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Thursday, January 18th, 2018

PA PIRC offers a variety of short-term or comprehensive consulting on issues of Family and Community Engagement with Schools and Student Learning Practices.

Family Engagement Tool

The online Family Engagement Tool (FET) is used by state departments of education and schools to assist schools in developing their school improvement plan. For Title I Schools the tool helps meet the letter and the spirit of parent involvement as defined in Title I Section 1118 under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

By guiding a school-based team composed of the building administrator, teachers and parents through an inventory and self-assessment of parent involvement policies and practices, the FET leads to establishment of objectives for improvement that can become part of the school improvement plan.

Family engagement tool five step approach:
• Complete School Information Form
• Gather Key Documents
• Complete Policy Analysis
• Conduct School Community Survey
• Complete Needs Assessment and Plan

The time investment necessary to complete the five step process is approximately five-to-six hours. Wise Ways® is one of the many evidence-based resources available to the team while preparing and implementing its objectives. The external partners and state leaders are able to use the online system to view school activity by steps completed statewide, within regions, districts and/or by school.

School Community Index

The School Community Index (SCI) is a web-based survey completed by teachers and parents, and students when implemented in high schools. Every building project begins with a survey to “get the lay of the land.” Once the surveys are completed, the system generates rich reports with charts and graphs and guidance for analysis. The Index includes perception questions about the school climate, items about patterns of family life linked to school success, and items that gauge parent involvement in school activities.

Solid Foundation

The Solid Foundation process is designed to improve students' learning and school success by:
• Informing, equipping and empowering parents to enhance their children's learning at home.
• Supporting their children's learning at school.
• Improving their children's schools through participation.
• Making informed decisions about their children's learning and schooling.

The Solid Foundation model enables the school to put in place a first-class parental engagement program, with all the evidence-based components of a strong school community. Implementation occurs over a two-year period and upon completion the School Community Council (school team) continues to build upon this base of excellence for continuous improvement of the school community.

Solid Foundation is a parent engagement process within a web-based structure to assess, plan, implement and monitor parent involvement at the school level. It provides the School Improvement Team with a structured process that increases parent involvement. It provides meaningful parent engagement goals and activities that are linked to student achievement. It assists schools in meeting all parent involvement requirements of Title I and ESEA/NCLB.

External partners and school leaders may use the online system to monitor progress at individual schools.

National Network of Partnership Schools

The National Network of Partnerships Schools' (NNPS) family , school and community partnerships process invites schools, districts, states and organizations to join together and use research-based approaches to organize and sustain excellent programs of family and community involvement that will increase student success in school. NNPS work supports family involvement and community connections. NNPS was established at Johns Hopkins in 1996.

The NNPS process:
• Form school-based team(s) of family, school and community partners.
• Guide the development of goal-oriented action plans integrated with existing plans.
• Link the NNPS work with ESEA Title I requirements for parent involvement.
• Evaluate programs.
• Celebrate success.


Family Friendly Organization Welcoming Walk-Through

The “Family Friendly Walk Through” (FFWT) is a method for assessing how others see your school. The Tool assesses the areas of communication, information, participation and welcoming by gathering input through onsite observation and through feedback (via surveys) from parents and school staff. Using this tool will help school staff better understand how others perceive the school. An external team conducts a physical walk-through as well as reviews the school’s printed material and the school’s website, places a “shopper call,” and interviews the building administrator. Following the FFWT the external team presents findings and recommendations in a FFWT Report that is shared during a debriefing session.


Contact Us

For full topic details, fee estimates and scheduling options, please contact Wenda Deardorff at (717) 763-1661 x116 or