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Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 04/05/2012

Fairfax school wins national family engagement award

A Fairfax County elementary school’s PTA has won a national 2012 parent engagement award for its programs that involve families of many different backgrounds and that provide services for different segments of the community.

Research has repeatedly found that students do better in school when their families are engaged in the life of the school. Programs that involve parents in student achievement, such as family nights on math or literacy and family workshops on planning for college, are thought to be especially helpful.

Mantua Elementary School, with about 900 students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, was cited by the National PTA for its human relations committee, which provides translators for publications that keep families informed about the school, as well as for a mentorship program, service projects for the elderly and needy families, and extracurricular activities for students.

PTAs that won merit awards were from the 23rd District School in Riverside, California; James G. Blaine Elementary in Chicago; Herberich Primary School in Copley-Fairlawn, Ohio; and Cache Elementary South in North Logan, Utah.

The awards recognize those PTAs across the country that have implemented the organization’s national standards for family-school partnerships.

Here are the PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships:

Standard 1: Welcoming all families into the school community—Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.

Standard 2: Communicating effectively—Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning.

Standard 3: Supporting student success—Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.

Standard 4: Speaking up for every child—Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.

Standard 5: Sharing power—Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs.

Standard 6: Collaborating with community—Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.

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