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What I am Thinking About as I Head to Austin and the National PTA Convention

By June 17, 2014 March 31st, 2020 No Comments

By the time this blog is posted, I will either by on my way or already in Austin for the National PTA Convention. What an extreme honor it is to be invited as a general session speaker. I look forward to meeting as many people as possible in my short visit to Austin.

The general session for the Convention starts on Friday, June 20 at 8:30 a.m. at the Austin Convention Center. After the session, I will be conducting a question and answer session from 12:20 to 12:40 on the Demo Stage in the Exhibit Hall. Even though the official Q and A is only 20 minutes, I will be happy to stick around and talk with as many people as possible.

The National PTA continues to be a leader in supporting student learning through family engagement. Their efforts over the years have produced a national set of standards that can be implemented in any school, anywhere. The PTA has always understood a critical point: family engagement is most effective when it can support and improve student learning.

You can stop five different people and most of the time you can get five different definitions of what family engagement is. Is it volunteerism? Absolutely. Is it fund-raising to support much needed equipment and supplies in schools? Yes. Is it organizing support programs for families and recognitions for the hard work of teachers? No question. In some respects, the differences in what family engagement is has led to confusion over why it is a critical component in schools.

The National PTA, through their Standards, have charted a direction that encompasses all of these things, but keeps in focus the important link between families and learning in school. The degree to which family engagement policy and practices leverages the efficacy of families to engage in their children’s learning will bring about the best outcomes for students.

The National PTA also understands another very important concept, that being, process. Family engagement is not a string of strategies to be deployed without a framework. Any organizational development specialist will remind us that strategies without process are, at best, temporary and sporadic. The PTA Standards and their focus on meaningful family engagement support the idea that as important as strategies are to family engagement, they are largely temporary and ineffective without a developed framework and plan for process performance.

PTA Members everywhere should be proud of their work and continue to pursue every avenue available to engage every family in the academic lives of their children.

Every Child: One Voice

See you in Austin!

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