Group 4 – Parent and Community involvement
Group members: Tina Ervin, Danielle Dane, Nancy Kamba, Faith Kart, Miao Li, Jerry Whigham

What is a parent and community partnership?

Parent and Community partnership includes students, educators, community members and businesses. Families should be encouraged to participate in all facets of their child’s education. Schools should develop partnerships with businesses, organizations and other community groups to promote adult participation in children’s education and to maximize the resources available to support learning. Research has shown that involvement of parents and community is one of the most important ways to improve schools and children’s attitude about school. Family involvement improves student success, regardless of race/ethnicity, class, or parents' level of education. Although some parents are unable to attend because of work or single parents, it is our responsibility as educators and schools to find different ways in which partnerships can be effective for students learning.
A well organized partnership program should help students reach high levels of achievement. The partnership should not just promote involvement for involvement sake but it should have goals. For involvement to happen, however, principals, teachers, and parents themselves must believe that all parents can contribute to their children's success in school. Parents can promote their children's academic success by:

  • Teaching their children the importance of education.
  • Finding out what their children are expected to know and to be able to do and reinforcing lessons at home.
  • Sending their children to school ready to learn every day.
  • Principals and teachers must support parent involvement by
  • Making parent involvement a priority.
  • Recognizing and removing barriers to parent involvement.
  • Sharing decision-making power with parents and community members.
  • Working to understand class and cultural differences.
Engaging community members, businesses, and organizations as partners in children's education can improve the learning community in many ways. For example, community partners may be able to:
  • Provide expanded learning opportunities.
  • Build broad-based support for increased school funding.
  • Provide quality after-school programs.


Community Involvement Hints

Be a Good Neighbor
Community involvement “involves” you. You must be a good member of your community. Shop there. Use the local library. When you can, shop near the school wearing your name badge. Introduce yourself to the manager when you are not wanting anything from the store but to shop. Do not wait until you need something. Lay the groundwork for getting community support by supporting the community. If the community is not strong, then it will not be able to help as much. Be a good neighbor.
Never talk or think badly of a business if they can not help now. One day they may be the best support you ever will have. Many businesses are hurting and may not be able to do what they would like to do. Remember, you are not the only one who needs help. A lot of people ask for help. Also, you are not the only teacher or request they will hear this month. Businesses get a lot of requests.
Always keep in mind “To have good neighbors you must be one.” Also, your neighbors may be helping in ways you do not know.


Businesses

Some businesses are designed for field trips such as the Yellow River Game Ranch, Cagle Dairy, Mayfield Dairy, and the World of Coca-Cola. Other organizations have mascots, like the Chick-Fil-A cow and Georgia Tech's Buzz, that can visit schools. Some businesses have websites with lessons for parents to use with children.
Some stores and restaurants may be able to help with rewards for your students. Publix will give you free coupons for cupcakes to give students for good work in class. McDonalds will give certificates for fries or a cone to be used as incentives for your class. Also, some stores are good places to display students' work.
Some businesses may have websites that will give good information about subjects related to what they do. Grocery stores and restaurants may have good information about nutrition. Book stores have information about books and authors. Many stores will have information about the products they sell.
Some businesses have special ways to help. For example, Publix has a card for people to use to give money to schools. A percentage of each purchase is given to the school of choice of the card holder. Some schools near my home have received almost $10,000. Publix also has grant money for projects. Your class project or unit may fit their standards for a grant. Be sure to make requests ahead of time. Certainly, other companies have ways to help schools just like Publix does.
Many companies may not be able to help with money but may contribute other things, for example:
1. They may be able to give merchandise rather than money.
2. They may be able to give supplies or equipment.
3. They may be able to give things they create or make (such as a cake).
4. They may be able to get employees to help (reading books with children, Junior
Achievement, or sharing expertise on various topics).
An international business may have good information on its home country. There may even be employees from that nation who can come to your class to talk about their land and answer questions. Also they may show pictures and artifacts from their home country.
Some things that may be disposables to a store may be treasures to teachers. Frequently, stores have displays that are only used for a certain selling period. Many manufacturer's displays have good shelves. Once, at a Publix I remember a display that had a growth chart to show how a child's height compared to Superman's. Many displays may have instructive information and/or good art. Stores will discard equipment like bulletin boards, desks, tables, shelves, file cabinets, computer equipment, containers, baskets and calculators. They would rather give them to you than to pay the garbage company to haul them off. Get to know the store employees and managers so that when they have to throw something away, they may think, “Maybe she could use this in her class.” Better yet, if you see a display you want, ask if you can have it when the store is finished with it. Often the answer will be yes.


