The Wilkes County Board of Education recognizes the value of family engagement in a child’s academic success and believes that the education of children is an ongoing cooperative partnership between the home and the school. Parents and other family members are their children’s first teachers; therefore, the continued involvement of parents and family members in the educational process is most important in fostering and improving educational achievement. School system officials shall strive to support parents and provide parents and family members with meaningful opportunities to become involved in the programs offered by the Title I schools. The board also encourages parents and family members to participate in the design and implementation of the programs and activities in order to increase the effectiveness of the school system’s Title I program in helping students meet state and local achievement standards.
The Board of Education directs each school to develop a parent and family engagement plan as a part of the school improvement plan. This plan must include, at a minimum, the board directives provided below. The superintendent and each school may provide further direction on parent and family engagement. This policy applies to the parents, legal guardians and legal custodians of students who are under 18 years old and are not married. The policy also applies to parents, legal guardians, and legal custodians of students who are served in the exceptional children program.
A. Definition of Parent and Family Engagement
For the purposes of this policy, the term “parent and family engagement” means the participation of parents, guardians, and other family members in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student learning and other school activities, including ensuring the following:
- that parents and family members play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
- that parents and family members are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school;
- that parents are full partners in their child’s education and parents and family members are included, as appropriate, in decision making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child; and
- that the school system utilizes activities to support parent and family engagement in the Title I programs.
B. Purpose and Operation of Title I Program
The Title I program is a federally supported program that offers assistance to educationally and economically disadvantaged children to help ensure they receive an equitable, high-quality, well-rounded education and meet the school system’s challenging academic standards. The Title I program provides instructional activities and supportive services to eligible students over and above those provided by the regular school program.
Qualified Title I schools will operate as school-wide programs or targeted assistance programs based upon federal eligibility criteria. School-wide programs will provide comprehensive support to offer improved opportunities for all students in the school to meet the school system’s academic standards. Targeted assistance programs will provide services to eligible students most in need of assistance in the school, as determined by objective criteria established by the superintendent or designee. Eligibility criteria may include, for example, standardized test scores, teacher judgment, and results of preschool screening and home-school surveys.
Both school-wide and targeted assistance programs shall be based on effective means of improving student achievement and shall include evidence-based strategies to support parent and family engagement.
C. Parent Communication and Notification
The Board of Education encourages regular contact with all parents by school personnel for commendation as well as for notification of concerns. Teachers are responsible for scheduling conferences with parents and students on an as needed basis.
Each year schools will notify parents of the following:
- parent rights related to student records (policy 4700, Student Records);
- student behavior policies and school standards and rules (policies in the 4300 series);
- Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Complaint Procedure 1720/4015/7225
- Student and Parent Grievance Procedure (policy 1740/4010);
- grading practices that will be followed at the school and, in the high schools, the means for computing the grade point averages that will be used for determining class rank (Evaluation of Student Progress, policy 3400; Class Rankings, policy 3450);
- a description of the curriculum being offered (Curriculum Development, policy 3100);
- Attendance (policy 4400) ;
- performance standards of the board and school district (policies in the 3400 series);
- sports and extracurricular activities available for students (Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations, policy 3620);
- supportive services available to students, including guidance and health services (Comprehensive Health Education Program, policy 3540; Counseling Program, policy 3610); and
- opportunities for parents to be involved in the school.
D. Opportunities to Withhold Consent
Each year schools will notify parents of the opportunity to withhold consent for the following:
- release of student directory information about his or her child for school purposes or to outside organizations (Student Records, board policy 4700).
- students in grades 6-9 participation in curriculum related to sensitive health education topics such as (1) prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV; (2) the avoidance of out-of-wedlock pregnancy; (3) abstinence until marriage; or (4) comprehensive sex education. A copy of the materials that will be used in these curricula will be available in each school during the school year.
- Healthful Living Notification – All students must take Healthful Living Education in grades Kindergarten through 9th grade (G.S. 115-C81[e]). The nature of Health Education often includes the discussion of sensitive topics. In these situations, health teachers, school nurses and school counselors are trained for appropriate and accurate content as well as proper teaching methods. A parent may request that his/her child be excluded from certain health topics due to religious/personal beliefs by contacting the school principal in writing. These students will be given an alternative health assignment.
