The Northeastern School District in York, PA is vigorously pursuing its goal, “100% of our students will graduate and be fully prepared for a post-secondary education.” The pathway to accomplishing this goal begins and ends with the philosophy, READ, READ,READ and READ some more.
The approach to success is to pursue this philosophy with parents at every opportunity the school district and the local schools can possibly arrange. In meetings thus far the major point espoused to parents is the school administration and school personnel desires to gain parental support. The partnership proposed is to enable each child with the ability to be prepared for success in their post-secondary education endeavors.
In one of the school district’s latest meeting, for parents with children in elementary and intermediate school, the focus highlighted reading strategies within the No Child Left Behind legislation. The thrust of the meeting was certainly not politics of budgets in Washington, D. C. but how this legislation can help parents prepare their children for success in the classroom and the world.
Strategies Using Title I Resources
The initial strategy that casts the largest net toward gaining success in this endeavor is parental support. Reaching the goal of each child in the school district being prepared to succeed in post-secondary education begins with each parent knowing how their child can be successful.
Therefore the largest net being cast is to net parents, as many as possible, to join in the effort to aid the school to help students be a success.
The second strategy is where the community, school and home becomes less of an aggregate of persons living in close proximity to each other and bonds are forged to meet a common goal. Building a cooperative community of teachers, parents, children and school administrators sets the tone for active parental involvement, enthusiastic teaching personnel and motivated student achievement.
The third strategy is identifying the barriers to parental involvement and diminished student motivation. The school district is moving to take the knowledge of the diversity of its student body and their family of origin and work to resolve barriers:
- economically disadvantaged families
- limited English proficiency
- physical and mental disabilities
- racial, ethnic and minority student challenges
- behavioral and academic challenges
The challenges are varied for both the school and the homes of the students. But the key to success in overcoming the above listed barriers is to develop and keep open lines of communication between all parties.
Title I: Breaking the Double Jeopardy Cycle in Education
To break the cycle of student failure on the part of schools, home and community the resources of Title I programs look to bring in various resources to help the economic and socially disadvantaged families. The cycle of failure in education is the barrier that many parents feel, as they do not have either the requisite skills or resolve to help their children with the challenging work they bring home.
The cycle of failure is mostly found in the area where the school system is proposing to aid the district’s children to be successful: their reading skills. The essence of the message by school administrators to parents was that Title’s I has effective strategies to overcome their personal barriers. Indeed, one answer is for parents to use the resources of the school itself.
Key resources available to disadvantaged families are the school’s guidance counselor and school social worker. The school district shared that the school guidance counselor and the school social worker are a resource that parents can tap into for help in multiple areas. Combined these two resource persons can help a family with the following areas:
- interviewing and counseling small groups in the school setting
- assessing the needs of students and parents with behavioral, economic and social challenges
- providing information on parent education programs
- making referrals for remedial training
- Consulting with teachers and parents on options to address behaviors and academic deficiencies of students
Title I Strategies for Parent at Home
The success of the school district’s paramount goal is the partnership between school and home. The school district is consistent in its methods to teach and provide remedial aid to children to read and it must be done at home too.
The strategy in this phase of the school’s efforts is to transfer the necessary skills to parents to aid their children to READ, READ, READ and READ some more. The goal of the school teaching children to read is to increase their fluency, build word vocabulary and apply reading skills to state proficiency tests.
The goal of transferring the methods of teaching reading skills to parents is to create a home environment where children will practice and reinforce the skills learned in school. A key point illustrated in the transfer of these skills is to make reading less rigid and more relaxed at home so that reading is fun.
The final strategy to elicit parental involvement is to give examples how to help the child at home. Again, the strategies are geared toward the stated pathway to success, READ, READ, READ and READ some more. The strategies for reading include the following resources:
- how to lead a discussion with your child before, during and after reading a book
- how to aid your child in retelling a story using the different elements of the story
- how to make the time to read a priority in the home – eliminate or reduce activities that impede of reading time
- how to be consistent – time together and material covered
- how to select an appropriate reading level book for your child
The school district knows that the ability to reach their goal of preparing all students to be successful in their post secondary education endeavors is to elicit and maintain parental involvement. In reference to the students, their success in the classroom stems from their efforts to increase the ability to read. Thereby, everyone’s pathway to success is to READ, READ, READ and READ some more.
Just make it fun so reading is fun.