KAPS Family Engagement Plan
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) serves as the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) which was last reauthorized in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Since its inception, parent and family engagement and consultation have always been a key piece of the law. Each district is required to reserve at least one percent of its Title I funds to carry out parent and family engagement activities, including those described below. Each year, KAPS will conduct outreach to parents and family members through surveys and campus needs assessment meetings in order implement programs, activities and procedures to increase their involvement.
KAPS is committed to supporting family engagement in the following ways:
1. Facilitating family-to-family support
- At several points throughout the year, our new families have access to parent panels of returning parents to help them learn the ropes of KIPP and build connections.
- Each school has a parent and family group, led by a bilingual parent liaison, that supports in building strong relationships.
- Schools hold regular events with an explicit intention to build community among families. These are held at various times, including weekends and Saturdays, and range in scope from team-building, community service, and parent education on developmentally appropriate topics to carnivals, spring picnics and Thanksgiving potlucks.
2. Establishing a network of family resources
- Teachers have an “open-door” policy and are willing to meet with parents whenever the need arises throughout the year; this includes during prep periods or by phone on nights or weekends at times convenient for families. Formal conferences are planned approximately once per semester.
- School/classroom newsletters and notes are written in families’ native languages and sent home on a regular basis to keep parents informed of events and/or activities.
- All KIPP Austin Social Workers have a small library of community resources reserved for our parents and families.
- Bilingual Parent Liaisons also keep several relevant and important community resources at the front office for families to access.
- Many campuses offer Social Work Parent Events where families have access to relevant trainings from community organizations.
- The Student and Family Handbook underscores the importance of and outlines various ways for parents and families to get engaged in their student’s school community including parent involvement groups, breakfasts with principals, and volunteer opportunities.
- The district provides state and federal school report cards and Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) data to families and provides resources and contact information for families who wish to receive assistance in interpreting the data.
3. Increasing family participation in decision making
- Several schools have families participate in the Campus Needs Assessment each year.
- Families complete Healthy Schools Review Surveys, and this data is used to set annual priorities.
- Parent volunteers on the School Health Advisory Committee provide recommendations to the board for improvements to health and wellness, safety, nutrition, and physical education.
- The Student and Family Handbook informs families of our Title I status and ESSA requirements related to gathering family feedback. The handbook also states a clear procedure for voicing concerns or disagreements to school operating procedures.
- At the beginning of the year, schools hold parent nights, to which all parents are invited. Parents are informed about Title I funded programs, family engagement requirements, and their right to be involved in school decision-making processes.
4. Equipping families with tools to enhance and extend learning
- Teachers communicate with families/parents concerning their child’s successes and/or problems on a regular basis through reports, notes, letters, phone calls, texts, etc.
- Several of our online learning programs have at-home learning portals with access for families.
- Students consistently have homework that is designed to be completed with family members.
- Students and families always have access to teachers’ phone numbers to call or text if they need additional support.
- School family nights often address strategies that parents can utilize to support their children’s learning at home.
5. Providing professional development opportunities for educators on culturally responsive, evidence-based strategies that support the education of the child
- Our district’s Social Justice Task Force has a resource bank of materials for culturally responsive teaching that both teachers and school leaders use to ensure curricula are increasingly culturally relevant.
- Many schools have community circles as a practice for staff that address topics of culture, race, and social justice.
6. Evaluating family engagement efforts and use evaluation for continuous improvement
- The Healthy Schools Review Survey is used to identify areas for improvement of engagement each year.
- Parents have opportunities at family engagement events and activities to provide ongoing feedback regarding barriers to participation.