- student’s use of guidance programs for individual counseling, small group counseling related to addressing specific problems, or referral to community resources in accordance with board policy 3610, Counseling Program. Parental notification and permission are not required for large group sessions, initial consultations intended to identify the student’s needs, or counseling where child abuse or neglect is suspected. (See board policy 4240, Child Abuse - Reports and Investigations.)
- trips inside/outside the school district.
- Internet access.
Any parent or legal guardian wishing to withhold consent must do so in writing after receiving notice. Otherwise, consent to the programs or activities are presumed. After the annual notification, the school is not required to provide further notice to the parent as to the manner in which student directory information is used, the curriculum is provided, or the guidance programs are made available.
E. Parental Permission Required
Written parental permission is required prior to the following activities:
- medicines administered to students by employees of the Wilkes County Schools (see policy 6125, Administering Medicines to Students);
- any release of student records that are not considered directory information unless the release is allowed or required by law (see policy 4700, Student Records);
- trips inside/outside the school district;
- participation in all sports or high impact extracurricular activities, such as mountain climbing (see also policy 4220, Student Insurance Program);
- parental permission as required by law for exceptional children (see policy 3520, Special Education Programs/Rights of Disabled Students); and
- parental permission as required by law for certain health services.
F. Annual Meeting and Program Evaluation
Each year, school officials will invite parents of students participating in Title I programs to a meeting to explain parental rights, discuss the programs and activities to be provided with Title I funds, and solicit input on the Title I program and this policy. In addition, school officials must provide parents and family members a meaningful opportunity annually to evaluate the content and effectiveness of the Title I programs and the parent and family engagement policies and plans. Information collected from these proceedings will be used to revise Title I programs and parent and family engagement plans.
G. Parent and Family Engagement Efforts
The Wilkes County Board of Education believes that the involvement of Title I parents and family members in the design and implementation of the Title I program will increase the effectiveness of the program and contribute significantly to the success of the children. The Title I staff and all school system personnel shall strive to conduct outreach to parents and family members and involve them in activities throughout the school year.
The superintendent shall ensure that this system-level parent and family engagement policy and plan is developed with, agreed upon with, and annually distributed to parents and family members of participating students. In addition to the system-level parent and family engagement plan, each school participating in the Title I program shall jointly develop and annually distribute to parents and family members a school-level written parent and family engagement plan that describes the means for carrying out school-level policy, sharing responsibility for student academic achievement, building the capacity of school staff and parents for involvement, and increasing accessibility for participation of all parents and family members of children participating in Title I programs, including parents and family members who have limited English proficiency, who have disabilities, or who are migratory. School-level plans must involve parents in the planning and improvement of Title I activities and must provide for the distribution to parents of information on expected student achievement levels and the school’s academic performance.
School officials shall invite appropriate school personnel from private schools to consult on the design and development of its programs in order to provide equitable services to students enrolled in private schools. The superintendent or designee shall establish any additional procedures necessary to achieve timely and meaningful consultation with private school officials in accordance with federal law.
In addition, school system officials and Title I school personnel shall do the following:
- involve parents and family members in the joint development of the Title I program and school support and improvement plan and the process of school review and improvement by including parents on the school advisory committee and any committees that review the Title I program;
- provide coordination, technical assistance, and other support from various central office departments necessary to assist and build the capacity of all participating schools in planning and implementing effective parent and family engagement activities that are designed to improve student academic achievement and school performance;
- coordinate and integrate parent and family engagement strategies in the Title I program to the extent feasible and appropriate with parental engagement strategies established in other federal, state, and local laws and programs;
- with the meaningful involvement of parents, conduct an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the school system parent and family engagement policies and program in improving the academic quality of the school and assisting students to meet the school system’s academic standards;
- strive to eliminate barriers to parental participation by assisting parents who have disabilities and parents who are economically disadvantaged, have limited English proficiency, are migratory, or have other backgrounds or characteristics that may affect participation;
- provide outreach and assistance to parents and family members of children who are participating in Title I programs in understanding the state’s testing standards, the assessments used, Title I requirements, and all national, state, and local standards and expectations through such efforts as community-based meetings, posting information on school websites, sending information home, newsletters, workshops, and newspaper articles;
- design a parent–student–school staff compact that sets out respective responsibilities in striving to raise student achievement and explains how an effective home/school partnership will be developed and maintained;
- with the assistance of parents, ensure that teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, principals, and other staff are educated in the value of parents as partners in the educational process and understand how to work with, communicate with, and reach out to parents as equal partners in education;
- distribute to parents information on expected student proficiency levels for their child and the school’s academic performance, and provide materials and training to help parents monitor their child’s progress and work with educators to improve achievement through such methods as literacy training or using technology, which may include education about the harms of copyright piracy;
- coordinate and integrate, to the extent feasible and appropriate, parental involvement programs and activities with federal, state, and local programs, including public preschool programs, and conduct other activities in the community that encourage and support parents to more fully participate in the education of their child;
- strengthen the partnership with agencies, businesses, and programs that operate in the community, especially those with expertise in effectively engaging parents and family members in education;
- ensure that parents are involved in the school’s Title I activities; and
- provide such other reasonable support for Title I parental involvement activities as requested by parents.
