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Setting the Goals: Step-by-Step Process

  1. All staff and identified stakeholders should review relevant information from your study. Provide adequate time and resources for reading, discussing, and reaching building consensus.
  2. Have teams work together to determine areas of need based on the study of your district/school profile.
  3. Prioritize goals that will be formally addressed in your district or building. Consider the importance of a PreK-12 connection in your school improvement efforts.
  4. Write goals that are specific, attainable, and measurable. Goals must be inclusive of all students.

Setting the Goals: Guiding Questions

  • What supports are needed to maintain current levels of success across buildings, grade levels, and classrooms? How often should areas of strength be monitored to insure maintaining present levels of success?
  • Will selected goals enhance academic learning for all students?
  • Do selected goals reflect the consensus of all staff in order to insure their implementation?
  • Are selected goals consistent across all levels and classes PreK-12 and adapted appropriately to reflect the level and ability of all students?
  • Do instructional strategies that are presently utilized engage students in learning?

Planning to Improve: Guiding Questions

  • Which instructional strategies will teachers utilize PreK-12? Why were these selected?
  • How will the implementation of these strategies look across all grade levels PreK-12?
  • How will you support teachers as they learn about and teach using research-based instructional strategies?
  • What materials or resources are needed to support this improvement goal?
  • What evidence or data should be kept by students, teachers, and administrators to show whether or not the implementation of selected instructional strategies is making a difference in the academic achievement of all students in your school?
  • Do selected goals include a plan for professional development that includes all staff – including administrators? Is there adequate time and are relevant resources available for learning about selected research-based instructional strategies?

Implementing the Plan: Step-by-Step Process

  1. Assign a leadership team that will be responsible to oversee data collection and analysis of this data.
  2. Provide time for staff to review data to determine if students are using the selected strategies effectively as tools for learning.
  3. Provide on-going professional development for all teachers as they implement selected instructional strategies. Be sure to include time to talk, observe each other, read together, journal, etc.
  4. Revise plan if necessary, and continue to monitor progress towards goals based on review of data.

Implementing the Plan: Guiding Questions

  • Are all teachers implementing the selected instructional strategies?
  • Is the implementation of your plan making a difference in student achievement? Does collected data reflect improved achievement for all students?
  • Are teachers knowledgeable and confident regarding the implementation of research-based instructional strategies in their classrooms?
  • Are students using instructional strategies at all age levels and in all classrooms as tools for learning?
  • Does your plan need to be revised based on data collected? How will the revision process work in your district or building? How will all staff be involved in the revision process?

Implementing the Plan: Guiding Questions

  • Did you record baselines?
  • How are progress and process toward family and community engagement documented?
  • How is progress shown or measured?
  • Which activities and strategies for family and community engagement worked well?
  • What unexpected outcomes occurred?
  • What adjustments or improvements need to be made to move forward and achieve goals?
  • As a result of this information, what are the next steps to take in the plan?

Planning to Improve: Step-by-Step Process

The following strategies have been proven to strengthen a school plan to enhance family and community engagement, to impact student success. Schools may choose one or two in each area.

Improve communication

  • Establish a welcoming environment for families
  • Improve and document mail, telephone, email contacts
  • Provide a hotline for homework or attendance
  • Create or have students create class or school newsletters which give tips for helping children learn at home

Improve families’ role in student learning

  • Send information home to guide family members, for example, on how to help with a research project or how to assist with spelling words
  • Plan homework that naturally lends itself to family engagement, such as a personal interview on a specific topic or discussing a writing assignment (be sure to give specific guidelines for each assignment)
  • Ask that a family member review the child’s work, when expectations have been clearly explained, so that they become familiar with the child’s skills
  • Provide opportunities for families to learn about study skills, new curriculum, or grading changes in brief workshops or interactive activities

Increase community resources to strengthen schools, families, and student learning

  • Recruit volunteers from service clubs or organizations using specific information about tasks needed and time required; show appreciation
  • Together with community partners, hold special family-focused events linked to school improvement goals, such as tech nights or health fairs
  • Provide local businesses or service organizations (or the newspaper) a statement from the superintendent regarding the importance of family members attending school conferences or thanking volunteers
  • Document community contacts in a central file, to facilitate updatd records, and to avoid multiple contacts from different staff


Planning to Improve: Guiding Questions


  • What types of professional development and outreach would foster collaboration among school staff, families, and community members?
    • To improve communication?
    • To increase families’ role in student learning (i.e., develop meaningful family-friendly, homework assignments)?

Ideas for Teacher Preparation in Family Involvement, click on teacher preparation and professional development


  • Based on your goal, who is responsible for each strategy?
  • When will it happen?
  • What methods or measures will help guide your activities and track progress?


  • Do you have what you need to complete your work? (human resources, materials, technology)
  • How will you address the gaps in resources? (think innovatively and creatively, tap new ideas and resources)


Setting the Goals: Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Review school practices related to family and community engagement with your school team, including family and community members. Use an assessment (National PTA assessment of standards is a recommended one) to evaluate current practice. A parent survey or parent focus groups will give direction as far as the needs of the families, (see tools.)

Step two: Apply the findings using the team’s discussion of the assessment results, together with the mission and goals of the school and the areas of student achievement that most need improvement, to determine:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How do we get there?

Step three: Develop (or review) a written family/community engagement policy stating the philosophy that partners will be included in children’s learning, as required in NCLB.

Step four: Develop a plan for implementation of activities that will increase children’s learning, by engaging families and community members as partners with the school.

  • Secure support from all stakeholders, distribute a draft and request response
  • Publish the plan, share in meetings or newsletter, provide staff development on how to implement
  • Continually evaluate and update for success

Setting the Goals: Guiding Questions

Strengths and Areas of Concern

  • What are the unique strengths of the community that influence student success?
  • What are the target areas of the school’s overall improvement goals and how can collaboration with families and community support those goals?

Priorities to Address

  • How can you address student needs through family and community collaboration?
  • What steps might be taken to prioritize the student needs?