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Family and Community Engagement Plan

B. Bradshaw

Daily/ Weekly Communication


Action: Class Dojo
Why youve
included it

Class Dojo allows parents and students to be connected using cell phones. The app also allows the teacher to communicate all
positive and negative behaviors, as well as academic/ social accomplishments to parents in real time with more accuracy than a
report or phone call at the end of the day.

How its
supported by
literature

Class Dojo Blog is a great resource for in-depth information for the app, and great information from classroom teachers. In an
article by Nijel Lane entitled Encourage Growth Mindsets in your Students, he references Carol Dwecks Mindset, and
talks about how Class Dojo can be used to encourage a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset by placing more weight on
effort than intelligence. In Class Dojo, teachers can change the amount of points associated with behaviors, so Showing Grit
can be weighted heavier than on task or other, non effort based tasks. (Lane, 2015)

How its
supported from
your experiences
and knowledges

Fellow teacher and friend, John McCormick (Rocketship DC) used Class Dojo last school year in his first grade classroom. He
identified behaviors and ideals that he wanted to cultivate in his scholars, and weighted them higher than other things. Highest
weighted behaviors were helping a friend, leading by example and respecting one another. I love his need-based
approach to using this app- it definitely improved the classroom culture and behavior.

How it'
welcoming

Class Dojo welcomes parents into the world of the classroom by providing real time updates on what their student is doing, and
how they are navigating the day. Class Dojo is a free cell phone app, and can be accessed at any time. Parents can view their
childs points for the day, photos and teacher/ school announcements.

How its
collaborative

The app allows parents and teachers to communicate about the students and other things happening in school. Because parents
can see their childs points, and the points are specific to certain accomplishments or behaviors (Jasmine was focused, working
hard, or not following directions), it opens up a conversation between parents and teachers to discuss the behaviors, the specific
details surrounding the incident and solutions moving forward. Parents can also share photos from home to the Class Dojo app.

How its
Culturally
Relevant

Class Dojo allows parents to follow their children on their cell phones, which has proven to be much more efficient than phone
calls, emails or meetings. Accessing this information using cell phones is more efficient than traditional methods because the
vast majority of parents have cell phones, and it allows them to access the information on their own time and with any
frequency theyd like. Also, todays elementary school parents are very tech-savvy and use other popular apps like Facebook
and Instagram, so this method reaches them through a comfortable medium.

How its
Proactive

Real- time updates allow parents to be in the know as soon as things happen, instead of allowing things to get out of control
before contact is made.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

Daily/ Weekly Communication

Action: Love Notes


Why youve included it

Once a week, I will send a card home telling parents something that I just loved about their student that week.
This will be a simple and consistent way to praise students while reminding parents of their childs strengths in
school.

How its supported by


literature

One of Lisa Delpit's 10 requirements for an excellent urban classroom is to recognize and build on childrens
strengths (Delpit, 2012). Additionally, the Teaching with Love and Logic model emphasizes having a good
relationship with your students through communication with them and their families. When students know that you
care, they are more motivated to please the teacher and perform in school (Jim Fay, 1995).

How its supported from


your experiences and
knowledges

Children love to receive praise, and writing the praise gives them another reason to read. Also, sending the letters
home makes the praise public and they will be even more proud to have that information shared with their families.

How it' welcoming

People respond to positivity. I believe that by sending nice letters home often, it will make parents more
comfortable with communicating with me because they will see me as a positive and kind person who also loves
and wants whats best for their child.

How its collaborative

This allows the teacher to communicate positive behaviors with the students family. Parents will be encouraged to
respond to the letter with a letter about something that they love about their child outside of school, opening up a
positive dialogue about the child.

How its Culturally


Relevant

3rd - 5th graders are starting to like each other, so Im sure there will be lots of love note passing beyond my
own. This method will help to model healthy and appropriate communication for students.

How its Proactive

This allows me to shout out students, and get parents invested in the fact that I am an ally before we may have to
have more difficult interactions.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

Roles for Family Participation

Action: Weekly Newsletter and Support Pack


Why youve included it

This weekly newsletter will let parents know what their childs current goals are and how they can help to
extend the learning at home. Parents will also be asked to contribute how and if they are able (in and out of
class)to.

How its supported by


literature

Gloria Ladson Billings mentions that teachers can be conductors or coaches. This strategy will allow me to
assume the role of a coach, or one who believes that students are capable of excellence, but is comfortable
sharing the responsibility to help them achieve it with parents, community members, and the students
themselves. (Ladson- Billings, 2009 )

How its supported from


your experiences and
knowledges

In my experience, parents will work on things at home if they are given the proper information and
materials to do so.

How it' welcoming

This weekly newsletter allows parents to have detailed insight into what we do in the classroom, how and
why. Parents are also welcomed to attend any intervention (in person or via phone or FaceTime) that I have
with their child, and offer input and ideas for growth.