Athletic Organizations

Professional and college athletes make appearances at schools. In the Atlanta area there are many professional sports teams: the Atlanta Braves, the Gwinnett Braves,
the Falcons, the Hawks, the Thrashers, and the Gwinnett Gladiators. That means there are hundreds of professional athletes who have long off seasons when they may come to your school or class. Also, college athletes may also come and speak. In addition, there may be race car drivers, wrestlers, Olympians, golfers or other sports people in your community. Often these athletes have a favorite charity they support or they may know something about a topic you would like to teach your students.


Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations may be a good way to involve the class in the community and the community in the class. Red Cross, Boys Club, Junior Achievement, Girl and Boy Scouts might be some of the more obvious, but other could help as well. A veterans group may be useful in teaching about WWII or Vietnam. There could even be a civic clubs looking for a group to help very near your school. Some non-profit organizations may make a donation for your class or school. A senior citizens club may come and tutor students. Your students may help a non=profit organization as well.

Government Neighbors

Firemen and policemen often appear at schools and speak to tell about their jobs and about safety. Politicians will come to school and talk about government or other subjects. Government buildings like courthouses and city halls can be great places to display student work. Also, what better place to display your students' work than at the offices of your local school board.
The library is a good place to involve the students and parents in the community. The library will often have special programs for children about an author or a subject. If a teacher or teachers request a particular subject, many libraries will do what they can to provide information. Librarians also will come to a class and tell students and parents how to utilize their library. Also, a library may have places to display your students' work.
Local parks and historic sites can be good way to get community involvement. First, people from the parks and historical sites may come to the class. Second, students and their parents can visit the parks and historical sites near the school. Third, some of these places have websites that can bring the attraction right into the classroom. Last, note that the Atlanta area is rich with parks and historical sites that could involve parents and students with the community and the community with the classroom. Some of these are the McDaniel Farm Park, Zoo Atlanta, the Cyclorama, Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, Stone Mountain, The Wren's Nest, Atlanta Botanical Garden, the King Center, the Carter Center, county courthouses, the state capital, the Georgia Aquarium,
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Margaret Mitchell House and Museum (the Dump), Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, The High Museum of Art and the Carlos Museum at Emory. Even when I was a child, I had art work displayed at Callanwolde and at the Piedmont Park Art Festival.

Individual Neighbors

There are a lot of individuals in any community who may be good guest speakers about all sorts of subjects. Some suggestions are parents or people from other countries, retirees who often have vast experiences about events, local artists, musicians, craft experts, and athletes. Some may be in business like dentists, doctors, nurses, dog trainers, restaurant employees, martial arts instructors, and dance teachers. One of our school's parents has illustrated a number of picture books. He was glad to come to his own child's school and present his work with books. There could still be a Holocaust survivor or someone who knew Dr. King in your neighborhood who would love to tell their story.

Always Say “Thank You” in a Big Way

Thank you letters should always be sent to anyone who has helped in any way. Involve parents by having them to thank neighbors for their help in theirs child's school or class. Let the school and parents know who helped in a newsletter. Send copies of the newsletter to the community partner so they will know that you are bragging on them. Send thank you emails and letters to the home offices of neighborhood partners. Make your community partners sound like heroes to their bosses. Say good things about them on websites and blogs. Make sure that there are plenty of thank you's from students and parents. Student-made posters are a good way to show gratitude since they may be displayed at a business for the whole neighborhood to see.
Help your community neighbor just like they helped you. It will make it easier for you to get help in the future. Do not forget, community involvement “involves” you. Be a good neighbor.


Examples of incorporate parent and community involvement to your unit:


M1N3. Students will add and subtract numbers less than 100, as well as understand and use the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.
c. Compose/decompose numbers up to 10 (e. g. 3+5=8, 8=5+2+1).


Ways to involve parent

· Send a newsletter home with objectives for the unit
· Send home note cards with vocabulary words related to the unit
· Invite parents to help participate in classroom math games
· Send home a list of math resource website that parents and children can go on the internet together and play
· Parents can make a list of 2 stops they will make before the final destination. Parents can tell their child how many miles it took from home to point A. point A to point B and add the miles up to find out how many miles it takes to get to the final destination.

