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Tools for Schools

Family and Community Partnerships at All Levels of PBIS Implementation
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What are the Benefits of Family/Community Involvement at School?
-earn higher grades, have better test scores, pass their classes and more often graduate,
-attend school more regularly,
-have increased motivation, higher self-esteem, and better social skills,
-lower rates of suspension, decreased use of drugs and alcohol, and fewer instances of violent behavior,
-and are more likely to pursue post-secondary education or training.
-show improved communication/relations with their children and teachers,
-increased level of education and skills,
-have better self-esteem, and their decision-making skills become stronger,
-and their attitude toward school, and school personnel, improves.
-have greater morale and better self-esteem,
-increased teaching effectiveness and proficiency,
-improved communication/relations with students, parents, and families,
-their job satisfaction goes up,
-and community support of the school increases.

(Henderson & Mapp, 2002, A New Generation of Evidence; National PTA)

How can families become involved in a PBIS school?
There are many ways to involve families in PBIS schools at each tier.  For example:
  • Tier 1: provide PBIS information through open houses and brochures, inform all parents of school expectations so they can extend them into the home, and provide Saturday workshops for all families on various topics such as "Using PBIS at Home" or "Avoiding Homework Struggles";
  • Tier 2: help families that could use a little extra support to learn Tier 2 strategies at home (i.e., "how to disagree appropriately"), set-up daily progress reports, and/or increase home-school 2-way communication;
  • Tier 3: include family members in every step of the assessment and plan development process, work together to develop behavior support strategies that can be adapted at both home and school, work together to ensure parents understand PBIS and how to use it in the home.
In addition to ensuring families are "involved" at each level, family/school partnerships occur by including families on PBIS teams at the school and district levels.  The following are ways family members can participate on teams:
  • Universal -
  • Secondary -
  • Tertiary - 

One way to involve families at school is to invite them to join your PBIS and other leadership teams. Family/community membership on such teams makes the action planning more rich, representative and comprehensive.

Schools sometimes report having difficulty finding family members to join teams. Consider these tips for finding more families to participate in building and district-level decision-making:               

§  Rotate days of week/times of day for meetings

§  Invite family/community members to call into the meeting via speaker phone and/or conference call lines to eliminate travel time/child care etc.

§  Send meeting agendas to all participants ahead of time so family/community members can send ideas/actions by email before/after meeting even if they can’t participate

§  Use a google doc to capture on-going action plan to foster trust, transparency and notes that are always available/accessible to all

§  Make a list of parent/family members that could be challenging to have on your team….then invite THEM! These people are probably good at being heard and have opinions to be shared

§  Start every meeting with behavioral expectations for all to establish supportive and trusting meeting climate

§  Host a Family/Community Partner Network Meeting! (make this a link to other page)

10 Things Parents Wish Teachers Would Do

  1. Build students' self-esteem.
  2. Become familiar with each child's needs.
  3. Communicate honestly and openly with parents.
  4. Assign effective homework.
  5. Set reasonably high academic standards.
  6. Care about kids.
  7. Be fair.
  8. Enforce positive discipline.
  9. Use a variety of teaching methods.
  10. Encourage parental participation.

10 Things Teachers Wish Parents Would Do

  1. Be involved in your child's education.
  2. Provide resources at home for reading and learning.
  3. Set a good example.
  4. Encourage your children to do their best in school.
  5. Emphasize academics.
  6. Support school rules and goals.
  7. Use parental pressure positively.
  8. Be proactive.
  9. Accept parental responsibility.
  10. Inform school of situations that may affect school performance.

Resources - Links & Tools:

National Education Association (NEA) Supports Research on Importance of Parent Involvement for Academic Achievement

The school plays an important role in determining the levels of parental involvement in school. Specifically, schools can outline their expectations of parents and regularly communicate with parents about what children are learning. Also, schools can provide opportunities for parents to talk with school personnel about parents' role in their children's education through home visits, family nights, and well-planned parent-teacher conferences and open houses. In addition, the National PTA recommends that parent/family involvement programs welcome parents as volunteer partners in schools and that these programs invite parents to act as full partners in making school decisions that affect children and families.

When parents talk to their children about school, expect them to do well, make sure that out-of-school activities are constructive, and help them plan for college, their children perform better in school.

When schools engage families in ways that improve learning and support parent involvement at home and school, students make greater gains. When schools build partnerships with families that respond to parent concerns, honor their contributions, and share decision-making responsibilities, they are able to sustain connections that are aimed at improving student achievement.

Here are some related articles and research on parental involvement:

(NEA: National Education Association;

The link between families and positive behavioral interventions and supports is an important one.  When families are meaningfully involved in educational activities their children do better in schools.  Families play an important part in their child's education and social development. The presence of parents in schools not only provides additional academic supports but also creates community and cultural connections. In many schools, family participation in the school-wide positive behavior support process is growing. Family members are part of state, district, and school planning teams and participate in school-wide activities in a variety of ways. Family members participate in the assessment and problem solving process to create individualized positive behavior support plans for their children.
(OSEP National PBIS Technical Assistance Center on Effective Schoolwide Interventions; )