The ideas for articles in this Partners for Student Success series come from annual collections of Promising Partnership Practices by the National Network of Partnership Schools. Established by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, NNPS is dedicated to bringing together schools, districts, and states that are committed to developing and maintaining comprehensive programs of school-family-community partnerships.
"Based on more than a decade of research and the work of many educators, parents, students, and others, we know that it is possible for all elementary, middle, and high schools to develop and maintain strong programs of partnership," NNPS director Joyce L. Epstein told Education World.
NNPS provides a wide range of resources to help schools and school districts build strong partnerships. Click the links below to
Each FACT Night begins with a free meal made and served by faculty members. A committee that includes Hazuga
and the school's principal organizes the nights, and teachers volunteer to help with one event per year. Staff
members help out in lieu of parents so that they and their kids can spend the evening as a family. The meal is
designed to encourage parents to connect with their children. Door prizes are awarded as an incentive to attend.
"We send out two invitations for each FACT Night," said Hazuga. "The first is put in our bi-weekly school newsletter, and then another invitation is sent home with students a week before the FACT Night to encourage more families to sign up. The second invitation has become a very useful way to attract more families."
The event planners have found that separating the parents and students briefly allows the parents to concentrate on the information school representatives provide about their math or reading curriculum. The students move on to a fun activity or craft project while parents remain seated in the gymnasium after their meal.
"In the past, when we provided informational presentations for parents in another room, we struggled to get the parents to join us," reported Hazuga. "So instead of asking them to move, we came to them with the information. The presentations are kept very brief so parents don't feel overwhelmed with too much information. This change in the format worked well for us, and we want to continue with it."
Another component of the reading night was a "Used Book Give Away." The school collects used books throughout the year, and everyone who attends a reading-themed night can take two or three of those books to add to their home library.
Math nights have featured games that reinforce counting, pattern recognition, and money arithmetic, as well as math-related crafts.
FACT Nights are one component of Grant School's improvement-plan goals, and Hazuga says that the faculty has fully embraced and supported the program.
"Staff members must play a big role in these family nights," she added. "It takes a lot of work to provide a meal, which includes preparation and clean-up. Classroom teachers also provide items to display at each of the nights. The teachers are on hand to answer questions, make presentations, and run crafts and activities with the kids. It really takes the entire school to make these nights a success."