Ways to involve community

· Field trip to a grocery store to help fill out their grocery list
· Invite parents to share their kid friendly baking recipe to the class
· Family Math night

Museums in our Community

Our Community is filled with fabulous opportunities that can extend the knowledge of our students. Georgia has wonderful museums and experiences that not only tie into Georgia’s Standards, but enhance the understanding of our young learners. Since budget cuts have decreased and/or eliminated field trips, teachers can organize optional “weekend field trips”, or parents can take their children at their own convenience.

Children's Museum of Atlanta

275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
(404) 659-5437
http://www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org
Conservation Quest – Conservation Quest is an exciting new exhibit that will be available this summer. Students will have the opportunity to participate in engaging activities as they learn about energy, conservation, and “green choices”.
This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standard:
S3L2. Students will recognize the effects of pollution and humans on the environment.

a. Explain the effects of pollution (such as littering) to the habitats of plants and animals.
b. Identify ways to protect the environment.
• Conservation of resources
• Recycling of materials


Fernbank
Museum
767 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30307-1221
404 929 6320
www.fernbank.edu
A Walk Through Time in Georgia - This exhibit provides a wonderful experience for students to explore Georgia’s natural regions from the Piedmont to the Coast and Barrier Islands. A Walk in Georgia has 16 different galleries that bring Georgia’s natural world to life and shows how it changed over time.

This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standards:
S3L1. Students will investigate the habitats of different organisms and the dependence of organisms on their habitat.

a. Differentiate between habitats of Georgia (mountains, marsh/swamp, coast, Piedmont, Atlantic Ocean) and the organisms that live there.



SS2G1 The student will locate major topographical features of Georgia and will describe how these features define Georgia’s surface.

a. Locate all the geographic regions of Georgia: Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau.
b. Locate the major rivers: Ocmulgee, Oconee, Altamaha, Savannah, St. Mary’s, Chattahoochee, and Flint.

Giants of the Mesozoic – This exhibit will take students back 100 million years ago, and allow them to step into a prehistoric time when dinosaurs, flying pterosaurs, and several other fossilized life forms lived on Earth.
This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standard:
S5L1. Students will classify organisms into groups and relate how they determined the groups with how and why scientists use classification.

a. Demonstrate how animals are sorted into groups (vertebrate and invertebrate) and how vertebrates are sorted into groups (fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal).

Reflections of Culture – Students will learn about different cultures, geography, economics, and politics as they engage in interactive stations where they will observe clothing, jewelry, and body modifications from several continents. This exhibit teaches students how a person’s culture can be reflected in what they wear and how they live their daily lives.
SS4CG4 The student will explain the importance of Americans sharing certain central democratic beliefs and principles, both personal and civic.
a. Explain the necessity of respecting the rights of others and promoting the common good.


Georgia Aquarium

225 Baker Street
Atlanta, GA 30313
404-581-4000
http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/contactUs/

Sea Life Safari – Student’s will learn about sea life as they explore the characteristics and needs of animals, and learn about their life styles. This exhibit will help students understand the basic needs of animals. They will also learn how to identify similarities and differences of animal groups.
This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standards:
S1L1. Students will investigate the characteristics and basic needs of plants and animals.
a. Identify the basic needs of an animal (Air, Water, Food, and Shelter).
Compare and describe various animals - appearance, motion, growth, basic needs
S2L1. Students will investigate the life cycles of different living organisms.
a. Determine the sequence of the life cycle of common animals in your area: a mammal such as a cat or dog or classroom pet.


Atlanta Botanical Gardens
1345 Piedmont Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30309
http://www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/home.do


Habitat Explorers
Students will learn how plants grow in different habitats as they experience first-hand the wonderful world of plants and their habitats.


This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standard:
S1L1. Students will investigate the characteristics and basic needs of plants and animals.

a. Identify the basic needs of a plant.
1. Air
2. Water
3. Light
4. Nutrients

Family Vegetable Garden
Children will learn how to identify and grow nutritious food that supports a healthy lifestyle. This weekend activity is designed for parents and children to partake in a hands-on class that teaches techniques for basic edible gardening. Each family will take home a complete summer edible garden to grow into healthy, scrumptious food.

This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standard:
S2L1. Students will investigate the life cycles of different living organisms.

c. Investigate the life cycle of a plant by growing a plant from a seed and by recording changes over a period of time.


