The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District understands that families are critical stakeholders in supporting and advancing their children’s learning and development. Parents are a child’s first teacher and upon enrollment a partnership is formed that shares the responsibility of the child’s education and development from preschool up through senior year. Sharing in that responsibility means parents are welcomed and encouraged to be actively engaged in the success of the schools. Our focus is to ensure that there are meaningful opportunities to connect with our families, share essential resources and strengthen these essential partnerships that are formed between families and schools.
What is family engagement? Family Engagement builds a bridge between the school and home that transforms where students live, learn and grow. Why is it important? Authentic, research-based family engagement programs build the skills, knowledge and strengths of all involved, most importantly the student is better supported in their academic journey. Research shows that when families and schools work together students achieve at significantly higher levels.
Families, schools and communities share the responsibilities of student growth and achievement. The CH-UH School District embraces the six National Standards of Family Engagement. Using two researched-based partnership frameworks our district will work to provide successful school, family and community partnerships that work together for school improvement. The first is the Epstein Framework, which provides a variety of partnership pathways that families and schools can use to work collaboratively with the community. These pathways are proven to help strengthen staff, student and family relationships which results in a stronger fabric of support for all students.
The Pathways of the Epstein Framework - Six Types of Involvement:
- Parenting - Helping schools understand families and helping families understand child and adolescent development and how to set a home environments that support children as students at each grade level.
- Communicating - Communicate with families about school programs and student progress and engage in the ongoing work of strengthening home-to-school and school-to-home (two-way) communications.
- Volunteering - Improve recruitment, training, and scheduling to involve families as volunteers, audience members in and out of school building to support students and school programs.
- Learning at Home - Share resources and information that involve families in their children’s learning at home, including homework, curriculum-related activities, and course and programmatic decisions.
- Decision-Making - Include families as participants in school decisions, governance and advocacy through committees, actions teams, PTA, school councils and other parent organizations.
- Collaborating with the Community - Coordinate community resources and services for students, families and the school with businesses, agencies and groups to provide services to the community.
For more information on the Six Types, including practices, overcoming challenges and expected results for both students and schools visit John Hopkins University’s National Network of Partnership School’s website.
The second framework guiding the district’s work is the Dual Capacity Framework, which is also embraced by both the U.S. Department of Education and the National PTA. This framework clarifies how and why partnership pathways with families are formed. The Dual Capacity Framework is a collaborative approach that outlines how families and staff can learn from one another to build the needed skills, confidence and capacity to support school improvement and student success. For more information on the Dual Capacity Framework, visit dualcapacity.org.