July 1, 2011
Family Engagement Committee Meeting
Attendees: Cynthia Okazaki (PACT), Ann Davis (HEM), Christina Simmons (PACT), Debbie Schatz (HEM), Gordon Miyamoto (DOE), Kathy Bryant (HE‘E), Cheri Nakamura (HE‘E)
Ann Davis started the meeting explaining with the need to define the terms
Family Involvement/Parent Engagement, that we can agree upon. For example, there is a parent involvement policy and also and SCR for family/community engagement.
Cheri Nakamura explained the background of the Board of Education and the goals for the department’s strategic plan. They hope to update the strategic plan with metrics and measures, which are tied to the department’s budget. Therefore, we have a window to provide recommendations to the Board on a parent/family involvement/engagement policy and implementation plan.
Cynthia Okazaki commented that every school is different so it would be difficult to implement the same plan across all schools. She suggested that there could be a board level policy but included in this would be criteria to have a parent involvement/engagement plan incorporated in every school’s academic/financial (ACFIN) plan. This way, every school, though a school’s SCC, would review every year and set/revise goals.
This is already a requirement for Title 1 schools. Title 1 schools are required to create a School Improvement Plan, which is similar to an ACFIN plan. Parent engagement must be a part of School Improvement Plan. A comment was made that we could, for example, recommend that all schools adopt Title 1 requirements for parent involvement.
Ann Davis pointed out that at Kainalu Elementary, which is a Title 1 school, even with the requirement/compliance, information does not get communicated to parents. Compact is sent home and that is the end.
Cheri Nakamura commented that even if a Title 1 school like Kainalu requires parent engagement to be part of its School Improvement Plan, if it does not get communicated to parents or there is no follow up, it won’t be effective. However, Kathy Bryant pointed out that the ACFIN plan would be a good house a parent engagement policy/implementation. A school would be able to craft strategies, set goals and parameters.
In addition to a recommending that schools adopt Title 1 requirements, there would also need to be support from the Superintendent and Complex Area Superintendents, who would communicate to respective principals. Currently, there seems to be a breakdown between CAS and principal regarding parent involvement policy. Furthermore, the group thought there needed to be someone at each school to have a family engagement go-to person, who would need to have basic information about family engagement. Previously, it was thought that the PCNC would be this person; however, now that PCNCs are funded through the weighted student formula, some principals choose not to fund this role. Even before WSF funding, PCNCs did not work enough hours to accomplish what they were expected to achieve.
Christina Simmons posed the question, if we could only choose 2 measures for parent engagement, what would those be? She felt that the Board would not want to be burdened by too many indicators. The group came up with attendance/truancy and how welcome a parent feels at the school.
Gordon Miyamoto mentioned that the Castle Complex Community Council (C4) would be discussion this very topic at an upcoming meeting on July 16 from 6-8pm. Castle Complex also wants to proceed putting together a family engagement policy with an implementation plan with measures. They will be looking at existing parent involvement policy and examining how to improve, evaluate what works and doesn’t work, similar to what this group is doing now. He and Matt Lorin will lead the discussion, and we are invited to attend the meeting. The group agreed that it would be a great idea to attend and participate in the discussion. The C4 has support from the Department, so it would be good to follow their lead.
Ann Davis, suggested that for this family engagement policy group for now, we try to define these terms.