Tellus Science Museum
I-75 Exit 293, Cartersville, Georgia
770-606-5700
http://www.tellusmuseum.org


The Weinman Mineral Gallery – Students will discover how the Earth was formed as they walk around and view hundreds of varieties of beautiful gems, minerals, and gold. Students will also explore and engage in interactive exhibits as they learn about the earth’s crust.

This exhibit correlates with the following Georgia Standard:
S3E1. Students will investigate the physical attributes of rocks and soils.

a. Explain the difference between a rock and a mineral.
b. Recognize the physical attributes of rocks and minerals using observation (shape, color, texture), measurement, and simple tests (hardness).
c. Use observation to compare the similarities and differences of texture, particle size, and color in top soils (such as clay, loam or potting soil, and sand).
d. Determine how water and wind can change rocks and soil over time using observation and research..


Fossil Dig and Gem Panning – This engaging learning center is wonderful opportunity for children to experience digging for fossils and gemstones. Students will step into the shoes of a paleontologist as they uncover fossils of all shapes and sizes.

Fossil Gallery – Students will walk through history and observe the fossils of extinct dinosaurs, reptiles, and giant mammals that dominated our land, sea, and air millions of years ago.

These two exhibits correlate with the following Georgia Standard:
S3E2. Students will investigate fossils as evidence of organisms that lived long ago.

a. Investigate fossils by observing authentic fossils or models of fossils or view information resources about fossils as evidence of organisms that lived long ago.
b. Describe how a fossil is formed.


Public Library
Don’t forget about your public library! The library has lots of activities for children that promote literacy, education, and creativity. The best part about the activities is they are free! Some examples; book discussions, chess games, story craft (book reading with corresponding craft), and story time that focuses on important historical people and moments such as Martin Luther King.
Homework – Getting Parents Involved
There is a direct link between the classroom and a child’s home. Our students’ education extends beyond the walls of a classroom, and homework is one source that can extend their knowledge. Homework can reinforce what was learned in the classroom, increase retention of information, promote self discipline, and get parents involved in their student’s education. Homework is directly related to student achievement because studies show that students that do their homework, and complete it successfully, function more effectively in the classroom.

The following are tips teachers can give to parents to help them handle homework:


1. Provide conditions at home that enable a child to do homework – homework should be routine. Try to have students do their homework at the same time and place each day to build consistency and good study habits.
2. Highlight the importance of homework – Make homework important by showing enthusiasm. Make a big deal about it. Cheer your kids on!
3. Use homework time do parent “homework” alongside your child – set a good example. Write in a journal, pay bills, or write a letter to a relative. Let your kids see you work alongside them to set the tone for good work habits.
4. Frequently offer your child something nice immediately after finishing homework – After a long day of school, the last thing that students want to do is homework. Rewarding your child for working hard will motivate them to continue good behavior. Letting your child play with a special toy, have extra TV time, or a small tasty snack are nice ways to reward good study habits.


Using a School Website for Parental Involvement

Many schools have websites that can be helpful encouraging parents to be active in their children's education. An example website is available from Corley Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. A school's website can be use for information as well as for helping children to learn. It also can help parents be more active in the school. If your school does not have a website, you may have your parents use another school's website for lessons. Also, there are great websites available to the public like PBS kids, authors' sites like Dr. Seuss and many others, NASA, US Mint and others.

An Example: Teaching Writing Conventions Using Goo Games

As an example of employing a school website, find the Corley Elementary School's website. It can be found at http://www.corleyelementary.org/home.htm or by using Google.
At Corley's website first go to links and click. Then look at the links, noticing what is available. At this time there are 112 links about all sorts of topics. Next, look under Language Arts. Then click on Goo Games. Finally, go to the game “Monkey Business”.
“Monkey Business” is a game that can be used for teaching writing. At the start, visual and verbal instructions are given on how to play the game. A player wins by using a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence and a period at the end. “Monkey Business” directly teaches that the first letter of a sentence should be capitalized and that a period goes at the end of a sentence. Also, the game indirectly teaches spacing between words, using words, using sentences and writing left to right by modeling these conventions within the sentences.
A teacher may send home an assignment using this website and have parents work with their children. The goal of the assignment should be made clear to the parents. This is not just a time to play with your child but a time to teach your child about writing a sentence correctly. Have the parents help their children practice writing sentences using initial capital letters, punctuation, spacing between words, writing left to right, and words (inventive spelling allowed).


