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National PTA Urges Families to Forge School Partnerships to Support Students

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Parents are being asked to collaborate with educators to boost student achievement during the National PTA's annual Take Your Family to School Week.

PTAs across the nation will host a variety of activities to encourage parents to visit their children's schools this week. The AXA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the global financial management company AXA U.S., is sponsoring the weeklong initiative, which coincides with the day National PTA was founded—Feb. 17, 1897.

"Ongoing research shows that when families are engaged and families and schools work together, students attend school more often, earn higher grades, have better social skills, and show improved behavior," Otha Thornton, president of the Alexandria, Va.-based National PTA, said in a news release.

National PTA is highlighting the efforts of local PTAs, which this week are hosting information sessions for families covering topics ranging from bullying prevention to homework. Fifty local PTAs received $1,000 grants from AXA and National PTA to fund their family engagement activities this week. National PTA also created a digital toolkit on its website to help local PTAs plan and promote parent-engagement events.

So what should school staff and local PTA members consider as they tackle their family-engagement efforts? The National PTA offers some guidance in its deceptively simple National Standards for Family-School Partnerships:

  • Families should feel welcomed, valued, and connected to school staff and understand what students are learning.
  • Families and educators should develop meaningful, effective two-way communication about student learning.
  • Families and educators should collaboration on a regular basis to support student learning at home and school.
  • Families should advocate on behalf of all students to ensure they are treated fairly and have access to education.
  • Families and parents should be equal partners and share power to develop policies and programs.
  • Families and educators should seek opportunities to collaborate with community members to broaden students' educational experience and encourage civic participation.
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