Arizona Department of Education

AIMS Intervention and Dropout Prevention Program TOOLKIT

Staff & Director Quotes

Theme - Parent & Family Involvement
Examples Quoted from Site Staff & Directors

  1. What are the most effective strategies your program has used to get parents involved in their child's school activities?
  2. What are the most common barriers to the success of your program, and how do you work to overcome these barriers?
  3. What are the most successful strategies you use to recruit and select students for your program and has this changed in the past year?
  4. How does your program interact with students' families?
  5. What are the most effective strategies your program is now using to get parents involved in their child's school activities?

When asked, "What are the most effective strategies your program has used to get parents involved in their child's school activities?"

Staff Quotes:

  • "Positive feedback and direct contact. Many of these parents have only been called by the school for negative reasons. I insure each parent must sign off when a class is completed letting their parent/guardian know their progress. I have a bilingual aide so my Spanish-speaking parents are also kept well informed. I invite adults to take our free Adult ELL classes to open up communication and make them feel welcome at the school. I meet with each parent and student in a 1-hour interview to hear all their concerns about their child upon entering the program. If students are 15 minutes late we begin calling parents to find out where they are. I have found that every parent wants success for their child and is willing to hear something positive." (2007-08 Glendale Union High School District: Career Exploration)

  • "Through home visits, parents are kept informed of their students' progress and academic needs. They are also invited to attend ESL classes provided just for them to learn English. This also encourages students to study in order to help themselves and their families." (2007-08 Tucson Unified District Project REACH)

  • "Parents of the Summer Bridge students are asked to attend a Parent and Student Orientation Meeting prior to the beginning of the summer program. At this meeting, the parents are asked to complete a survey that asks what information about their student's school they would like to know more about. Parents may make as many topic suggestions as they wish. These suggestions are then compiled and the 4 most popular suggestions/topics will be developed as the 4 future parent workshops during the regular school year. Parents are also asked to participate in a Parent, Student and Teacher conference at the end of the program. During this time, report cards will be distributed. Finally, personalized phone calls are made home to invite the parents to the workshops and/or express concerns that may have developed." (2006-07 Tempe Union High School District, Marcos de Niza High School)

  • "A requirement for enrolling at our school is that the parent and student must attend an Intake Interview. We use this opportunity to establish a foundation for good communications and discuss opportunities for their involvement in their child's school activities."  (2006-07 Buckeye Union School District, Buckeye Academy)

  •  "Our Big Brothers Big Sisters agency interviews families and the students before they are ever matched with a mentor. We also do an orientation at this time so everyone is aware of our expectations, and the importance of everyone's involvement. We follow up with parents, students and mentors on a monthly basis, but all parties are encouraged to call our staff should problems/concerns arise. The school also does their share to get parents actively involved, but it is often a struggle." (2006-07 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff, AIM HIGH Program)

  • "All three of my schools refer to themselves as community schools. This means that the community, especially our parents, is a large part of our program. We have family resource centers which use parent volunteer to host community events, provide basic living necessities and keep families involved. I send home a parent newsletter every quarter and host up to 4 parent events per year." (2006-07 NAU GEAR UP Program)

  •  "I make a lot of phone calls. I send a lot of good notes home. I send out monthly newsletters. I encourage parents to call me as often as they like. The majority of homeless parents want to see their child do better than they did. They also want their kids to get better jobs to bring more money home so that the entire family can afford more things. The parents are very supportive even though they do not have much time to actually visit!" (2006-07 YMCA, I-Learn Program)

  • "We've tried to involve them in on-campus activities like picnics, barbeques, athletic contests, school meetings and socials. We even had several bingo nights. And, of course, we always invite parents to accompany their students to before-, after- and Saturday-school open labs."  (2006-07 Scottsdale Unified School District, Project CORE)

  •  "Parents are invited to school to attend open house to meet teachers at the start of the year. Events such as the I and I, Christmas dinners, community service learning projects, and end of year banquets allow opportunities for parents to meet coordinators and become familiar with the program." (2006-07 Jobs for Arizona's Graduates

  • "Home visits by O'odham staff; Homework; Immediate Phone calls when students don't behave; Give positive feedback to parents, not just negative feedback, about what's going on in after-school. We always tell them when they are improving in after-school." (2006-07 Indian Oasis Baboquivari High School)

Director Quotes:

