No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
February 14, 2008

NYSUT NCLB Fact Sheet 7: Parent Involvement

Source: Research and Educational Services

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STATUTORY SUMMARY

Section 1118 of NCLB requires each school district that receives Title I, Part A funds to implement programs, activities and procedures for the involvement of parents. According to the Act, school districts must meaningfully consult with parents of children participating in Title I programs in planning and implementing such programs, activities and procedures. In carrying out the parental involvement requirements school districts and schools, to the extent practicable, must provide full opportunities for the participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, and parents of migratory children, including providing information and school reports in a format and, to the extent practicable, in a language parents understand. The State Education Department must review the school district's parental involvement policies and practices to determine if the policies and practices meet federal requirements.

Each school district must develop jointly with, agree on with, and distribute to, parents of participating children, a written parent involvement policy that must be incorporated into the district's plan. Specifically, the plan must describe how the district will involve parents in the joint development of the district's NCLB plan and the process of school review and involvement. The Act also requires the policy to include other provisions such as, how the district will provide the coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist participating schools in planning and implementing effective parent involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance, and coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies with parental involvement strategies under other programs, such as the Head Start program, Reading First program, Early Reading First program, and Even Start program. The district must also conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the parental involvement policy and use the findings of the evaluations to design strategies for more effective parental involvement, and to revise, if necessary, the parental involvement policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Question: Are school districts required to use their Title I funds for parent involvement activities?

Answer: Each school district must reserve at least 1 percent of the district's basic grant allocation for parent involvement activities, including promoting family literacy and parenting skills, except if 1 percent of such allocation for the fiscal year is $5,000 or less. Parents of children receiving services must be involved in the decisions regarding how these funds are allotted for parental involvement activities.

2. Question: Are Title I schools required to develop parental involvement policies?

Answer: Yes. According to NCLB, each Title I school must jointly develop with, and distribute to, parents of participating children a written parental involvement policy, agreed on by such parents. Parents shall be notified of the policy in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, provided in a language the parents can understand. Such policy must be made available to the local community and updated periodically to meet the changing needs of parents and the school.

3. Question: What steps must the school a child attends take to ensure parents are involved?

Answer: Each school must invite all parents to an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to inform them of the requirements for school's participation in Title I, including the right of parents to be involved. In addition, each school must involve parents, in an ongoing and timely way, in the planning, review and improvement of Title I programs, including the planning, review, and improvement of the school parental involvement policy and the joint development of the school-wide program plan. A school must also provide parents of participating children –

  • Timely information about programs including a description and explanation of the curriculum in use at the school, the forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet.
  • If requested by parents, the school must provide opportunities for regular meetings to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions relating to the education of their children, and respond to any such suggestions as soon as practicably possible.

4. Question: What is the school-parent compact?

Answer: Each Title I school must jointly develop with parents a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the State's high standards. This compact must describe the school's responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment that enables students to meet the State's student academic achievement standards, and the ways in which each parent will be responsible for supporting their children's learning. In addition the compact must address the importance of communication between teachers and parents on an ongoing basis through, annual parent-teacher conferences, frequent reports to parents on their children's progress; and reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child's class, and observation of classroom activities.

5. Question: What activities should the school take to ensure effective involvement of parents and to support a partnership among the school, parents and the community to improve student academic achievement?

Answer: According to the NCLB Act, each school district and school must:

  • Provide assistance to parents of children served by the school or local educational agency, as appropriate, in understanding such topics as the State's academic content standards and State student academic achievement standards and State and local academic assessments.
  • Provide materials and training to help parents to work with their children to improve their children's achievement.
  • Educate teachers, pupil services personnel, principals, and other staff, with the assistance of parents, in the value and utility of contributions of parents, and in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents as equal partners.
  • To the extent feasible and appropriate, coordinate and integrate parent involvement programs and activities with other programs such as Head Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, and conduct other activities, such as a parent resource center, and provide such other reasonable support for parental involvement activities as parents may request.
  • In addition, the school and school district may undertake other activities such as, involving parents in the development of training for teachers, principals, and other educators to improve the effectiveness of such training, and paying reasonable and necessary expenses associated with local parental involvement activities, including transportation and child care costs, to enable parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions.

Advice To Local Leaders

Review parent involvement policies and activities in relation to their impact on teachers and other members of the collective bargaining unit.

Examine current parent involvement initiatives such as shared decision making, annual professional performance review plans, and professional development plans to determine where Title I parent involvement activities can be integrated, where appropriate.

Urge school district administrators to consult with teachers and other appropriate school personnel represented by collective bargaining units in developing and implementing parent involvement policies, programs and activities.

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This fact sheet reflects the lastest available information and may be subject to change.


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