Family Engagement Policy and School-Home Compact

2019-2020

Purpose of the Policy and Compact

Efforts will be made to clearly articulate the school’s intentions to engage with and involve parents/caregivers in the educational process.   Garfield Elementary is a Title I school within Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and utilizes the Title I grant to improve student achievement and help all students meet the objectives of the FCPS Program of Studies and the Virginia Standards of Learning. A partnership with families is essential to meeting this goal.

Under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools that receive Title I funds are expected to collaborate with families to develop and maintain a parent and family engagement policy that describes the school’s approach to involve families in students’ learning and includes a compact expressing the partnerships among staff, caregivers, and students to reach high academic goals for every student.

Garfield Elementary jointly developed this policy and compact with members of the school community and adopted it for the 2019-2020 school year. A number of the provisions specifically address state or federal expectations for the policy and compact.

This policy and compact is distributed to all caregivers in a language that families can understand. Caregivers have opportunities to provide comments and feedback on the policy and compact through monthly coffees with guest speakers, email, and a question/comment box in the Family Center.  Comments are submitted with the school’s policy and compact to FCPS central offices and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). This policy and compact are made available to the broader school community through the school website.  

Parent-Teacher Conferences    

  • Early Family Conferences-September/October 2019
  • Midyear Conferences (student, parent & teacher)-January 2020
  • Additional dates, as needed
Progress Report Distribution Interims (sent home mid-quarter)
  • November 2019 
  • October 2019
  • February 2020   
  • December 2019
  • April 2020  
  • June 2020  
  • March 2020   
  • May 2020

 School Events

  • Back to School Fair: August 22, 2019
  • Coffees with a guest speaker: monthly
  • Science Night-November 2019
  • Harvest Luncheon-November 11, 2019
  • International Night: April 2020
  • Success Morning: June 2020
  • Family Morning Meetings: Determined by grade level teams

Building Capacity for Involvement

Efforts will be made to ensure parents/caregivers are actively involved in the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the school’s Title I program, including the following:

  • Provide family members a voice in decision-making on committees, such as the PTA, supporting other families (i.e. meeting with them, building relationships with them, answering questions regarding the school and community), and co-leading parent coffees.   
  • Engage caregiver input when developing the School Improvement and Innovation Plan (SIIP), Title I Schoolwide Plan, the Title I Parent and Family Engagement Policy and Compact and plans for use of Title I family engagement funding.   
  • Seek feedback from families on programs within the Title I Schoolwide Plan, offer multiple methods for caregivers to submit comments about programs they may not find satisfactory, and submit any such comments with the Title I Schoolwide Plan to FCPS central offices.   
  • Invite family members to help in organizing and executing a variety of school events to build collective ownership, such as the PTA, supporting other families (i.e. meeting with them, building relationships with them, answering questions regarding the school and community), supporting and co-leading parent coffees.   
  • Provide opportunities for caregivers to volunteer within the school in various ways, such as in the school library Family Resource Center, at the Family Science Night, in the classrooms, and on field trips.   
  • Encourage families to take part in an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the division-level Title I Parent and Family Engagement Policy in order to identify: 
    • barriers to greater family participation
    • ways to help family members be better able to assist in student learning
    • strategies to support successful school and family interactions

Effective Communication with Parents

Efforts will be made to ensure parents/caregivers receive meaningful communication in a timely manner, including the following:

  • Use multiple methods of communication to families such as weekly News You Choose (topics include: literacy, math, social/emotional, critical thinking skills, and upcoming events), Twitter, Friday Folders, grade level communication (i.e. newsletters), and the Garfield ES website.   
  • Encourage all caregivers to attend a variety of parent information sessions (Back to School Fair, Parent Coffees/sessions, PTA meetings, evening events, Family Morning Meetings) to share information about Title I services, explain Title I grant requirements, and inform families of their right to be involved in the school. 
  • Share school and student performance data with families in ways that seek their ideas about how to improve performance toward Virginia’s challenging academic standards, such as Early Family Conferences, monthly coffees, PTA meetings, midyear conferences, and Family Morning Meetings.   
  • Provide opportunities throughout the year for families to better understand the school’s goals for students and find ways to improve student learning through the monthly Learning Tips, and by dedicating a portion of each PTA meeting and monthly coffees to discuss school goals and highlight current schoolwide events and successes.    
  • Maintain resources for caregivers to review student assignments and ongoing communication about student work, such as Friday Folders, and open communication with teachers.   
  • Provide ongoing feedback on student progress through quarterly progress reports that show specific areas of proficiency and areas for continued growth. 
  • Hold early parent-teacher conferences for all students at least annually during the fall, midyear, and more often, as needed.

