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Parent Involvement Plan (DOC)

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					Plan for Parent and Community Involvement



              Eric M. Conn

               ELPA 845

            Dr. Kent Peterson

             5 August 2010
                                                                                               Conn 2


       Wisconsin Virtual Learning (WVL) currently has no formal parent involvement plan. The

virtual charter school created by the Northern Ozaukee School District (NOSD) in 2003 was

founded on a strong educational partnership between the school and families. Peterson (1996)

notes that meaningful parent involvement leads to increased parent commitment to the school.

As a choice school WVL recognizes that parent commitment is essential and places importance

on parent involvement. Yet programs are implemented often as a response to an immediate need

or concern rather than being part of a long-term plan. As a result, efforts are carried out by

individuals independent of each other, with the lack of communication or central coordination

leading to overlapping initiatives or information not being relayed to the persons responsible for

administrative functions.

Background and Proposed Plan

       It should be noted that parents with students in a virtual school are have additional

responsibilities to those of a traditional school. Virtual school students spend their time in school

in the home environment and complete most activities independently. This necessitates parents

being responsible for supervising the students while they are “in school.” The following chart

compares the responsibilities of traditional and virtual school parents.

       Common Parent Responsibilities                    WVL-specific Parent Responsibilities

    Getting students “to school”                       Supervising students “during” school.
    Monitoring progress & grades                       Making sure students complete
    Communicating with teachers and                     assigned activities
     school staff                                       Getting students to offline in-person
                                                         events (social outings and field trips).


       The following plan is a proposal to formalize and streamline current parent and

community involvement in WVL. It maintains some existing initiatives and programs, makes

some modifications, and also includes additions to strengthen the parent-school educational
                                                                                          Conn 3


partnership. The plan follows the framework by Joyce Epstein et al. (2002) to categorize the

actions.

       In addition to traditional school staff, WVL has a few unique positions to address the

needs of the online environment:

    Student Learning Advocate (SLA): Non-classroom certified teachers who serve as a
     liaison between families and WVL. SLAs answer questions, provide information, and
     help monitor student progress.
    WVL Project Coordinator: This position is responsible for coordinating open enrollment,
     registration, and school events.

Parent Involvement Plan
          Action Goals                   Person(s) Responsible                Timeline
                                           Parenting
Assistance to parents in maintaining    SLAs                          Live events in August &
an effective home-learning                                             September.
environment – physical space and                                      Additional live events in
“school time.” This will include live                                  February (start of 2nd
in-person and online sessions. A                                       semester)
written “Frequently Asked                                             Communication ongoing
Questions” document will also be                                       as part of regular SLA
developed.                                                             contacts
                                                                      FAQ document
                                                                       completed by November.
Instruction for parents on using           SLAs – hosting live       Live events in August &
online Learning Management                  sessions                   September.
System (LMS) to monitor student            Helpdesk – create         Additional live events at
progress. Live online sessions and          ‘how to” document.         start of 2nd semester.
“how to documents”.                        Teachers – provide        Communication ongoing
                                            input to SLAs and          as part of regular SLA
                                            Helpdesk                   contacts
                                                                      “How to” document
                                                                       completed by November.
                                         Communicating
Check-in calls to families regarding    SLAs                      Minimum of biweekly
student progress.                                                 Weekly for “at-risk” students
Parents sign a contract,                Administration – creation Completed by current
acknowledging they understand their     of contract.              families by end of 1st quarter
responsibilities in WVL. This
includes administrative expectations    Student Learning           New families must complete
and educational responsibilities.       Advocates (SLAs) –         as part of enrollment in WVL
                                        ensuring contracts are     (each spring/summer)
                                        completed
                                                                                        Conn 4


