April 22, 2014
The OCDEL Family Engagement Pilot Project eNews

Keeping you up-to-date with what's happening with the OCDEL Family Engagement Pilot Project--upcoming opportunities, accomplishments, and resources you can use! 

Opportunity for You!
Webinars: Using the Early Learning GPS with Families
The Early Learning GPS be used by a parent individually, but can also open the door for conversation for professionals working with families of young children. You can use the GPS one-on-one with a family member, or in parent training and group settings.
Attend a webinar to explore ways that you can use this tool to start meaningful conversations with families about choosing quality early learning. You can also provide feedback on tools that can be provided to help you use the GPS with families and to educate the community about the importance of access to quality early education.
Sign up for free webinars to learn more (one PQAS/Act 48 credit available):
Can't make the webinar on these dates? Check out the 10 minute introduction video or the 30 minute recorded webinar.
Of Interest   
Online Discussion Board Explores Transition

Harvard Family Research Project, in partnership with Shannon Wanless, of the SEED Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, invites participants to visit a new online discussion board, Let's Talk Transition! Family Engagement During the Transition to School
The board will provide educators and administrators who serve children of transition age (ages 4-6) a platform through which they can locate, react to, and share relevant resources as they work to improve the transition to school for children and their families. 
Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships

A new resources has been released from SEDL and the U.S. Department of Education. Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships is a new family and community engagement resource for educators.

Written by family and community engagement experts Karen L. Mapp and Paul J. Kuttner, Partners in Education addresses an important challenge for educators: principals and teachers report that they value relationships with families, yet they receive little training for engaging families and say that they feel underprepared to develop these partnerships. Mapp and Kuttner outline a framework that focuses on helping both educators and family members develop the necessary skills, knowledge, confidence, and belief systems-the collective capacity-to sustain these important home-school relationships.

The U.S. Department of Education's Dual Capacity-Building Framework is intended to serve as a scaffold for educators and policy makers planning new engagement initiatives and as a tool for facilitating dialogue among the varied stakeholders involved in these efforts. The framework
  • Outlines the challenges that stakeholders must address to cultivate effective home-school partnerships;
  • Explains the conditions that are integral to the success of family-school partnership initiatives and interventions;
  • Identifies the desired intermediate capacity goals that should be the focus of family engagement policies and programs at the federal, state, and local level; and
  • Describes the capacity-building outcomes for school and program staff as well as for families.
The publication also includes three case studies, featuring a school, a district, and a county whose efforts to develop capacity around effective family-school partnerships embody the Dual Capacity-Building Framework.

Download this free publication and learn more about other family and community engagement resources.
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Family Engagement Webinar

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics recorded a webinar on family engagement. The webinar featured two nationally-known speakers and a local parent leader:  Maria Paredes, Senior Program Associate at WestEd, Aurelio Montemayor, Senior Education Associate Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) and Lourdes Flores, parent leader in IDRA. 
The webinar served as a tool that encourages strong engagement between families and their children's schools. Listen to the webinar and view the powerpoint presentation.



Sign-Up Genius -  A Helpful Parent Volunteer Tool

 A new free online tool can help with outreach and organizing family volunteers. Sign Up Genius helps you build your free sign up, invites your group members, allows them sign up online, then sends reminder emails. The free versions includes 14 options, including a simple Wizard for building sign ups; 456 visual themes to choose from; Automated email & text reminders; and more! 


Resources to Support Family Engagement and School Readiness


The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE) has a new Family Engagement and School Readiness Series for 2014. This series will explore family engagement as a foundation for school readiness. Community partners,including the OCDEL Family Engagement Pilots, can use these resources in trainings, staff meetings, coaching, and work with families.

School readiness is a shared responsibility between staff and families. It is rooted in family well-being and strong parent-child relationships. Family engagement promotes ongoing learning and development for children and families. When family engagement activities are systemic and integrated across programs, families are more engaged. This leads to children's healthy development and school readiness. 


Research to Practice Series: Family Engagement and School Readiness: Parents and families guide and participate in the everyday learning of their children at home, in programs, and in their communities. Find research and best practices that show how important families are in supporting children's learning and development. Use this resource to inform training, coaching, and reflective practice and supervision.

The Foundations for Life and School Readiness Begin in Infancy: Parents and caregivers have a major impact on a child's learning. Watch this webcast from the 17th Annual Birth to Three Institute to learn more about the connection between early experiences in infancy and school readiness. Programs can use this resource for training and staff meeting discussions.


Best Practices in Family and Community Engagement Video Series: Engaging Fathers: Watch this video to learn about strategies and practices to engage fathers and support school readiness. It includes examples of strong program leadership, a welcoming environment, and a commitment to family partnerships. A facilitators' guide suggests ways to use the video and guiding questions for professional development. The video and guides are available in English and Spanish.

Family Engagement and School Readiness Resources on ECLKC: Visit the new NCPFCE Family Engagement and School Readiness page on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) for additional tools and resources.


From Our Pilot Partners

Early Learning Celebration a Success in Butler County

Over 325 people attended a recent event held in Butler County to celebrate the 2014 National Week of the Young Child. The event promoted that "Early Years are Learning Years".
Families were invited to attend both a morning and afternoon session, which offered learning activities tied to the book Stripes of All Types by author Susan Stockdale, which is the 2014 PA One Book, Every Young Child selection, as part of a statewide literacy campaign. Each family received a copy of the book, along with information about the importance of early literacy...read more!

Questions about the OCDEL Family Engagement Pilot Project? Contact us!
Sarah Holland at saholland@pa.gov
 or 717.787.8691
Christine Behm at cbehm@pa.gov
or 717.214.5704
Mary Hall at marhal@berksiu.org
or 717.213.2077