2016-17 District Home and School Committee Initiatives
- Offer diversity training to Committee members that can then facilitate further training with building Home and School officers
- Offer two Home and School Summits offering professional development for Home and School officers
2016-17 District Home and School Committee Meeting Dates
- September 26, 2016
- October 24, 2016
- November 28, 2016
- January 9, 2017
- February 27, 2017
- March 27, 2017
- April 24, 2017
- May 8, 2017
2016-17 Home and School Summit Dates
- January 30, 2017
- May 22, 2017
History of Parent Involvement Committee
In 1985, former Governor Richard Thornburgh launched a parent involvement effort asking each school district in Pennsylvania to take a serious look at how parents could become more a part of the educational process. At that same time, literature began to support the correlation between involved parents and improved academic achievement, overall success in school, attitude toward school, and improved self-esteem. The combination of these two factors motivated the Upper Darby School District to take a closer look at a structure that would promote parent involvement in terms of “parent-student” as opposed to and in addition to the traditional “parent-school” type of involvement.
The Parent Involvement Program Committee (PIP) was formed in 1986 with one major goal: to stimulate parent interest and involvement in working with their children as they progress through their educational programs. It was conceptualized using a project/program-oriented approach that would provide a variety of outlets to stimulate, motivate, guide, and encourage direct and indirect participation in that process.
To form the committee, each building principal was asked to recommend and recruit a parent to serve from that body of parents who already exemplified the goal of the committee. An organizational meeting of the group, which outlined the nature and purpose of the project, followed. Upon agreement to serve, the committee was publicly introduced to the community via the Spotlight, the school district’s community newsletter.
The PIP Committee operated continuously since its formation. Each year, the building principals of each of the 14 Upper Darby schools choose at least one parent representative who has expressed an interest and commits to serving on the PIP Committee for that school year. The group met monthly to discuss and plan projects and programs that would meet its goal. Many of the initiatives of the committee developed into annual commitments, while others were offered on a one-time basis. All initiatives were created, developed, and implemented by the committee members and the district’s public information coordinator, who served as the PIP chairperson, and its superintendent of schools.
The projects and programs of the PIP Committee involved a variety of communication strategies. These initiatives took the form of printed materials (i.e. reference guides and brochures), programs conducted by parents and directed toward parents, recognition awards involving presentations, and sponsored programs that promote a community service component. Each program, as it was developed, was critiqued by building principals in order to obtain feedback. After final input was gathered the project was set in motion, accompanied by both internal and external publicity.
Evaluation of each program or project was done on an annual basis via feedback from committee members. Each year, time was spent discussing the utility of each initiative, along with its perceived value, based on the views of the PIP Committee members. PIP members were encouraged to consult with the building administrators and the respective boards of their home and school associations for input, as well. Based on this feedback a decision to repeat, modify, or discontinue any of the year’s initiatives was made by a consensus of the committee.
In the 2013-14 school year, the PIP Committee transitioned into the District Home and School Committee. The District Home and School Committee, while following the same guiding principles of parent involvement as the PIP Committee, will focus on unifying our different schools' Home and School Associations, promoting a collaborative effort to best serve all of our school communities.
Purpose of Parent Involvement Committee
The purpose of the PIP Committe was to stimulate and promote parental interest and involvement in the education of their children. The Upper Darby School District is a diverse community representing a cross section of every socio-economic stratum. It is a highly residential community of 85,000 people with nearly 12,000 students attending the school system. Family structures represent a variety of combinations including two parent families, single parent families, and extended family groups. As a result quality time is at a minimum and a premium, and programs geared toward stimulating activity within the family unit are a necessity.
An important role of the PIP member was that of “key communicator.” Each of the 14 schools in the district had a PIP representative who could bring concerns and questions from the home and school to the attention of the district-wide committee, the district administration, and the school board. PIP members attended their home and school meetings in order to keep parents aware of PIP activities and other happenings in the district. In addition to presenting monthly reports to home and school members, PIP representatives communicated regularly with their principals about committee projects.
The Parent Involvement Program Committee also functioned as a volunteer arm of the Upper Darby School District’s public information office. By assisting in the distribution of publications and the communication of ideas, PIP parents took an active role in keeping fellow parents informed.
The District Home and School Committee will continue to function with the goal of effective communication in mind. District Home and School Committee members will be active in both the district-level committee and their building's Home and School Associations. In addition, the District Home and School Committee will facilitate professional development opportunities for parents serving as officers for their schools' Home and School Associations.
Structure of Parent Involvement Committee
The PIP Committee consisted of at least 14 parents, a school board member, and the public information coordinator of the Upper Darby School District, who served as chairperson. Each school had a parent representative recommended by his/her child’s building principal, based on a letter of interest submitted by the parent.
The District Home and School Association will consist of 2 parents representing each school in the district. The committee will be chaired by Dana Spino, Manager of Media Services. The superintendent of schools is an active participant in the District Home and School Committee.
The PIP Committee met monthly throughout the school year (except December). The meetings lasted approximately 1 ½ hours and were devoted to revising on-going projects/programs, planning for on-going projects/programs, and developing new initiatives. The PIP Committee usually met in the Board Room at the Upper Darby High School.
Project development occured from the grass roots level. PIP Committee members brought ideas to the floor where they were discussed. If the committee decided to pursue the project, a sub-committee was formed. This sub-committee reported back at the next PIP meeting where additional feedback attempted to further define the project. Once a final decision was made on the details of the project and its implementation, each representative discussed the new endeavor with his/her building principal and home and school association. After further discussion and additional revisions, based on feedback received from principals and home and school officials, the project was implemented along with appropriate publicity.
Annually, the committee attempted to create one or two initiatives that kept with its stated purpose. It also served as a support group and as a key communicator group for other district projects, and was utilized by the superintendent of schools from time to time as the need arose.
The District Home and School Committee will follow a monthly agenda that includes a report from the superintendent on district initiatives, an opportunity for discussion regarding district issues or building-specific issues, and a working session for the Committee's initiatives. The Committee will be organizing two Home and School Summits in 2014-15, offering professional development for officers of building Home and School Associations.
Upper Darby School District Blood Donor Drive
While not directed toward parent involvement in the educational program, this bi-annual service project promoted the idea of community. Parental participation provided a model of community service for students to follow. The blood donor drive effort of the PIP Committee made a dramatic difference in annual collection rates.
Student Administration Day
Each year, top academic high school students are selected by the high school administration to be assigned to each district and high school administrator for a day. In each of the elementary and middle schools, students are chosen to spend the day with that building’s administrators. This program provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of various educational administrative careers and for parents to be recognized for their contributions to their children’s academic successes.