Shared Responsibilities for High Academic Achievement

Efforts will be made to ensure parents/caregivers receive materials, training, and benefits from school partnerships with social and academic services, community-based organizations, and businesses, including the following:

  • Hold workshops connecting caregivers to tools and resources, such as highlighting Advanced Academic services, Progressive Discipline (1-2-3 Magic; have parents share successes), Technology Safety sessions, and sessions based on parent requests and surveys.  Distribute materials for FCPS sponsored speakers (i.e. Special Education services, etc.).  We connect parents to the FCPS Parent Resource Center with ongoing classes. 
  • Offer regular opportunities for families to learn directly from school staff about the school’s academic, behavioral, and social programming through monthly coffees, grade level Family Morning Meetings, and PTA meetings.  These include: Advanced Academics, Project Based Learning, Portrait of a Graduate, Responsive Classroom, math and literacy programs, and technology and social media safety updates.    
  • Encourage participation in family learning events where caregivers learn strategies to support their child’s learning at home and have a chance to practice those strategies with their child, such as curriculum nights, family nights, family field trips to the library, and Title I Field trips.   
  • Provide ongoing access to resources in the school such as food, weekend food bags, food for students over school breaks, formula, clothing, and shoes.  Technology is available for parents to use in the Family Resource Center.  A lending library of resources and games for families are available for parent check-out from the Family Resource Center.    
  • Provide mentors for students though Shine for Girls, Girls on the Run, Technovation Club, Madeira Interns, Monday Night Tutoring, and Book Buddies.  
  • Provide opportunities to donate and access supplies donated by others, such as Assistance League of Northern Virginia, Rotary Club, Springfield Women’s Club, Springfield United Methodist Church, and Messiah Methodist Church.   
  • Leverage partnerships with local businesses and organizations to enhance school programs and events, such as Kaiser Permanente and Long & Foster.    
  • Support parents in accessing county and community resources, such as the Fairfax County department of Health, Family Services and Housing, summer enrichment camps, Rec Pac, Friends of Wolftrap, and summer athletics/clinics.   
  • Offer outreach and training for targeted families, such as adult ESOL classes at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and at St. Bernadette’s Church.

Welcoming All Families

Efforts will be made to ensure that all parents/caregivers are welcomed and provided opportunities to actively engage within the school, including the following: 

  • Create a welcoming atmosphere at the school with welcome signs displayed in seven languages in the main entrance.  
  • Provide interpretation services for Early Family conferences, conferences, workshops, family events, and meetings.   
  • Translate or provide interpretation of all school documents and communication to make them accessible in the caregiver’s preferred correspondence language and for those with vision or hearing impairments.   
  • Support two-way communication between families and staff through assistance of a parent liaison for Early Family Conferences, ongoing parent-teacher conferences, curriculum nights, Family Morning Meetings, PTA meetings, PTA sponsored events, monthly coffees, and Success Morning. 
  • Expand access for family participation in informational meetings and learning sessions through videos of guest speakers, and copies of all meeting resources available in the Family Resource Center in physical and electronic formats.  
  • Parents can access clothing, shoes, formula, and toiletries from the Garfield Family Resource Center at scheduled times.

School-Home Compact Provisions 

School staff, parents/caregivers, and students must work together to ensure a student success.

The Staff will:   

Provide a high-quality curriculum and instruction that enables students to meet challenging academic standard through the following actions:  

  • Teach all students according to the state’s challenging standards, using approved curriculum resources.
  • Provide ongoing professional development and support to all teachers to ensure effective instructional practices are used in all classrooms.
  • Emphasize the social curriculum and the academic curriculum.
  • Appreciate the diversity of our students and families.
  • Recognize students reaching their goals and showcase students’ work at Success Morning.

Provide a supportive and effective learning environment for students through the following actions:

  • Provide clear expectations for student behavior and academic learning. 
  • Support students to follow the Garfield Schoolwide Rules and FCPS Students Rights & Responsibilities.
  • Offer a variety of resources to help students with their learning. 
  • Involve students in choices about learning (Academic Choice). 
  • Support students to become an independent learner, respectful, and productive citizen.
  • Allow multiple ways for students to demonstrate what they have learned (i.e. Project Based Learning).

Provide assistance to caregivers in understanding the school’s program through the following actions:

  • Hold ongoing meetings (parent coffees, PTA meetings) to present information on the school’s Title I programs, state and division curriculum and assessments, and the school’s state and federal accountability status.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for caregivers to ask questions and give input into the Title I programs.
  • Hold monthly coffees to learn more about specific school programs.

Build caregivers’ involvement in the school’s Title I program through the following actions:                                                

  • Include caregivers as members of the School Improvement and Innovation Planning (SIIP) Committee and as collaborators in developing the Title I Schoolwide Plan and plans for the use of Title I family engagement funds. 
  • Hold curriculum nights where caregivers and their children practice academic strategies that they can use to support literacy, mathematics, and critical thinking at home.

The Parents/Caregivers will:

Demonstrate understanding that participation in my child’s education will help his or her achievement through the following actions:

  • Participate in decisions related to school programs and my child’s education and share my questions or comments about the programs in my child’s school. 
  • Volunteer in my child’s classroom or in school activities, as my schedule allows. 
  • Encourage and support my child’s learning at home and at school.   
  • Review interims, notes, and papers sent home from the school and child’s teacher. 
  • Participate in school events, when possible, or review materials from these events online or at the Family Resource Center.

The Student will:

Share the responsibility to improve my academic learning to achieve the state’s challenging standards through the following actions:

  • Get enough sleep every night.
  • Come to school on time unless I am sick.  
  • Try my hardest and work with my classmates to complete learning tasks. 
  • Give my parents all notes and papers from my teacher.  
  • Follow the Garfield Schoolwide Rules