Action Plan for Initiative to Improve Parental Involvement

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|Paper TL Action Plan for Initiative to Improve Parental Involvement | |ESED 8131 | |Pamela Danielle Smith | |October 23, 2010 |

I. Summary
According to Marzano (2003), one of the characteristics of a high performing school is parent and community involvement; however, this school-level characteristic is lacking in many secondary schools today. During the elementary years, parents tend to be more involved in their student’s academia than they are during the high school years. Often parents are only involved in their high school student’s school life when there is a problem, which can foster a negative attitude towards the school. In the same spirit of Marzano, Waters, and McNulty’s (2005) assertion that a “school is not an island” (p.58), school/teacher leaders should take initiative and be an advocate of the school with parents, developing and nurturing positive relationships that will ultimately increase student achievement. The purpose of this initiative is for the teacher leader to start an effort to increase parent involvement at Pierce County High School (PCHS), as the teacher leader should be a change agent, one who is systematically considering a new and better way of doing things (Marzano, Waters, and McNulty, 2005). Teacher leaders also keep informed about current research and theory on effective schooling (Marzano, Waters, and McNulty, 2005, p.53). Using Davies, Cameron, and Gregory’s Conferencing and Reporting, the teacher leader implements research-based practices by planning what the authors term “Portfolio Afternoon” as a means to meet this initiative. “Portfolio Afternoon” is a time for a student’s parent to provide feedback to their student learner. Students collect work samples over the term and organize them into a portfolio. They write personal comments about each piece, explaining why they’ve selected it and what they want their parents to notice (Davies, Cameron, & Gregory, 2001, p.13). The purpose of the initiative will be fulfilled as parents attend “Portfolio Afternoon” with their student to see firsthand evidence of PCHS’s adherence to state-wide curriculum, the instruction based on that curriculum, and assessment based on instruction in the form of student portfolios constructed throughout the semester. Not only is it the goal of this initiative to increase parental involvement and improve parental relations with the school, but to improve parental involvement that directly relates to the students’ learning, allowing the event to also serve as an assessment tool for the students’ teachers. The “Portfolio Afternoon” event is designed to allow parents to see what their student is doing at school, to have a metacognitive conversation with their student about his or her own learning while improving relations between teachers, administration, and parents and therefore, ultimately, improving student achievement. Assessment of Need

The needs assessment of this initiative is qualitative in nature, pertaining to the culture of the school, teacher feedback during professional learning days, and parent feedback from the Title I survey distributed at school. Teacher leaders build on their sense of purpose and listen astutely to their colleagues and help them sort through many issues (Donaldson, 2007). Classroom teachers in the English department at PCHS fervently express a disconnect between the student’s school life and home life, especially among students of low socio-economic status (SES). Teachers express concern that they feel unsupported by the parent. When asked during the professional learning day what kind of parent contact is in place, a common...
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