Family Advocacy Plan

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by Renee1283
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies

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Family Advocacy Plan

1) We will make ELL parents feel welcome in our schools by incorporating the following:*Attain multicultural literature in school and classroom libraries*Hang maps, flags and other cultural items on walls throughout schools and classrooms that represent our ELL parents’ culture and ethnicity*Have all literature for parents translated into the languages of our ELL parents and available at parent-teacher conferences, meetings, sporting events, and orientations*Our district website will be multilingual for all of our ELL parents to understand upcoming events*Have a translator present at all school functions to greet, welcome, transfer information, and answer questions2) Bilingual Family Night*A fun, interactive, informational, and creative endeavor to celebrate our ELL students*Storytelling, traditional foods, traditional dances and attire*Families will be notified about the details through our district’s website and invitations in native language.*Parents will be asked to volunteer to share their heritage in some way: storytelling in their native language, making traditional foods, helping with traditional attire and garb. 3) ELL Parent Workshops: Our workshops will focus on the goal to maintain the native language in the home and make the parents more comfortable helping with their child’s homework and coursework.*We will issue agendas that the students bring home each night with their homework directions translated into the native language*Encourage parents to read to their children in their native language*Tell stories, sing songs, and have rich conversations in their native language*We will also host workshops that will teach our ELL parents English skills. Other workshops that will be offered include: Navigating the US school system, Health and well being, Reading and literacy, and incorporating technology.4) ELL Family Exhibits: The ESL, general, and special education teachers will host ELL Family exhibits once per quarter. The general education teacher will collaborate with the ESL and Special education teacher to come up with a theme that relates to their core subject matter. They will work with the students to create a collaborative project that will be on display for that particular exhibit. The exhibit themes and times are displayed in the Timeline of goals to be met.

Family Advocacy Plan

At Upper Laurel Hills, we have made it our mission to meet the needs of all ELL parents in an effort to demonstrate that the school district values their input and contributions to their children’s education. Therefore, we strive to increase ELL parent involvement for the benefit of the both the children, the parents, and the school.Purpose for involving ELL parents into the school-wide setting:Parent involvement in their children’s education has been linked to numerous benefits including improved academic performance as demonstrated by higher grades, reduced dropout rates, increased attendance, and higher enrollment in post-secondary education, andpositive personal development as indicated by increased motivation and engagement as well as more positive attitudes towards school.These same benefits are seen among English Language Learners as well when their parents are actively involved in their education.

Our Mission and Purpose

School Demographics:Upper Laurel Hills School District consists of approximately 4,000 students district-wide. About 8% of students within the district are English Language Learners, comprising of about 320 students. About 20 different countries are represented and approximately 10 different native languages are spoken by our students. These languages include Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, Nepali, other English dialects, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Japanese. Approximately 1,920, or 48%, of our students, have low socioeconomic status and received free or reduced-priced lunch; approximately half of these students are English Language Learners. About 600, or 15%, of our students are enrolled in special education due to a disability.

1) Communication and languageThe language barrier between ELL parents and the school is the most prevalent barrier to parental involvement. Many ELL parents are not proficient in English which creates a communication gap between them and the school and affects parents’ ability to express their concerns about their children in school.2) Low socioeconomic statusMany ELL students and their families live in poverty. Preoccupation with meeting the family’s basic needs, such as housing, finances, and food, often hinders an ELL parent’s ability to become involved in their children’s education.3) Differences in cultural normsDepending on the ELL parents’ cultural backgrounds, some parents might not view parent involvement in the same way that school staff in the US views parent involvement. Many parents view teachers as the “experts” and not feel comfortable becoming involved in their children’s educations in ways that they view as the teachers’ roles. Instead, many ELL parents believe their role in their children’s education involve instilling values and teaching appropriate behavior in the home.4) Limited understanding of the school systemMany ELL parents have had little exposure to the US school system and are unaware of the the resources, educational programs, staff and faculty, and class content that are available to their children. They also often do not understand the grading system used in the school and have difficulty deciphering the communicated academic progress of their children. Some ELL parents may have experienced limited schooling themselves which can also influence a parent’s intimidation in becoming involved in their children’s education.5) Logistical issuesMany ELL parents have difficulty becoming involved in their children’s schools for logistical reasons such as having a lack of transportation to be able to get to get to the school for conferences and other events; inability to find childcare for other siblings; and work-intensive schedules that do not provide flexibility to attend school events.

