The purpose of a Parent Liaison Program is to establish more inclusive and culturally informed support networks for parents, encourage parent advocacy and promote parental involvement in their children’s education. This webpage was developed to provide an overview of the efforts to restructure the centralized district parent outreach programs to a school based program of family engagement.
Update: On April 11th 2o12, the School Board voted to support the proposal delineated in the Parent Outreach Board Proposal available in PDF above. The Board did not vote to consider Options 1 or 2 as presented in the proposal, but may do so at a later date.
The two year parent liaison pilot program directs BSEP Parent Outreach Funds to employ half time family engagement specialists at six of the District’s elementary schools (Emerson, Malcolm X, LeConte, John Muir, BAM, and Thousand Oaks). The primary program goals are to:
- Ensure schools are welcoming to all families,
- Provide targeted outreach to families of students who are not showing grade level proficiency, and
- Bring diverse parent voices into leadership roles at the school.
Development and Implementation of Parent Liaison Program
Several district initiatives highlighted the importance of fully engaging parents and families to support school success for all students.
- 2020 Vision identified development of a plan to place parent liaisons at every BUSD pre-school and elementary school as a strategy to create a system of meaningful family partnerships to promote student success.
- The Berkeley School Communications Study recommended the restructuring of the centralized district‐wide approach of family engagement to a school‐based model with Parent Liaisons assigned directly to individual school sites to work with parents and families, serving as liaisons between home and school.
- The Equity Rubric identified designated Parent Liaisons at school sites as an exemplary practice to engage families of diverse ethnic groups and communities as essential partners in supporting academic achievement for learners from all racial/culture groups.
Community Outreach on Parent Liaison Program
During the 2011-12 school year presentations on the proposed parent liaison model were be made to parent and community groups in order to:
- Provide history and rationale for moving from a centralized to a site based (school) model of parent outreach;
- Seek input and answer questions regarding the two Parent Liaison Models being considered for implementation;
- Document any concerns regarding the impact to services and programs that have been provided centrally;
- Gather parent feedback around the needs in the community as BUSD considers timelines for implementation, hiring of staff and other services to be provided.
What does the research say about parent liaisons?
Program evaluations of liaison programs have reported positive results for students, including improved educational outcomes (Vulliamy & Webb, 2003) as well as: Reduced dropout rates among Latino adolescents (Phelan and Gibson, 1986); Increase both the involvement of families with limited English proficiency (Aparicio-Clark and Dorris, 2006) and those with special needs (Smiley and Abbott, 2006).
According to the United States Department of Education, parent liaisons can be a key component of school reform efforts by:
- Obtaining information about the range of programs, services, and resources available nationally and locally for parents and school personnel who work with parents;
- Helping parents use technology applied in their children’s education.
Additional research offers that:
- Liaisons should have an explicit and understood role as cultural brokers who minimize the influence of class and culture on home-school relationships while remaining institutional agents, promoting school initiatives/programs, and making schools open and accessible to all (Martinez-Cosio & Martinez Iannacone, 2007).
- Liaisons should target their efforts to the families of specific student groups in need of academic, behavioral, and emotional support (Mavis, 2008).
What would be the primary tasks of the Parent Liaisons?
- Work with school site staff to identify students not succeeding academically; engagement of their parents/guardians will be the primary focus of the Parent Liaison.
- Interview parents of identified students to determine how to best support each family to help their children succeed.
- Demonstrate the role parents can play at each grade level to support their children in the elementary curriculum for English Language Arts (Teacher College Reading and Writing Project) and using strategies at home to support the Everyday Math curriculum.
- Offer services to parents if student behavior or attendance is impeding student progress.
- Work with teachers to monitor the progress of focus students and communicate this to parents.
- Establish on-going communication with parents of focus students through home visits, phone calls, email, etc.
- Participate in RTI/ULSS, SST, and IEP meetings, as needed.
- Host parent forums on topics that enhance parents’ ability to support their children academically.
- Serve as a member of the school’s leadership team to represent the parent perspective.
- Establish an office and/or parent room at the school where parents can access the liaison and resources.
- Meet regularly with principal to develop and review work plan and assess the impact of the liaison’s work on student outcomes.
How will the Parent Liaison Program be coordinated?
- On-going professional development for parent liaisons on family engagement and leadership strategies, community building, and district and community resources to support work with families.
- The Program Supervisor will be responsible for coordinating district wide events and providing support for families to be engaged at the district level.
- The Program Supervisor will work with the site Principals to supervise the work of the parent liaisons.
- The Program Supervisor, the Specialist for Translation, and the Parent Liaisons will work collaboratively to support parent needs.
How will the Parent Liaison model be assessed?
- Identification of clear objectives, goals and indicators of success for the target population, such as, improved test scores, attendance, homework completion, and class participation, and reduced discipline referrals, all of which can be monitored at set intervals.
- The number of parent contacts, as recorded in logs of home visits, phone calls, parent meetings, and other interventions and services.
- Feedback regarding parent satisfaction, as noted in the annual survey.