Family-Teacher Academic Teams

Forging Academic Partnerships with Families – Staff Development, Coaching and Resources

This program is for School District Leaders and the Principals of the Title I, Elementary & Middle Schools. It works directly with the classroom teachers of these schools, as well as the Family Liaisons of these schools

This innovative staff development process replaces the traditional parent-teacher conference model by empowering teachers to form a classroom team of parents focused on academic skills and home learning activities.

While your teachers really want to engage families, they may not know how, and don’t have the resources or time to make it happen. The traditional approach isn’t working. In addition to Back to School Night and Conferences, you’ve tried math or literacy nights, and various parent education programs. You are not seeing results because these efforts just scratch the surface of what parents and teachers can do together.

What you really need is to build a better parent-teacher conference format that allows families and teachers to work together more closely and increase their own capacity to support their child’s learning.

This program is so effective at engaging families because it is focused on building the capacity of both teachers and families. This program has been tested and improved for over 6 years. It has proven results for increased teacher satisfaction, family engagement and student outcomes.

 This program includes the following topics and results:

  • Why family engagement matters and how it fits into the larger school improvement process
  • How this approach is different from what you are currently doing and why it is a better use of your time
  • The model and how this structure is critical for teachers new to this approach
  • The three steps to preparing for Classroom Conferences and how grade-level teams can get it done
  • The art of invitation and how to ensure high parent participation
  • Identifying grade-level team values and how these empower grade-level teams to make the model their own
  • The structure of the presentation and how it builds families’ understanding and interaction during the meeting
  • The discipline of data collection and how it actually saves time and energy while ensuring continuous improvement
  • The key role of the family Liaison and how she supports the preparation of the meetings.

 Here are the three main logistics of this program:

 1. The model – This program replaces the traditional Parent-teacher conference format of two rounds of 20-minute parent-teacher conferences. Instead teachers provide families with three 75-minute Classroom Team meetings and one round of individual parent-teacher sessions. This new format is totally flexible based on school needs and preferences.

During the Classroom parent-teacher team meetings all families of a classroom meet together with the classroom teacher to review an academic skill, learn home activities to support that skill, and set a 60-day goal to improve the skill.

Templates and resources for these key elements of the meeting are provided for the teachers.

2. Staff Development – 1-hour of dedicated staff development time is needed to present the importance of family engagement, and the model, plus 1-hour for grade level teams to process the information and begin preparing for the 1st team meeting.

Five additional 1-hour grade level meetings are set up throughout the year to debrief the team conferences and prepare for the next one.

Teacher time for meetings and preparation is less than the 28 hours that goes into the traditional parent-teacher conferences.

Observation data of one classroom per grade level is also provided and data included in the grade-level report

Progress reports and reminder emails are sent to teachers before meetings

3. Data Collection & Additional Details – Coaching is provided for the principals on setting up a schedule & covering the logistics of the team meetings.

Attendance, teacher reflection, and family reflection data is collected after each team meeting and put into a report for grade-level team debriefs.

“Mini-make up” sessions (before or afterschool) for parents who missed the team meeting are set by the school’s family liaison for each classroom teacher

If you are interested in learning more about this family engagement initiative, please schedule a free consultation here.