How its collaborative

This strategy welcomes parents to use suggested support methods, or to think of and share their own.

How its Culturally


Relevant

It sends all materials home to address the needs of those who may be school dependent, or families that
may not have access to the necessary resources. It also allows families to participate on their own terms at
a rate and intensity at which they are comfortable.

How its Proactive

This strategy disseminates information before it is used in class so that parents and teachers are always on
the same page about student learning and teacher has time to adjust/respond if/where necessary.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

Roles for Family Participation

Action: Family Literacy or Math Nights


Why youve
included it

Family Literacy and Math Nights give teachers and parents a chance to work with students together, to get to know
each other better, and share ideas.

How its
supported by
literature

Parents want real-time information about school goals and learning strategies so theyll know what to do at
home (Henderson, Carson, Avallone and Whipple, 2011). These math and literacy nights will work with the support
packs that I send home because it will show parents and family members how to do these things in a fun way, and it
will open them up to be more creative with academic material at home.

How its
supported from
your
experiences and
knowledges

In my experiences, families are interested in what we are doing in school, we just have to invite them to participate in
an engaging and meaningful way. As the Manager of Student Activities, I experienced a lot of issues with parents in
my after school program at DC Scholars in my first year. They were not very invested in the programs (content or
student attendance), and pretty much used it as a baby sitting service. I think this was because parents were not
welcomed to participate or observe anything happening after school. During year two, I implemented an open door
policy where I asked parents not to pick up early, but if they arrived before dismissal, to go and observe or participate
in the activity. I also ran more showcases and Saturday Scholars programs that allowed families to really get involved
in what their students were doing after school. We saw less behavior issues from parents and students, and higher
attendance (87% to 93% ).

How it'
welcoming

These activities do not necessarily need to happen at night, as that may not work for all families. I could survey parents to see
when most people were available (after school, evening, Saturday morning etc.) and vary the times in which we meet so that
everyone gets to participate periodically.

How its
collaborative

Family Math or Literacy Night will be a hodgepodge of themed activities and games that reinforce skills that we have
been working on. Parents will be asked to contribute ideas for games and activities to be used.

How its
Culturally
Relevant

These events will allow families to socialize in a relaxed environment, and play games as many of them likely already
do at home. These events also give me a chance to see more relaxed interactions between students and their families
that I would normally see in school or meetings.

How its
Proactive

It is a way to model fun math and literacy enrichment consistently, before we have to address remediation.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

Roles for Family Participation

Action: Conversation Starters


Why youve included it

This will be a quick and fun way to engage students in conversations about lots of different topics at home.

How its supported by


literature

In an article from the National PTA entitles Communicating with your children: You Make the
Difference, Meline Kevorkian brings up several interesting points. First, she talks about how families
spend time together, but people are commonly glued to their phones. Stepping away from technology and
just having conversations is important. Research suggests that talking time actually does have a positive
impact on achievement, so its worth it to try. Also, she mentions that communicating thoughts and ideas is
not a skill that we are born with, therefore, we must cultivate it. Conversing over thoughts and ideas with
your children early on will increase the likelihood that parents will maintain quality communication into
the teenage years. (Kevorkian, 2005)

How its supported from


your experiences and
knowledges

This summer, I created conversation cards for my 4th graders to use during breakfast. The kids loved the
activity and participated everyday. They even started to contribute their own questions through a game
they grew to love, Would You Rather.

How it' welcoming

Increases communication between parents and teacher, optional

How its collaborative

I will start with a card set that I have created, but eventually, cards contributed by parents and students will
become the entire collection.

How its Culturally


Relevant

Gives families current topics to discuss, some of which they may be familiar with, others of which they
may need to seek for information. It will also allow families to communicate things that are important to
them that theyd like other people to think about as well.

How its Proactive

It gets everyone involved in the learning experience, and encourages more speaking, critical thinking and
explaining outside of school

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

Getting to know students in and out of the Classroom


Action: Philly Faves
Why youve included it

This is my way of getting teacher and students to talk/ write about their favorite things in their city.

How its supported by


literature

As I think further through it, this strategy is similar to the one that Maria Ghiso used in her research of
students in New York. She said that knowledge is not neutral, and that particular types of knowledge are
not academically validated in schools. I hope to gain insight into what they know and what they value
through each familys contribution (Compano & Ghiso, 2016)

How its supported from


your experiences and
knowledges

Honestly, I never had the experience of other people coming into my city or neighborhood to teach me as a student.
In search of the best education available, I attended magnet schools, so I travelled to other sides of Chicago for
school. I was always the visitor. However, my students feel at home in Philly, and if I want Philly to ever feel like
home to me, I have to know more than the college campuses and tourist attractions. The first time I came to Philly, I
sought out the best cheese steak to be eaten. Of course I used the internet, and it led me to Pats and Ginos. They
only served beef, and I was looking for chicken, so we searched for other places until we found one with great
reviews that ended up being gross. But, this summer, while teaching at Douglass Elementary, a Philly native
pointed me across the street to a tiny corner store that served me the most delicious chicken cheese steak and fries
for $5! I trust the natives over google.