5 Barriers to Access and Involvement

Laws that govern ELL EducationSo parents are informed of their legal rights...where should they go if they had a complaint?In 1974 a decision by the Supreme Court, Lau v. Nichols reaffirmed that all students in the United States, regardless of native language, have the right to receive a quality education.Congress passed the Equal Educational Opportunity Act (1974) based on the decision of Lau v. Nichols, which stated no state shall deny equal education opportunity to any individual. In 2002 George W. Bush passed No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which held school districts responsible for the education of all of their children regardless of needs, language skills, or accommodations that need to be provided.Laws in Pennsylvania that are created by the NCLB Act give parents certain rights. If schools deem a student is PHLOTE, then they will be given specific ESL instruction. If parents decide that a particular part of the ESL instruction goes against their religious beliefs, they can ask that the child be left out of that part of the instruction.If parents have a complaint the should first go to their school district. If they want to take their complaint to the federal government, they should contact The U.S. Department of Education or the Office for Civil Rights.

Activities to Encourage Parental Involvement

What are ELL parents’ perceptions of school and school services?ELL parents’ perceptions of school and the services provided vary depending on their cultures. Most notably, Spanish and Asian cultures view education as the teachers’ areas of expertise and are often reluctant to interfere with the schooling of their children. However, many parents do have an opinion on how their children should be educated in terms of ESL education programs but might be reluctant to express these opinions. Research has found that parents from Hispanic and various Asian cultures support ESL instruction and understand the importance of their children’s acquiring English proficiency to succeed in school by eventually being able to take Advanced Placement classes, attend college, and/or start a career. However, parents have been found to be initially skeptical of ESL programs because they are unaware of what the programs entail (Lueck, 2010). Parent education from ESL instructors about ESL programs generally result in parent support of the programs. This skepticism again links back to unfamiliarity with the US school system.

Timeline to accomplish goals

Monitoring our plan:1) School liaison will visit parent homes regularly and submit documentation2) Teachers will communicate with ELL parents via email, phone conversations, letters in native language, and face to face when appropriate - they will collect data and document all communication3) Data should be submitted no less than once per month in the communication database4)Teachers, administrators, counselors, and school liaisons will record communication data in the Parental advocacy folder 5)We will review this information quarterly to ensure that involvement is increasing General Evaluation Plan:Barriers:-Communication and Language-Low Socioeconomic Status-Differences in Cultural Norms-Limited Understanding of the School System-Logistical IssuesActivities/Resource to support parent-Bilingual Texts, Interpreters and translators-Shared information about housing assistance-Bilingual Family night, ELL family exhibits-ELL parent workshops, Information Hotlines-Childcare and transportation to meetingsResponsible Party-Administration-ESL Teachers-School Counselor- ESL Teachers - General Education Teachers- Special Education Teachers- Translators- General Education Teachers- AdministrationEvaluation-Faculty will compare communication data throughout plan implementation.-Verbal follow-ups with families.-Parents will complete evaluation forms following events to check for understanding-Parent surveys will be given at meetings to determine how frequently these resources are used

