President’s Monthly Musings: Caring Families with Engaged Learners

From PTA President Keisha Green

A graduate student recently sought my response to a school-related topic that I realized I knew very little about.  At the time, I did not search for more information.  Rather, I gave her an honest, off-the-cuff response under the realization that I was woefully uninformed on the subject.

Curious?

The student solicited my response to the statement, “parents’ understanding of district, state and federal mandates regarding parent engagement.”  My initial response was to scratch my head in bewilderment.  Then, I assumed she was referring to attendance laws.

Little did I know that such mandates are much more pronounced and involve schools encouraging parents to take an active role in the school setting.  As the parent of school-aged children, I had given little thought to the fact that there are laws and policies in place that encourage family’s engagement in their children’s education.   Here is a bit of what I discovered at each level of government.

Federal
The “Every Student Succeeds Act” mandates that states must provide school districts and schools with effective parent engagement strategies.  The National PTA has identified family engagement as one its legislative priorities.

State
North Carolina’s general statutes posit the General Assembly’s “belief that parent involvement is an essential component of school success and positive student outcomes.”  There is an actual  statute (N.C.G.S. §95-28.3)  that mandates employers’ allowing parents four hours of annual leave for involvement in school-related activities.

Moreover, the General Assembly charges local boards of education with a duty to work with local business leaders to “include and adopt as part of their personnel policies time for employees… to attend conferences with their children’s teachers.” (N.C.G.S. §115C-47(34)).

The NC State Board of Education publishes a policy manual that addresses its stance on family involvement.   It’s exhaustive and can be found here.
Local
As part of its strategic plan, the Wake County School Board, pledges its commitment to community engagement.   Particularly, the Board’s policy states its intent to:

  • Increase Community Volunteers
  • Strengthen Parent Engagement by offering programs in multiple languages via diverse channels
  • Require School Improvement Plans to include community engagement components that support student achievement, and
  • Strengthen customer service in areas with high parental patronage

Research shows that there is a positive correlation between parental involvement and students’ eagerness for learning.  While Joyner does not appear to be lacking in partnerships between parents and the school, it’s interesting to know that there are laws and policies in place that encourage and advocate for these relationships.  Engagement is so much more than our children’s showing up for the school day.

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