How it' welcoming

This strategy welcomes input from parents and students, but honestly, it is actually a way for parents to
make me feel more welcomed into this new city. I don't know much about Philly yet, so their input will be
super important to me. Also, I think I could welcome students into my life outside of school by sharing my
experiences after I visit the places that they suggest, or even taking students with me to some of the places.

How its collaborative

Families can inspire my exploration around Philly, and we can even visit some locations together. The
locations and photos will become a part of the decor in the classroom, perhaps on a giant map of Philly
that we create on a wall- adding photos and quotes to it over the year.

How its Culturally


Relevant

Allows parents and students to share locations that are most important to them, and why those locations
are special to them.

How its Proactive

This will give me insight into what students background knowledge about the world and where they live
is.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

School Community outside of classroom

Action: Community Projects


Why youve included it

This is a way for our school to involve ourselves in quarterly service projects that will serve our
community.

How its supported by


literature

The Corporation for National and Community Service lists some benefits of volunteering as solving
problems, strengthening communities and connecting to others. Also, in Multiplication is For White
People, Lisa Delpit lists fostering a sense of childrens connection to community, to something greater
than themselves, as an integral part of an excellent urban classroom (Delpit, 9).

How its supported from


your experiences and
knowledges

Participating community projects gives students an opportunity to brainstorm existing problems, and
generate solutions to them.

How it' welcoming

Invites the entire school community to give something of value to the community in which we work.

How its collaborative

Encourages students to work together to identify problems and generate solutions

How its Culturally


Relevant

Addresses immediate needs of the community

How its Proactive

This strategy allows our students to take action in repairing problems in the community around them, instead of
waiting for adults or outside people to come in and help.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

School Community outside of classroom

Action: After School Activities (Tech or Girls on the Run)


Why youve included it

After school matters. This time gives students safe time after school to interact with teachers and peers,
and to explore enrichment activities that may be of interest to them.

How its supported by


literature

The After School Alliance reports that 7 of 10 African American children show a demand for after school
programs, while only 24% currently participate, which is why it is important to create after school after
school activities in every building. Also, African American parents believe that after school programs are
an essential source of support for working parents- giving them peace of mind when at work and helping
them to keep their jobs.

How its supported from


your experiences and
knowledges

Before returning to the classroom, I directed after school programs for a charter school in southeast DC.
Because of the 21st Century Learning Centers grant that we received, students were able to participate in
tons of activities daily, including robotics, debate, dance, and soccer.

How it' welcoming

This is a way for me to meet more kids in the school who I may not directly serve during the day. All will
be welcomed.

How its collaborative

Engaging in activities in which students are familiar and confident changes the usual power dynamic of me as the
teacher or expert, to the group just having fun enrichment time.

How its Culturally


Relevant

Addresses the need for after school programming among African American children, addresses health
needs and provides added enrichment for students who need help.

How its Proactive

This strategy will allow me to build relationships with students beyond academics, and those relationships will be
the force that will help me teach better and them learn better and more openly.

Family and Community Engagement Plan


B. Bradshaw

Reference List

After School Alliance. (2014, October). America After 3 pm and the African American Community. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://
www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2014/African.American-AA3PM-2014-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Avallone, P., Carson, J., Henderson, A., Whipple, M. (May 2011). Making the Most of School- Family Compacts. Educational Leadership.
Retrieved from http://ctschoolparentcompact.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Making-the-Most-of-School-Family-Compacts-EdLeadership-May-2011.pdf
Compano, G., & Ghiso, M. (2016, August 5). Practitioner Inquiry, Equity and Access: Learning from Students' Cultural and Social Worlds.
Lecture presented at Community, Pedagogy and Practice in The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Philadelphia,
PA.
Delpit, L. (2012). Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other Peoples Children. New York: New Press.

Fay, J. (1995). Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom. Golden, CO: Love and Logic Press.
Kevorkian, K. (August/ September 2005). Communicating with Children: You Make The Difference. National PTAs Our Children Magazine,
Volume 31 (Issue No. 1). Retrieved from http://www.pta.org/programs/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1761.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2009). The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, California: Jossey
Bass Publishers.

Lane, N. (2015). Encourage Growth Mindsets in your Students: The Class Dojo Blog. Retrieved from
https://blog.classdojo.com/encourage-growth-mindsets-in-your-students/.