District Role in Family Involvement
Districts have a responsibility to promote and strengthen parental involvement within their Title I, Part A programs. There are clear requirements that obligate districts to plan and implement family involvement activities with the ongoing and meaningful consultation of the families whose children benefit from Title I, Part A services.
Title I, Part A integrates parental involvement at every level of service delivery. Provisions in this important support for struggling kids reflect proven practices for family engagement.
Relevant, clear and regular communications establish a strong foundation for effective parental involvement:
- Create communications content in an understandable, uniform format.
- Make alternative formats available when families make the request.
- To the extent practicable, provide communications in a language that parents/guardians can understand.
- Make sure that communications with disabled parents or guardians are as understandable and effective as the communications other parents receive.
Each district that receives Title I, Part A funds must develop a written parental involvement policy that establishes the
program components for parental involvement. Districts must develop this policy with the parents whose children receive Title I, Part A services.
Parents must agree with the provisions of the policy. Districts must make sure parents are aware of the policy and have access to a written version. If your district has an existing parent involvement policy that applies to all parents, it is permissible to amend that policy to meet Title I, Part A requirements.
If your district has an existing parent involvement policy that applies to all parents, it is permissible to amend that policy to meet Title I, Part A requirements.
Districts have a responsibility to provide best practices related to parent involvement:
- Deliver technical assistance
- Coordinate community partnerships with other programs
- Involve staff and parents in the solutions that improve and strengthen family involvement
- Conduct regular site visits to observe parental involvement practices.
- Provide materials and training — not otherwise available — to help parents support their child’s academic achievement.
- Enhance awareness and skills among teachers, pupil services personnel, principals and staff related to outreach and communication, and ways to work with parents as equal partners.
- Communicate with parents. Ensure, to the extent possible, that information is sent home in a language and format parents can understand.
- Provide information on adult literacy training available in the community.
- Display the school’s parent involvement policy at each school that parents can view. Make sure each parent also receives a copy of the policy.
- Monitor each Title I, Part A school to ensure these responsibilities are met:
- Develop a parental involvement policy.
- Offer flexible meeting times.
- Provide information to parents about the school’s program, and includes parent information guides.
- Develop and use a School–Parent Compact.
- Provide training that helps parents work with their child to improve academic achievement. Include training on the school’s phone notification system so parents have real–time access to information about attendance and achievement.
- Reinforce good parenting skills that support the development of academic skills. Show parents how these skills could apply in real–life situations.
- Encourage parents to visit and volunteer at school by helping staff create volunteer opportunities. Train school staff to build opportunities for parents to participate in school activities and to encourage parent involvement.
- Build innovative schedules for parent participation in school-related activities. For example, hold meetings early morning or in the evening that widen the time available for working parents to be present.
- Hold school meetings annually to let parents know 1) they can participate in the development of the parental involvement policy and 2) they have a right to be involved.
Districts must build capacity for parent involvement within schools and among parents themselves. Effective scheduling, best practices and community engagement — are just three of the many ways districts can support parent involvement at school, at home and across the community.
Strategies that Build Capacity for Parent Involvement
Help parents understand state academic standards
Provide training on these topics:
- How to monitor a child’s progress
- How to work with educators
Provide materials and training designed to help parents work with their children.
Hold meetings early morning or in the evening that widen the time available for working parents to be present.
Raise awareness and build skills among teachers, pupil services personnel, principals and staff related to outreach and communication, and ways to work with parents as equal partners.
Send parents information related to school and parent-focused programs, meetings and other activities. Present this information in an understandable and uniform format. To the extent practicable, provide materials in a language and format the parents can understand.
Coordinate parent involvement programs with other school-based programs and services — Head Start, Even Start, Learning Assistance Program (LAP) Special Education and state-operated preschool programs.
Involve parents as you develop training for teachers, principals and other educators to improve its effectiveness.
Provide literacy training for parents. Use Title I, Part A funds, if your district has exhausted all other funding sources.
Pay reasonable and necessary expenses associated with parent involvement activities. Transportation and child care are two such allowable costs under Title I, Part A, which make it possible for parents to participate in school-based meetings and training sessions.