Using a
Teacher’s blog for Parental Involvement

Classroom and teacher’s blog
can be a useful resource for educators to find information related to their particular interests. In effect the blog allows teachers to act as filters or judges of content from many sources and to allow as many editors as they like. Teachers can use blogs to provide an area to point students to useful resources and discuss issues arising as part of a teaching and learning program. Teacher’s can post the lesson plans, classroom announcements and anything that needs to be communicated with parents. Using a blog invites students as well as their parents to collaborate.
An example of teacher’s blog: http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=1337
Mrs. Cassidy recorded important activities that happened in the classroom, she took picture of students’ achievement, videotaped key lessons and upload them to her blog. From her blog we can find anything in her classroom and I think the parents will thank her for capturing their children’s moment at school. Either students or their parents will view those blog entries and write a comment about it. From one entry, we can easily the students were showing their works from their weather lesson. She also posted home works as well as announcement to her blog. Students are also able to post their entries to this blog which will enhance their reading and writing skills. This blog has brought closer with students, parents and the teacher.


Using Skype in the classroom:

What is Skype?

Skype is a software application that allows users to make free video and voice calls over the Internet. Teachers can use Skype to open up their classroom and their students to a world way beyond their campus. With Skype, students can learn from other students, connect with other cultures, and expand their knowledge in amazing ways. Skype is an excellent tool teachers can use to involve parents and the community in the classroom.


Ways you can use Skype in the classroom to promote community involvement:
1. Have students chat with an author they are studying via Skype.
2. Have interactive field trips via Skype.
3. Foreign culture lessons via Skype.
4. Connect with families around the world via Skype.
5. Have people from the community chat with the class via Skype.
6. Interviews via Skype.
7. Guest lectures via Skype.


Ways you can use Skype in the classroom to promote parent involvement:
1. Share student's work with parents.
2. Conference with parents.
3. Bring busy parents into the classroom.
4. Have parents read a book via Skype.
5. Parents can contact teacher via Skype if they have questions about a child's homework.


Some examples of how Skype can be used to involve parents and the community in a unit:

Community:

1. Collaborate with a tour guide from a planetarium to show an exhibit about the different planets.

S4E2. Students will model the position and motion of the earth in the solar system and will

explain the role of relative position and motion in determining sequence of the phases of the moon.
d. Demonstrate the relative size and order from the sun of the planets in the solar system.

2. An interview with a policeman or firefighter to explain to a Kindergarten classroom the work people do.

SSKE1 The student will describe the work that people do (police officer, fire fighter, soldier, mail carrier, baker, farmer, doctor, and teacher).

3. Interact with a pet store owner to give a tour of his store and explain the life cycle of common animals.

S2L1. Students will investigate the life cycles of different living organisms.

a. Determine the sequence of the life cycle of common animals in your area: a mammal such as a cat or dog or classroom pet, a bird such as a chicken, an amphibian such as a frog, and an insect such as a butterfly.


4. An interview with an author of a book to explain the plot, characters and setting.


ELA4R1 The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a

warranted and responsible explanation of a variety of literary and informational
texts.
b. Identifies and analyzes the elements of plot, character, and setting in stories
read, written, viewed, or performed.

5. Have the Mayor of your city be a guest speaker.


SS2CG2 The student will identify the roles of the following elected officials:

c. Mayor (leader of a city)

Parents:
1. Invite parents to an end of the unit party on explorers if they are unable to attend it physically.
SS4H2 The student will describe European exploration in North America.
2. If a parent is a local business owner, they can be a guest speaker to talk about entrepreneurship and give a tour of their business.
SS3E1 The student will describe the four types of productive resources:
d. Entrepreneurship (used to create goods and services)

3. A parent can tutor their child during a math unit on fractions.

M2N4. Students will understand and compare fractions.

Conclusion
Parents should and can be involved with their children's learning. Using websites can be a good way for teachers to facilitate parents in doing this. The Corley website is a good example of how many websites can be found quickly. The internet is loaded with good websites that teach many skills and impart much knowledge different ways. Every teacher should have a file containing websites that could be useful in the classroom. Many of these could be shared with parents to help them use resources to teach their children at home.

References and
resources:
http://www.georgiapta.org/resources-parent-involvement.html
http://www2.ed.gov/PressReleases/02-1994/parent.html
http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1400
http://www.proteacher.org/a/94353_math_game_for_addition.html
https://www.georgiastandards.org

http://www.teachingdegree.org/2009/06/30/50-awesome-ways-to-use-skype-in-the-classroom/
http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=1337
Ban, John. (2003). Parents Assuring Student Success: Homework and Learning Expediters. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.