Stepping Out! Tips for hosting a PARCC family night in High 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 success in college and careers. • 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. • 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. • Consider inviting representatives from local community colleges and universities to set up information booths. • Offer translation and interpretation services for families. Consider asking students or 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. • 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. • 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 prepare them for college and careers. • Consider inviting representatives from postsecondary institutions and the local business community to talk about how the new standards prepare students for success in college and careers. Again, highlight the college and career ready determination and explain how it impacts their student’s transition to college and careers. • Encourage families to write down their questions to ask during small group sessions, at the information booths or to record in the parking lot. 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. Tips for hosting a PARCC family night in High School After the overview, consider moving families to classrooms for smaller group presentations. • students know they are on track before they graduate, the PARCC assessment opens the door to college and careers and gives them a direct ticket to enter creditbearing courses. (We will have more information on this topic coming soon.) 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. Consider breaking up the groups according to students’ grade levels to better address questions about coursework transitions and required tests. • PARCC as a tool for college readiness session: Create a special session in which parents and families can discuss how the results of the PARCC tests will benefit their children. This session may focus on the use of scores for course placement and additional opportunities that might be available for students to speed up or catch up. Make the connection to other facets of the college preparation process like identifying colleges or other postsecondary options, important financial aid information and deadlines that are relevant to older students. 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. • 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 computer-based assessment, show families the technology tutorial and explain how your school is incorporating technology into the classroom. If your school is using the paper-based assessment, share your school or district’s plan to shift to computer-based testing. • 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. Remind parents that by letting Offer continued support beyond the family night event. • Provide resources and information about who parents should contact if they have questions. • 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.