  • "Multiple strategies are employed to engage parents. Some parents respond well to notes and resources sent home. Many like phone calls. Some will attend conferences. Others will attend student performances. At one site, through Pima Prevention Partnership, we have been able to offer the Strengthening Families Program (a SAMHSA Model Program), which is a mix of a parenting class and family group counseling. Through Parent Aid, we have also offered parenting workshops for Spanish-speaking parents." (2007-08 Amphitheater Unified District: Project ETC (Empowering, Teaching and Connecting)
  • "Parents are an essential component of student success at NAA. Parents are involved as chaperones and office aides, as members of the site council making decisions about policies, as fundraisers for school activities, and as members of the "family" who are always welcome to stop by the school to check on their child's progress or use a computer in the lab. Parents are vital to the development and implementation of the ILP, and they are also essential to supporting students in their attitudes toward school and their attendance. Teachers at NAA strive to involve parents in the positive aspects of school life. Most of our students and parents have a negative history with schooling, and we make an effort to change that experience and perception. Parents are sent postcards and receive phone calls regarding student successes and efforts. NAA staff also work hard to communicate with parents effectively about student attendance, behavior issues, important events or dates, etc, so that we can have a positive relationship." (2007-08 Northern Arizona Academy for Career Development, Inc.)
  • "The parents and or guardians of the student are part of the student's support team. They are provided with regular progress reports on the student. Also our campuses have regular parent's advisory meetings in which members from the school staff and administration, the district office and others are on hand to discuss the programs at the school. These meetings are specifically for the parents." (2006-07 Agua Fria Union High School District)
  • "In the ILC program, chances for parental involvement include Open Houses and Success Lunches to celebrate the progress of the students. The students are encouraged to invite their families to such events, and are given extra credit incentives for bringing family members along. The parents are encouraged to call the ILC Teacher if they have any questions or concerns regarding their child's progress. The Teacher will schedule a meeting, if necessary, to meet with both the parent and the child to go over progress and challenges that the student may be facing."  (2006-07 Coconino Career Center, Independent Learning Center)
  • "Parents are informed and communicated frequently. Staff sends a progress report after three weeks of the class. Teachers and the entire Primavera staff try to copy parents on all the communications via emails. Parents also help their children to complete the school work and classes." (2006-07 Primavera Online High School, Workforce Connections Program)
  • "Parent permission is required for participation in the program. In addition, parents sign a participation contract. Parent attendance is required at scheduled parent meetings to review student progress." (2006-07 Mesa Unified School District, PAY Program)
  • "Parental involvement is a struggle and we are always looking for new strategies to engage them. Our parent/family nights have been somewhat successful as they are planned as a time for the youth and his/her family (however the student defines that) to interact over food and some activities. We have tried offering activities such as CPR training and learn computer basics with your child, but these were the least successful. The purely social events or student recognitions are the most successful to date." (2006-07 Arizona Call-A-Teen, Youth Excel Project)
  • "Our Liaison Officer has been a great asset in improving parental involvement. She makes lots of phone calls and home visits." (2006-07 Mary C. O'Brien Accommodation School District, Villa Oasis School)

When asked, "What are the most common barriers to the success of your program, and how do you work to overcome these barriers?"

Director Quotes:

  • "The lack of parental involvement is a barrier to student success. We are addressing this through Parent Connect, the individualized videos for our incoming freshmen and involving the parents with the community service/service learning activities of the district." (2008-09 Agua Fria Union High School District IDP Program)

When asked, "What are the most successful strategies you use to recruit and select students for your program and has this changed in the past year?"

Director Quotes:

  • "It is important that formal meetings are held with parents of the students. Most parents are cooperative and helpful when they are aware of specific needs. For example, we are asking parents to cooperate with the school and allow us to provide extra summer help for their children. Teacher counselor meetings are also helpful in developing a successful strategy." (2008-09 Mayer Unified School District: Success For Life)

When asked, "How does your program interact with students' families?"

Director Quotes:

  • "Our school engages families by informing parents of students' progress and goals. Parents are invited to participate in FASFA nights and career days. Families are also invited to occasional barbeques at the school." (2008-09 Coconino County Regional Accommodation District #99)
  • "Creating after-school programs where students bring their parents. We are still working on implementing student led parent conferences." (2008-09 Dysart Unified School District: Dysart EXPRESS)
  • "At intake, parents and students sign and submit the Parent/Student/School Compact which outlines the responsibilities of each. Parents are also contacted by the school and teachers for praise, attendance, and discipline issues." (2008-09 Gila County Regional School District)
  • "Families are mailed a quarterly newsletter in English and Spanish funded through this program. We also have an open house the second week of school and two parent-teacher conferences throughout the school year. Also, teachers who are paid to tutor are in contact with parents if the student does not show up."(2008-09 Nogales Unified School District AIMS IDP Program)

When asked, "What are the most effective strategies your program is now using to get parents involved in their child's school activities? Please explain."

Staff Quotes:

  • "The school has started a site council, which includes teachers, students, and parents, to talk about school related issues. The school has also started putting many written communications in both English and Spanish to accommodate Spanish speaking parents." (2008-09 Academy with Community Partners Inc.: Education for Today, Hope for Tomorrow)

Director Quotes:

  • "We have mandated parent meetings by class. For example, ALL parents of freshmen are told they MUST attend a meeting the second week of school. All parents of sophomores meet prior to the administration of the AIMS to receive tips on how they can help their sons/daughter be successful. We have been running about a 90 percent attendance rate for these meetings." (2008-09 Nogales Unified School District AIMS IDP Program)

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