Training leads to action plans so students can reach potential

July 10, 2006|by EDWARD FORREST / President, Board of Education

Editor's note: On the second Monday of each month, Washington County Board of Education members and school staff will use this space to write about school system issues. This month's column is written by Edward Forrest, president of the Board of Education.

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 sets deadlines for local school systems to demonstrate accountability by ensuring that all students are proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014. Public school systems must demonstrate annual progress in meeting this goal and narrowing the test score gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

One requirement of NCLB is that local school systems must develop and implement a local policy to encourage and enhance parent, family and community involvement in public schools.

In order to develop a strategy to enhance school, family and community partnerships, Washington County Public Schools joined the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) through Johns Hopkins University. Through this partnership, parents, teachers, administrators and community members received training that has resulted in action plans for each school that will be linked to School Improvement Plans. This partnership will provide continuing support and assistance to help schools share ideas and overcome challenges to reach all students' families.


The NNPS training is based on Dr. Joyce Epstein's framework of six types of involvement to guide schools to develop more comprehensive programs of school, family and community partnerships. The six types of involvement include:

1. Parenting - Assist families with parenting skills and setting home conditions to support children as students, and assist schools to understand families.

2. Communicating - Conduct effective communications from school to home and from home to school about school programs and children's progress.

3. Volunteering - Organize volunteers and audiences to support the school and students.

4. Learning at Home - Involve families with their children on homework and other curriculum-related activities and decisions.

5. Decision Making - Include families as participants in school decisions, and develop parent leaders and representatives.

6. Collaborating with the Community - Coordinate resources and services from the community for families, students and the school, and provide services to the community.

Washington County Public Schools recognizes that parents, family members and communities need a full understanding of the educational opportunities for children, and that schools need the maximum involvement of parents, family members and communities in the school improvement process.

The Board of Education and WCPS welcome and encourage parent, family and community involvement, and look forward to working closely with these groups to ensure all students reach their maximum potential and receive the education they deserve.

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