Train parents to support the involvement of other parents.
Schedule in-home conferences between parents, and the teachers and other educators who work directly with their children.
Implement model approaches that improve parent involvement.
Establish a district-level parent advisory council to provide advice on related to parent involvement in Title I, Part A programs.
Develop appropriate roles for businesses, and community- and faith-based organizations that support community participation in parent involvement activities.
Districts must coordinate parent involvement activities with these school-based programs and services — Head Start, Even Start, Learning Assistance Program (LAP) Special Education and state-operated preschool programs.
- Develop appropriate roles for businesses, and community- and faith-based organizations within school- and district-level parent involvement activities. Form partnerships that engage these organizations with staff and families and seek to improve academic achievement.
Districts must conduct an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of parent involvement policy. The ultimate goal of this yearly evaluation is to improve the quality of Title I, Part A programs and services. Use the findings from these annual evaluations to develop new strategies able to increase the effectiveness of your parent involvement policy.
- Make sure evaluations identify barriers to greater parent involvement.
- Pay particular attention to parents who struggle financially, are disabled, demonstrate limited English proficiency or literacy, or who are members of a racial minority.
Three Strategies That Will Help to Evaluate the Content & Effectiveness of Your Parent Involvement Policy
- Survey parents annually, at a minimum. Include questions that will identify barriers to parental involvement.
- Make it possible for parents to help with the development of the annual evaluation and the analysis of the data it returns.
- Document parent involvement. Sign–in sheets (workshops, meetings, conferences), schedules, training/informational materials, communications and brochures, and meeting notes are just a few of the ways in which districts can track implementation of their parent involvement policy. Documentation is an essential part of compliance through the federal Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) program.
Use findings from evaluation process to:
- Suggest policy revisions to schools that deliver Title I, Part A services.
- Suggest revisions/additions school improvement policy that relate to parental involvement.
- Develop a report that you share with parents, staff and the community.
Encourage parents whose children receive Title I, Part A services to get involved with other district-level activities that engage all parents. Parent advisory committees and Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) events are just two of the many opportunities for parent involvement most districts support.
Parents must be involved in the decision-making process that impacts parent involvement policy, programs and activities.
Title I, Part A allocations of $500,000 or more:
- Must reserve at least 1% to fund parent involvement activities
- Allocate 95% (of that 1%) to schools that receive Title I, Part A funds
Title I, Part A allocations s of $500,000 or less:
Strategies to Help Districts Gather Feedback from Parents
Survey parents annually. Include questions that ask parents directly how they would like the district to fund parent involvement.
Create opportunities for parental feedback. Listen to what parents say about involvement activities.
Document parent involvement. Sign–in sheets (workshops, meetings, conferences), schedules, training/informational materials, communications and brochures, and meeting notes are just a few of the ways in which districts can create feedback channels for parents and track implementation of their parent involvement policy. Documentation is an essential part of compliance through the federal Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) program.
Use parental feedback to:
- Make recommendations to schools about parent involvement activities.
- Generate suggestions that could improve or create new activities that involve parents.
- Develop a report that you share with parents, staff and the community.
Districts and schools must provide a broad range of services designed to help parents help their children succeed at school (Section 1118 (e) of ESEA). The activities allowable under the parent involvement provisions of Title I, Part A are reasonably broad in scope, but generally linked to education and training, participation in school-related meetings and inclusion in the education of their children.
Compliance is Critical. Make sure the parent involvement activities you plan comply with these laws and regulations.
Gifts & Incentives Are Not Allowable. Do not use state or federal funds to pay for gifts/incentives related to parent involvement programs or activities. The provisions of Title I, Part A Section 1118 forbid this use of your allocation, as does the Washington State Constitution (Article 8, Sections 5 and 7). If you have questions about the gifting provision of state and federal law, contact the Title I, Part A office at OSPI, 360-725-6100.
Here is a list that presents typical activities that districts and schools charge to Title I, Part A. Keep these three factors in mind:
- This list is not complete, just typical.
- These activities must be reasonable, necessary and able to be funded under the provisions of Title I, Part A.