H. Notice Requirements
School system officials and Title I school personnel shall provide effective notice of the following information as required by law. The notice must be in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand.
- Program for English Learners
Each year the principal or designee shall provide notice of the following to parents of English Learners identified for participation in Title I, Part A, or Title III funded language-instruction educational program:
- the reason for the child’s identification;
- the child's level of English proficiency and how such level was assessed;
- methods of instruction;
- how the program will help the child;
- the exit requirements for the program;
- if the child has a disability, how the language instruction educational program meets the objectives of the child individualized education program (IEP);
- any other information necessary to effectively inform the parent of the program and the parental rights regarding enrollment, removal, and selection of a program for English learners; and
- notice of regular meetings for the purpose of formulating and responding to recommendations from parents.
- System Report Card
Each year, school system officials shall disseminate to all parents, schools, and the public a school system report card containing information about the school system and each school, including, but not limited to:
- the following information both in the aggregate and disaggregated by category: student achievement, graduation rates, performance on other school quality and/or student success indicators, the progress of students toward meeting long-term goals established by the state, student performance on measures of school climate and safety, and, as available, the rate of enrollment in post-secondary education;
- the performance of the school system on academic assessments as compared to the state as a whole and the performance of each school on academic assessments as compared to the state and school system as a whole;
- the percentage and number of students who are:
- assessed using alternate assessments,
- involved in preschool and accelerated coursework programs, and
- English learners achieving proficiency;
- the per pupil expenditures of federal, state, and local funds; and
- teacher qualifications.
- Teacher Qualifications
- At the beginning of each year, school system officials shall notify parents of students who are participating in Title I programs of the right to request certain information on the professional qualifications of the student’s classroom teachers and paraprofessionals providing services to the child
- The principal or designee of a Title I school shall provide timely notice informing parents that their student has been assigned to or has been taught for at least four consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet applicable state certification or licensure requirements at the grade level or subject area in which the teacher has been assigned.
- Parental Rights and Opportunities for Involvement
- Each year, the principal or designee of a Title I school shall provide notice to parents of the school’s written parent and family engagement policy, parents’ right to be involved in their child’s school, and opportunities for parents and family members to be involved in the school.
- Each year, the principal or designee of a Title I school shall provide notice to parents of their right to request information regarding student participation in state-required assessments.
I. Website Distribution of Information
Each year, school system officials shall publicize on the school system website and, where practicable, on the website of each school:
- the report card described in H.2, above; and
- information on each assessment required by the state and notice of the right of parents to request information of each assessment required by the school system, organized by grade level. The information must include:
- the subject matter assessed;
- the purpose for which the assessment is designed and used;
- the source of the requirement for the assessment;
- if available, the amount of time students will spend taking the assessments and the schedule of the assessments; and
- if available, the time and format for distributing results.
The superintendent shall develop any administrative procedures necessary to implement the requirements of this policy.
Legal Reference: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; Strengthening and Improvement of Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, 20 U.S.C. 6319; G.S. 90-21.1, 115C-81(e1), -307(c)
Cross Reference: Student and Parent Grievance Procedure (policy 1740/4010), Curriculum Development (policy 3100), Performance Standards (all policies in the 3400 series), Evaluation of Student Progress (policy 3400), Class Rankings (policy 3450), Special Education Programs/Rights of Disabled Students (policy 3520), Comprehensive Health Education Program (policy 3540), Counseling Program (policy 3610), Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations (policy 3620), Student Insurance Program (policy 4220), Child Abuse - Reports and Investigations (policy 4240), Student Behavior Policies (all policies in the 4300 series), Student Records (policy 4700), Administering Medicines to Students (policy 6125)
Adopted: January 9, 2006
Revised: April 29, 2008, January 31, 2011, October 7, 2019