The Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) have recently released a publication designed to help parents support their children and increase student success. The Parent Tool Kit and accompanying Planning Parent Engagement Guidebook are being distributed to all school boards and schools in Ontario. The development and distribution of the Tool Kit was funded by the Ministry of Education of Ontario.
Dorothy Gossling (the lead on the project) and I had the wonderful opportunity to work with CODE and parents across Ontario in developing and writing these documents. Invitations to participate in the consultation for the development of the Tool Kit and Guidebook were extended to parents at the first PIC symposium in Toronto in April 2010. Parents from across Ontario, shared their ideas, reviewed the materials and made recommendation about how to use the resources in all schools. Some even suggested that the Tool Kit be placed in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists. Each School Council Chair, Principal, Parent Involvement Committee Chair, Director of Education and Board Chair have been given a Parent Tool Kit and Guidebook along with a electronic version. (flash drive) CODE also made sure that eveyone could have access to the documents through a link on their website. Click here for the English version and Click here for the French Version.
You can also read the online version here at BuildingParentEngagement.com
Because there has been considerable evidence about the importance of parental engagement, the rationale for the Parent Tool Kit was obvious. It is hoped that schools and parent groups will use these resources to develop practical ways for parents to help their children. Many schools are already doing great things for parents and parent engagement and the resources could be used to add to their already good list of activities.
The Building Parent Engagement guidebook is a support document to the Parent Tool kit. It is designed to help school and parent groups connect the activities in the Tool Kit that parents can do at home with activities at school. The activities described in the Guidebook are samples for schools to model after or adapt to their own school community. There is a tremendous amount of imagination and creativity in schools in Ontario and hopefully best practices will be shared across the province.
The Guidebook has a special section on surveys. You will find a template for a parent satisfaction survey and a community survey. These guides are a good way to measure the needs of a school community and determine which resources would be most helpful to use.
We worked hard on recognizing, in an inclusive manner, the people who made comments, reviewed materials and offered advice so the acknowledgements in these publications don’t specifically mention individuals.
This is my personal opportunity to say thank you. I have a really long list of people who served as inspiration in the development of these documents. You the readers of this blog and the many teachers and parents in my PLN. The Niagara Catholic Regional School Council (PIC), Dr. Joyce Epstein and the National Network of Partnerships school, Dr. Debbie Pushor, Larry Ferlazzo, Penny Lindballe and my good friend and former Niagara Catholic Director of Education, Angelo Di Ianni. Special thanks to my dear friends and colleagues of many many years, Syl Roach, Laurel Allison, and Rick McAllister, the stars in the first parent involvement handbook Student Learning a Parent Focus; to Peggy George, Kim Caise and Steve Hargadon, my partners in crime on Classroom 2.0 Live and to the ETT community for their support of the Parents as Partners webcast; to Elaine Woloschuk, School Council Guru; to Dorothy Gossling, the most grounded former superintendent of schools I have ever met and who really understands the needs of parents and held this project together; to Frank Kelly, Executive Director of CODE for his ongoing support of the project and to the Minister of Education for funding a project for parents and student success.
Finally to the 30 odd family members who have had their influence and only smile when I start to talk about school.