- Funds sourced from Title I, Part A must not supplant other funds.
Examples — Allowable Activities District Can Fund with Title I, Part A
- Transportation and child care costs, as needed, to make it possible for parents to attend meetings and training sessions
- Meals/refreshments to encourage attendance when parent involvement meetings and trainings conflict with family meals or schedules. You can provide snacks but only if you can prove that these refreshments increase participation.
- Do not pay for snacks or refreshments at staff meetings — no matter what the purpose of the meeting — with Title I, Part A funds. If there is no other scheduling option for a staff meeting, you can pay for a working meal — but be ready to demonstrate that this accommodation increased productivity.
- Registration and travel costs for parent representatives/committee members to attend in-state workshops and conferences that support parent education and involvement. The expectation is that parent participants will share new knowledge with other parents.
- Translation and interpretation services that make sure parents have access to school-related information — in a format and language the parent can understand
- Unavoidable costs related to the facility in which you conduct parent involvement activities
The communication and notification components that impact family involvement should demonstrate a results-oriented effort between districts, schools and OSPI. At different times, communications and notifications could be a cooperative effort among districts, schools and OSPI — all of us have an obligation to distribute information to the parents/guardians of students who receive services through Title I, Part A programs.
In the table below, we have included references to the Title I, Part A statutory and regulatory requirements that apply to notification, or to information that districts must hand out or send to the parents of students who receive Title I, Part A services. This list is not complete, and does not include the consultation, collaboration, technical assistance, training, and other kinds of direct and indirect communication that occur among school and district staff and the families and children they serve.
District’s Annual Report Card
District sends a report card with aggregate information, including student achievement — disaggregated by category — graduation rates, district performance, teacher qualifications and other required information.
[Section 1111(h)(1) and (2), ESEA]
District’s Annual Progress Review
District sends the results of its progress review of each school. Parents receive this report, as do teachers, principals, schools and the community. This notification is a responsibility shared among districts and schools.
[Section 1116(a)(1)(C), (c)(1)(B) and (c)(6), ESEA]
District-level Written Parental Involvement Policy
District informs parents that there is a district-level written parental involvement policy and sends each parent a copy.
[Section 1118(a)(2) and (b)(1), ESEA]
Determined by district—usually in the fall
OSPI’s Written Citizen Complaint Process
Districts send adequate information about OSPI’s written citizen complaint process. This process is in place to resolve complaints related to violation(s) of federal statute or regulation that apply to Title I, Part A programs. The district must send this information to parents, and to the appropriate private school officials or their representatives.
[Chapter 392-168 WAC Special Services Programs-Citizen Complaint Procedures for Certain Categorical Federal Programs]
Parents’ Right to Know—Teacher and Paraprofessional Qualifications
District informs parents that they have the right to request certain information related to the professional qualifications of the classroom teachers and paraprofessionals who provide Title I, Part A services to their child. Districts and schools must provide this information.
[Section 1111(h)(6)(A), ESEA]
Annually—beginning of school year
Schools in a Step of Improvement
Districts must explain what school improvement means — at each step through corrective action and restructuring. Explain clearly what these terms mean. Describe how public school choice and supplemental educational services work and how parents can select one of these options. Tell them why this school is now in improvement and how it compares to other schools. State how district and school officials will respond to the need for improvement, and let parents know how they can get involved in the education of their children.
[Section 1116(b)(6), 7(E), 8(C), ESEA] [34 CFR 200.37(5).]
Parental Involvement: Title I, Part A Non-Regulatory Guidance, C-21, C- 22 and C-23
Promptly—as soon as the school is identified.
Parent notification is one of the most important responsibilities a district must fulfill when a school goes into improvement. Written communications must reach parents/guardians that explain each step of school and district improvement, public school choice and supplemental educational services.
- What Districts and Schools Must Send Out and When (PDF) This table is not complete, and does not include the consultation, collaboration, technical assistance, training, and other kinds of direct and indirect communication that occurs among school and district staff and the families and children they serve.
- Sample Notification Letters | These sample letters of notification cover the primary components of compliance with federal law related to adequate yearly progress, public school choice and supplemental educational services.