Engaging Families at the Middle/High School Level

Dan Seaman, Wisconsin RtI Center
Jennifer Grenke, Wisconsin RtI
PBIS Network
Families in PBIS
at the
School Level
Why should we Increase PBIS Family
Engagement at the Middle/High
School Level?
Required in IDEA and NCLB www.ed.gov/nclb
Builds positive relationships
Encourages better behaviors
Reinforces skills (maintenance)
Increases self-satisfaction and optimism among youth,
parents, and teachers
Programs and interventions that engage families in
supporting their children’s learning at home are linked
to higher student achievement and success.
U.S. Department of Education Parent Information Resource Center Program
Impact of Family Engagement
Bill Jackson, entrepreneur, educator and
technologist, currently CEO of Great Schools a well
known nonprofit organization advises educators “to
improve family engagement, they need to
make education personal and ‘expose’
parents to demonstrations of student and
school excellence they’ve never seen
“No matter what the demographics, students
are more likely to earn higher grades and test
scores, attend school regularly, have better
social skills, graduate and go on to postsecondary education when schools and
families partner”
Karen Mapp, Family Involvement Equals…, 2006
Prepare staff to work with families
 Help
those who work with families take different
perspectives on situations by discussing
hypothetical cases from different family
members’ points of view
 Ask staff to evaluate their own assumptions and
beliefs about the families with whom they work
 Develop staff communication skills
 Provide staff time to process with others difficult
conversations or situations
Prepare staff to work with families
 Aid
staff in understanding research on families
and the theoretical rationale for the program.
 Respect parents/guardians’ perspective on their
child’s abilities and progress. They know their own
child in a different setting than you do.
 Expect to disagree once in a while and embrace
the opportunity to see things from a new point of
view. Based on a Best-Practice Model created by Dr. Joyce Epstein
Obstacles to Partnering with Families of
Middle and High School Students
Middle and High School teachers typically have
more students than elementary school teachers
Families may live further away and cannot come
to school as easily
Families of middle and high school students have
more difficulty helping their children with
homework, BUT they can help with learning and
practicing behavior expectations
Adolescent students are becoming more
These students are more involved in community
What Staff can do to recruit and
organize family help and support
 Arrange
to use parent/guardian and
community volunteers in classrooms.
Recruit widely so that all families know
their contributions are welcome. Provide
trainings, and match time and talent with
the work to be done.
 Communicate with parents/guardians at
the beginning of each year to identify
talent, times and locations of volunteers.
Based on a Best-Practice Model Created by Dr. Joyce Epstein
What Staff can do to recruit
and organize family help and
support …continued
Recruit families through face-to-face visits.
Ask current and former participants to help
with recruitment
Hold meetings for parents during
nontraditional hours, including weekends and
Visit parents in community locations
Ensure that staff are culturally sensitive.
Understand the beliefs, values, and attitudes
of the community
Help staff to think of recruitment and retention
as a routine and ongoing process.
Ways to support families and
students with behavior
 If
students have several teachers,
coordinate classroom expectations,
homework assignments, etc.
 Provide calendars with behavior
expectations activities for parents/
guardians and students at home.
 Ask families to participate in setting goals
each year and share progress monitoring
data with them
Examples of How to Involve
Families with PBIS
At the time of registration and/or open house
provide families with information about PBIS and
encourage families to consider signing up to be
involved with PBIS activities/teams.
Families participate in the design and
implementation of school-wide celebrations.
Families are awarded acknowledgements (gotchas)
for their involvement at school
Special activities which increase family awareness of
school support offered to the students
Families volunteer to participate, support, and
develop PBIS Universal Store
Families are invited to be active on PBIS teams
Examples of How to Involve Families…continued
Family members can volunteer at lunchtime to
supervise and acknowledge expected behavior
Improve school climate and increase family
friendly atmosphere through new routines and
activities (meet at busses, offer coffee)
Families receive acknowledgment when their
children act in appropriate and exceptional ways.
Family organization supports PBIS activities by
designating a special line item in their annual
Host a “Back to School Family Night” to share
-School-wide expectations
-School “acknowledgements” described
-School matrix sent home for posting on the
-Tips for helping students with before and after
school routines.
