Family & Community Partnerships
Washington County Public Schools supports family involvement and encourages schools to build meaningful partnerships with parents, families, and communities. Efforts are continuously being made to align the parent, family, and community involvement programs of WCPS with the Maryland State Department of Education, the National Network of Partnership Schools, and the United States Department of Education - which all view family involvement through six “key” categories or types of involvement. These six keys come from the work of Dr. Joyce Epstein, of Johns Hopkins University, and are the foundation of the National PTA standards. These standards are used to guide our family involvement program, and are listed below, along with some sample ideas for involvement.
- Prepare your child for school the night before to make the morning less stressful (set clothes and backpacks out, start breakfast, get a head start on lunches).
- Recognize your child’s work and be generous with praise.
- Model respect for others to your child.
- Review your child’s homework planner daily and use it to communicate with the teacher.
- Give children a chance to show what they know by asking simple questions about school. Start a sentence that your child can complete. “One thing I learned today was…” or “One thing I did well today was...” Talk to your children about when you were their age.
- Stay in touch with teachers by phone, email, note, or in person to let them know if your child is having difficulties in school or at home, when your child has to be absent from school, or to share successes.
- Offer to “beautify” the school grounds on the weekends by cleaning up, or planting flowers.
- Find out from your child’s teacher if there’s anything they need in the classroom and search out donated or inexpensive yard sale items.
- If you have a skill, hobby, talent, or special interest, let the school know that you are willing to share it.
4. Learning at Home
- Show your child that you value and enjoy reading (get a library card and visit the library regularly).
- Involve your child in shopping and preparing meals; ask them to help figure out prices, quantities, and measurements.
- Use newspapers, magazines or television (news, education, learning, nature, and discovery channels) to educate your child about the world (local and world news, weather, different countries/cultures).
5. Collaborating with the Community
- Participate in reading/book fairs, yard sales, ice cream socials, or other school sponsored events that involve the community.
- Support a collection of donated household items, or school supplies items for those in need through your local businesses or churches.
- Ask local senior citizens to participate in your school as lunch monitors, library assistants, mentors, or reading tutors.
6. Decision-making and Advocacy
- Talk to school administrators about participation in School Improvement Team efforts
- Spread good news about your school (superior attendance, test scores, grants or awards). Talk about achievements, successes, and positive effects.
- Provide feedback and advocate your school system by responding to surveys, taking part in focus groups or task forces, and keeping informed of PTA activities.
Family & Community Partnerships