Communication of parent               Administration, SLAs       Ongoing
responsibilities in the WVL
newsletter, emails, and phone
contacts. This reinforces the
expectations & responsibilities on
the parent contract.
WVL Newsletter continues to           Administration -           Begin in August, ongoing
include housekeeping &                coordinate                 (publish monthly).
administrative information.
Expand to recognize student           Club advisors, Guidance
achievements and bios for new staff   Counselor, WVL Project
members.                              Coordinator – provide
Send copies to NOSD school board      information to be
and post on district website.         included
Communication to parents about        Teachers                   Beginning of the year –
course/teacher expectations and                                  initial information.
procedures.                                                      Ongoing – reminders and
                                                                 follow-up.
Ensure WVL website and                Tech Secretary (website)   Ongoing
announcements on Learning             WVL Secretary (LMS)
Management System (LMS) are
current and updated weekly.
WVL honor roll published in           Guidance Counselor         Each semester
Ozaukee Press with other NOSD
schools.
Publish individual honor roll
students in their local/regional
papers.
Also include in WVL newsletter.
Recognize student achievements        Administration –           Ongoing, minimum of once
(e.g. scholarships, passing AP        coordinate                 per semester
scores, NHS membership, etc.)
Include in WVL newsletter, Ozaukee    Guidance Counselor, AP
Press, and school board reports       Coordinator, NHS
                                      advisor – provide
                                      information
                                         Volunteering
Create WVL Social Committee           WVL Project                Establish committee by end
Includes: parent volunteers, WVL      Coordinator                of October
Project Coordinator, 1 teacher
representative per grade-level team   Teachers –                 First events by the end of 1st
Coordinate social events regularly    representatives on         Semester
throughout the school year, for all   committee and
grade levels, in all regions of the   supervising events
state.
                                                                                          Conn 5


Continue K-8 parent-run clubs and        WVL Project                Establish clubs by the end of
groups, expand to 9-12.                  Coordinator – coordinate   1st Semester.
For student special interests (e.g.      & oversee
photography, outdoors, etc.)                                        Ongoing – create new clubs
                                                                    as interest arises.
Recruit parent volunteers to assist      Club advisors              Ongoing
with teacher-advised clubs
(newspaper, student council,             Assistance to advisors
National Honor Society).                 from WVL project
                                         coordinator.
Recruit parent volunteers to assist      Administration,            Ongoing
with major WVL events – high             Guidance Counselor,
school graduation, 8th grade             NHS advisor
promotion, NHS induction, etc.
Parent questionnaire to gauge areas      SLAs                       End of 1st quarter
of interest and expertise – education,
employment, hobbies, etc.
Information used to locate parent
volunteers for events or guest
speakers in classrooms
                                         Learning at Home
Parent sessions at in-person             SLAs                       Workshops held each
workshops.                                                          quarter.
Information and training for parents
to help them better assist their
students with academic topics.
                                       Decision Making
Parent Advisory Council                Administration               Organize and hold first
Representatives from parents in each                                meeting by end of September
grade level team (K-5, 6-8, 9-12)                                   Hold monthly meetings
and every area of the state.                                        One school board report per
Advise and provide input to WVL                                     semester.
administration
Report to the school board on parent
issues and concerns.
                                 Collaborating with Community
Develop WVL Open Houses to share WVL Project                        2 Open Houses per year –
the school with the NOSD               Coordinator,                 early November & early
community.                             Administration               March
Informal and/or formal Q&A
sessions with WVL teachers and                                      Hold in the evening after
administration.                                                     staff professional
Invite nearby WVL families &                                        development days.
students.
                                                                                              Conn 6


Develop lessons that require student     Teachers                      Ongoing
investigation, research, and activity
in their local community.
Investigate and establish                Administration –              Ongoing
partnerships with businesses and         businesses
higher education institutions (e.g.      Guidance Counselor –
Discovery World).                        higher ed.


Assessment

       The assessment of the actions in this plan will be based on a number of criteria. SLAs

have bi-weekly contact with families and can include discussions of parent involvement as part

of those conversations at least once per quarter. This gives the opportunity for feedback from

every WVL family. Online perception surveys would also be given as a way to gather feedback

on specific initiatives. Discussions with staff can also gather information on their feelings about

the cohesiveness of the new program compared to previous parent and community involvement

efforts. Finally, discussions with the NOSD school board and community members as well as

attendance at WVL events can be used to evaluate actions toward the NOSD community.

       The close relationship that is necessary between parents and WVL due to the nature of

the online educational environment and this action plan takes the current variety of disconnected

initiatives and centralizes their coordination. In addition, it includes actions that have previously

been overlooked or lacking. A consistent plan also allows a formal evaluation to be achieved. As

a result of the assessment and feedback, modifications will be made to the plan to improve

efforts to involve parents and the community in student learning at WVL.
                                                                                           Conn 7


                                          References

Epstein, J.L., Sanders, M.G., Sheldon, S.B., Simon, B.S., Salinas, K.C., Jansorn, N.R.,
   …Williams, K.J. (2002). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for
   action. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Peterson, K.D. (1996). Developing successful parent involvement. Reform Talk, (Issue 3),
    Comprehensive Regional Assistance Center Consortium-Region VI.

				
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