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A child’s first teacher is their parent. Parent engagement in schools maximize academic achievement and success for students. Each year, federal Title 1, needs-based monies are administered to the states and districts through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Parent education and training is mandated by the Act, and the goal of PACplus is to help connect parents, educators, and vendors in order to make it easy to use these funds effectively and efficiently.
The Parent Involvement Policy
The Parent Involvement Policy (Section 1118) of ESSA requires that local educational agencies (a): “(1) IN GENERAL- A local educational agency may receive funds under this part only if such agency implements programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents in programs assisted under this part consistent with this section. Such programs, activities, and procedures shall be planned and implemented with meaningful consultation with parents of participating children.
(2) WRITTEN POLICY- Each local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall develop jointly with, agree on with, and distribute to, parents of participating children a written parent involvement policy. The policy shall be incorporated into the local educational agency’s plan developed under section 1112, establish the agency’s expectations for parent involvement, and describe how the agency will —
(A) involve parents in the joint development of the plan under section 1112, and the process of school review and improvement under section 1116;
(B) provide the coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist participating schools in planning and implementing effective parent involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance;
(C) build the schools’ and parents’ capacity for strong parental involvement as described in subsection (e);
(D) coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies under this part with parental involvement strategies under other programs, such as the Head Start program, Reading First program, Early Reading First program, Even Start program, Parents as Teachers program, and Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, and State-run preschool programs;
(E) conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the parental involvement policy in improving the academic quality of the schools served under this part, including identifying barriers to greater participation by parents in activities authorized by this section (with particular attention to parents who are economically disadvantaged, are disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background), and use the findings of such evaluation to design strategies for more effective parental involvement, and to revise, if necessary, the parental involvement policies described in this section; and
(F) involve parents in the activities of the schools served under this part.
Parent Education and Training
PACplus provides an easy-to-use tool for PAC members to find approved CPS vendors for engagement workshops. Our searchable database tags vendors based upon services provided and other key words. This will allow PACs to easily find the right vendors providing education and training programs aligned with school goals and priorities.
Active participation in parent ESSA education and training events help to attract, identify, and develop parent leaders. PACplus is a tool to make that participation and communication easier, building parent involvement in decision-making and empowering them to help create positive outcomes for their students, the school, and the community.
Equity in Education
The original Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) became law in the era of the Civil Rights movement (1965). Since then, Title I funds have been targeted toward districts serving majority low-income students. The purpose of the Act is “to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.”
The Act also requires funding to be used for parent engagement activities. While overall parental involvement is on the rise, parents from low-income, less educated, or nonwhite households tend to have lower participation rates. PACplus aims to increase parent involvement no matter the community through an easy to use web-based tool that connects PAC members and parent volunteers with the right vendors for parent education and engagement programming.