprocity • Encourage the use of family-centered planning and decision-making • Look for multiple opportunities to engage all families in school wide activities PRACTICING CULTURAL RECIPROCITY What is the difference between these terms? • Cultural sensitivity • Cultural responsiveness • Cultural reciprocity KALYANPUR AND HARRY’S (2012, P. 17) FOUR STEP PROCESS OF CULTURAL RECIPROCITY 1. 2. 3. 4. Identify the cultural values that are embedded in your interpretation of a student’s difficulties or in the recommendation for service Find out whether the family being served recognizes and values these assumptions, and, if not, how its view differs from yours Acknowledge and give explicit respect to any cultural differences identified and fully explain the cultural basis of your assumptions Through discussion and collaboration, set about determining the most effective way of adapting your professional interpretations or recommendations to the value system of the family ACTIVITY 2 - APPLYING THE PROCESS OF CULTURAL RECIPROCITY • Identify a situation in which you have recommended a specific service or course of action to a family from a diverse cultural and/or linguistic background. – Why did you select this particular story? – What factors played into the recommendation that you made? – Which of your values and beliefs were “at play” in your recommendations? – In what ways might your recommendation align with the family’s values / beliefs? – In what ways might the family’s own values and beliefs been different from yours? – What, if anything, might you do differently in a situation like this? Prepare to share one or two important observations with the group. PRACTICING COLLABORATION Collaboration is effective when it: Is voluntary Embraces a sense of parity among members Acknowledges the expertise of all team members Is based on at least one mutually identified goal Is rooted in trust and a sense of shared responsibility KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE TEAMS (THOUSAND AND VILLA, 2002) • • • • Face-to-Face Interaction Positive Interdependence Interpersonal Skills Monitoring and Processing of Group Functioning • Individual Accountability TURN AND TALK… What are some of the concerns or barriers you hear about regarding collaboration with families in your school? What strategies have you put into place to overcome these challenges? CONSIDERATIONS FOR COLLABORATION WITH FAMILIES • • • • Time to meet and to listen Family and cultural perspectives on collaboration Family and professional knowledge Prior experience with professionals, special education, teaming • Power and privilege • Other… VOICES: COLLABORATION • “Collaboration is …rooted in your professionals’ understanding of the things you know and don’t know. Your ability to articulate the things you know and don’t know. Your ability to articulate the things you know and defer to a more articulate person the things you don’t. Collaboration is the art.” • “Collaboration is when there is communication back and forth between teachers and special educators and parents and parents play a role in the education of their children…so collaboration is everybody, everybody has a stake in the game. Everybody plays a part in it and it’s not someone pointing a finger at someone else saying, these are totally your responsibility. VOICES: COLLABORATION • And again, I come back to-- and gosh, I think this all the time-- that I’m actually probably pretty good at this and a lot of times it’s the parents who don’t really collaborate but they are very aggressive and a lot of times they get the services but I still don’t think that that’s the right way to go about things. I’ve had several times over the years that I think, well, look at so and so, their kid gets this and this and they’re the kind of parent that goes to the meeting and just launches an attack. There’s no collaboration but they’re getting what they want and sometimes I think, well maybe I should do that, but it’s just not my style. I keep fighting for that collaborative, the elusive collaboration. PRACTICING FAMILY-CENTERED APPROACHES MAPS (Forest & Lusthaus, 1987) • Person centered planning process • Designed to improve life outcomes • Puts students and families in drivers seat of future planning • Brings together school personnel and families on equal footing ASSUMPTIONS OF MAPS PROCESS • Guided and/or directed by the person that the MAP is about and his/her family – Self-advocacy and self-determination • Strengths-based • Helps with getting to know families, planning for transitions, and resolving challenges • May be useful in developing relationships with families from diverse backgrounds FIVE STEPS OF A MAP • History: A short description of the person and family’s background. • Dreams: A list of desired future outcomes for the focus person. • Fears: A list of worries or concerns regarding the person’s achievement of their dreams. • Who is: A description of the person, including strengths, skills, interests, activities, and friends. • Needs: A list of things that need to happen to help make the persons’ dreams for the future come true, and/or to minimize concerns. MOHAMMED’S MAP • • • • 17 year old youth from Burma Receives services due to Intellectual Disability Family concerned about transition to adult life MAPS process included Mohammed and his father, four sisters, two cousins, an uncle, family friend, and three teachers PRACTICE: SUPPORTING FAMILIES IN DEVELOPING SKILLS IN LEADERSHIP AND COLLABORATION • Parents as Collaborative Leaders Project • 32 parents from 10 states • 8 parents from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds • Participation in leadership development curriculum and a leadership internship To view our site, go to: www.uvm.edu/~pcl/ PRACTICE: SUPPORTING PARENTS IN SKILL DEVELOPMENT • “I’ve been to other trainings where we learned a lot of information, but this curriculum introduced me to some new things I hadn’t encountered before, such as collaboration with others, listening, and conflict resolution.” • “The training in conflict was really helpful. I had to learn that it’s important both to stand my ground and to keep quiet sometimes. This was a real ‘aha’ moment for me.” • “As the parent of a child with a disability, you experience a lot of raw emotion. I let that get in the way sometimes and I burned a lot of bridges because of it…Through the project, I learned that school districts don’t fear angry parents, but they will pay attention to informed parents.” FOCUS ON POLICIES: TURN AND TALK • In what ways do school-based and/or district policies enhance or inhibit collaboration and the development of partnerships with families from diverse backgrounds? CONSIDER DISTRICT & SCHOOL WIDE POLICIES RELATED TO… – – – – – Special education eligibility determination Use of RtI and PBIS Policies regarding discipline and punishment Identification of evidence-based practices Communication policies ACTIVITY 3 • In pairs or threes, use the PPPC graphic to discuss and list issues of concern related to people, practices and policies at your school. • You may also wish to describe contextual factors that are unique to your setting. • Choose one or two areas where change needs to be made in order to promote engagement and partnership with families from diverse backgrounds, and brainstorm some potential strategies for bringing about desired change. • In selecting areas in need of change, identify any existing strengths that can be built upon. FACTORS INFLUENCING ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIP WITH DIVERSE FAMILIES Context Policy Practice People CLOSING THOUGHTS • What did you find most important about today’s discussion? • What is one thing that you will commit to doing when you return to your work setting? THANK YOU! For more information on this topic, please contact me at: Katharine Shepherd College of Education & Social Services 85 South Prospect St. Burlington, VT [email protected] PRIMARY SOURCES • Kalanpur, M., & Harry, B. (2012). Cultural reciprocity in special education: Building family-professional relationships. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes • Klingner, J.K., Artiles, A., Kozleski, E., Harry, B. Zion, S., Duran, G., & Riley, D. (2005). Addressing the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education through culturally responsive education systems, 13 (38), 1-43.