Example Activities:
Vocabulary building became a school and
community project in Idaho Falls, Idaho, this
could be a PBIS expectation theme! (NEA Policy
Brief, pg 2 HANDOUT)
R U Smarter Than a Middle Schooler? A game
show modeled after a popular television
program, brought students and parents
together at Adams Friendship Middle School
in Friendship. Give it a PBIS twist! (NEA Policy Brief, pg
Parent Matrix on www.wisconsinpbisnetwork.org
Tips/Materials for Families
Provide families with a PBIS calendar and/or
expectation teaching timeline with cool tools to
match at home
Families are informed about PBIS with specially
designed handbooks, newsletters and school
Provide tools to parents to help them understand
function of behavior and behavior modification
Families of new students can be given a welcome
DVD upon enrollment in school. The results will be
a visual, in addition to the written documents they
School, Family & Community
Partnership efforts should help
 Get
a clear idea of what their children
are learning and doing around PBIS
 Promote high standards for student work
 Gain skills to help their children in all
situations (code switching)
 Discuss how to improve student progress
Henderson, Mapp, et al. Beyond the Bake Sale, 2007
Benefits of Family Engagement
 Higher
test scores
 Better grades
 Better attendance
 Higher levels of homework completion
 More positive student motivation
 Improved attitudes about school work
Darsch, Miao, & Shippen (2004). A Model for Involving Parents…
Demonstrated Benefits to
 Greater
job satisfaction
 Higher ratings of teaching skills from both
parents and principals
 Higher ratings of school effectiveness
 Improved classroom behavior through
increased knowledge of children’s family,
cultural, and community contexts.
(Adapted from Christenson, 1996)
Given the unique challenges and
opportunities middle and high
schools face, creative strategies
should be used to build effective
partnerships with families and
- Harvard Family Research Project
Commitment to Family
Schools that are committed to student success
are created in accommodating student and
family engagement:
 Replacing punitive process with ones that
seek to understand and improve a child’s
 Creating schedules, polices, and programs
that take into account students’ home-life
Henderson and Berla, p. 168-171 Failure is Not an Option, Blankstein,
Corwin and Hope, 2004
 What
do you see as the benefits of
School, Family & community Partnerships?
 What
do you see as the costs of schools
not partnering with Family & community?
Appleton West High School
Kristin Ruhsam-Tegelman- PBIS Internal
Coach at Appleton West
[email protected]
Sheree Garvey-Coordinator of School
Improvement-PBIS and Family Partnerships
Appleton Area School District
[email protected]
Student Population: 1105
Students of Minority: 30%
Students with a Disability: 19%
Students with Free or Reduced
Lunch: 47%
PBIS Implementation at West
Year 1 (2010 – 2011)
Freshman Homerooms Focus on Being on Time
Year 2 (2011 – 2012)
All School Focus on Being on Time and Hallway Behavior
Year 3 (2012 – 2013 and 2013 – 2014)
Being on Time
Hallway Behavior
Classroom Behavior
Common Area Behavior
2014 – 2015
Same Target Behaviors
Specific Focus on School Wide Respect and Parent Involvement
Barriers or Opportunities?
Changing our thinking!
 Parents
Don’t Understand the Need for
PBIS because their students show
appropriate behaviors.
 Parents will seek out opportunities to help
and be involved.
 Parents will help if they are asked and
are available.
 Parents want to be involved but are
unavailable when needed.
 Parents that are unavailable, uninvolved,
and do not want much to do with
 School Wide Parent Advisory Committee
 Comprised of Parents Who Seek Out Involvement
 Family Night
 Terrorbackers
 Donations
 Assist with Carrying Out Celebrations and Recognitions
 2 Parents involved with Internal Site Coordinators on a monthly basis
 Assist in making connections with other parents
 Hand in Hand with Leadership and Advisory Roles
 Utilize Parents to Support Buy-In
 Providing Multiple Opportunities Throughout the Year to Meet with Parents
 Make More Connections with Parents Throughout the Year via Newsletters and
 Working with parents to help make better transitions to high school
 Working with parents to help students transfer expectations to their first job.
 Setting a baseline expectation for parents to help support
them support their student at school.
 Beginning of the school year
 Ongoing to see if information is valuable and/or implemented
 Leadership Role
 Planning Role
 Provide opportunities throughout the school year to
continually reinforce and update parents of PBIS practices.
 Providing opportunities to support parents with students with
difficult behaviors.
Marinette Middle School
Contact Information
 Dan
 [email protected]
 920.265.0696
 Jennifer
 [email protected]
 920.604.4140

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