Upper Laurel Hills School District will use the ESL Pull-Out program model to educate our ELL students. This program program:*Focuses on developing literacy skills in English. *Keeps ELL students in a general education classroom with their peers for a majority of the day and pulling-them out for language arts instruction. *Content taught in the general classroom will be modified based on each child’s English proficiency. *Allows for more efficient English acquisition through social interaction in the general classroom that is supplemented by more individualized English instruction in the ESL pull-out classroom.*Students will be grouped based on English language skills to allow for developmentally appropriate instruction. Students will also be instructed by ESL-certified teachers in the pull-out classroom.At Upper Laurel Hills, our school appreciates and acknowledges the native languages and cultures of our ELL students. To supplement our ESL program we suggest that families speak their native languages in an effort to build our ELL students’ English skills. Strong native language skills can attribute to both oral and written English skills (LanguageLizard, 2012).Stakeholders:Parental Involvement is very important to everyone involved at Upper Laurel Hills School District. Parents should feel free to contact any members of our school’s administration and faculty that are involved with their students’ education. Administration:*Administrators include Principals, Vice Principals, and Department Head Faculty General Educators:*General Education Teachers are your child’s core subject teachers. English as a Second Language Teachers: *English as a Second Language Teachers instruct students whose native language is not English. Special Education: *Special Education Teachers work with any students who have physical, developmental, or learning disabilities. School Counselors:*School counselors provide a variety of counseling services to students promote their academic, personal-social, and career development. They also help to ease an ELL student’s transition into school and address any concerns they have and accommodations they might need.Speech-Language Pathologists:*Speech-Language Pathologists collaborate with ESL teachers and general educators to provide instruction to ELL students in making English speech sounds that might not be used in their native languagesAny parent of a student within Upper Laurel Hills school district should feel to contact anyone mentioned above in regards to any questions about their students’ academic success.

Our Program Model and Stakeholders

1.) Our top goal will be to get ELL parents involved in the Parent Teacher Association:*We will be sure to have a translator present at all PTA Meetings*Modify meetings to accommodate parent work schedules*Translated notes will be sent home to every ELL Parent2.) We will fund non-traditional parental involvement programs.3) Encourage ELL parents to use their native language with their child at home while reading and communicating.4) Encourage parents to be involved with Family exhibits, ELL Parent Workshops, and Bilingual Nights.Resources Needed: 1) School liaison: A school representative will be available to visit parents and students in their homes and other locations that is convenient and comfortable for the family if the family is uncomfortable and/or unavailable to visit the school for conferences and other reasons.2) Translators and cultural interpreters: Translators will be available to provide objective translation between parents and teachers to allow for effective communication. Cultural interpreters, professionals who do not necessarily speak the parents’ native language but who are well-aware of their culture, will help parents understand US school culture and help educators understand the parents’ and students’ native cultures at home.3) Information Hotlines: Recordings of school information in the parents’ native languages will be available to describe general school information, upcoming events, etc.4) Homework hotlines will also be available to describe each class’s upcoming assignments for parents to keep track of their students’ homework.5) Bilingual texts: All school-related information for parents will be available in their native languages as translated by school translators. The school website will also allow for translation for each web page.6) Childcare and transportation for meetings: The school will provide childcare services for parents who are unable to come to school for various reasons because they have other children at home. The school will also provide public transportation vouchers or set up meetings at a location near public transportation.

Our Goalsand Resources

After School TutoringTutoring is available for all students in Upper Laurel Hills School District. According to research by the U.S. Department of Education, students who are tutored consistently in well-designed tutoring programs show gains in reading skills, display positive attitudes towards school, and higher self-esteem. Tutoring may particularly benefit ELL students as they are learning both language and content. Students who participate in after school tutoring will have access to the following:*Computers/Printers*Trained Volunteers*Quiet Study SpaceParent ESL classes at the Upper Laurel Hills Community Library- Our community library offers English as a Second Language classes for adults. Children are welcome to attend classes with their parents. Class meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-7 PM. Registration is not required.Join the PTA- Becoming a member of the Upper Laurel Hills School District PTA will benefit your child as well as our school. As a member, you will have the opportunity to:*Voice your concerns and make suggestions regarding your child’s education.*Meet other parents and teachers.*Stay informed about what is happening in your child’s school.*Become a positive role model for your child.*Make the school better for your children.

Get involved: After School Tutoring and the PTA


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