Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56100 Effective school and district leadership makes a positive difference in student achievement. If there is to be effective leadership in a learner-centered education system, there can be no ambiguity about who is responsible for what. Leaders must have authority commensurate with their responsibilities. 101 In a transformed system of education, the state has an important role to play. It must define the goals for the entire system, provide the technical assistance necessary, and hold districts accountable for meeting those goals. The state must also create polices that ensure the equitable distribution of human and financial resources to guarantee that all students have the opportunity to meet the goals set by the state. INVOLVE STUDENTS & PARENTS Note: The term “parent” is used in this document to represent the adults in a child’s life who support a child throughout his or her education. GUIDING PRINCIPLES » If the system of education is to be successful, every aspect of the system must function in tandem with all the other parts. When any one of the system parts is missing or out of sync, the entire system falters. When educational systems are able to engage all the elements that affect student outcomes – including families – they will provide greater support to all students. » The following characteristics should be a part of every transformation effort: (1) relationships among family, community members, and school staff that foster trust and collaboration; (2) recognition of families’needs, class, and cultural differences that encourage greater understanding and respect among all involved; (3) involvement of all stakeholders in shared partnerships and mutual responsibility that support student learning. Student voice is essential to the redesign of schools. Schools must become places where all students will thrive. » Families, schools, programs, neighborhoods, communities, and virtual spaces where our children and youth live and learn have tremendous potential to address the challenges that young people face while also nurturing in them key character strengths that are foundational for success in life. Therefore we must be intentional and purposeful about how we weave these components into a system of support for all children. Key Issue 1 Researchers have evidence for the positive effects of parent involvement on children, families, and school when schools and parents continuously support and encourage the children’s learning and development (Eccles & Harold, 1993; Illinois State Board of Education, 1993). According to Henderson and Berla (1994), “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student’s family is able to: (1) create a home environment that encourages learning; (2) express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers; and (3) become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community (p. 160) Parent involvement in activities that are effectively planned and well implemented result in substantial benefits to children, parents, educators, and the school. Recommendations 102 Create structures, policy, leadership, procedures, processes and aligned resources that encourage and sustain family involvement in the district’s school(s.) 103 Promote an understanding of the effect that beliefs, self-efficacy, and mindsets have on parents’support of their children’s education. 104 Create in each community a mechanism and structure to care for and support children in the community. Community services, supports, and the education system should be seamlessly connected so that parents and children can easily access the supports and services they need. 105 Give parents opportunities, choices, and the information needed to make those choices in order to help the schools make their children self-directed life-long learners. 106 Make sure the community works with all families from the birth of each child in order to communicate the importance of the family role in producing literate children by grade three. 107 Give parents opportunities for continuing education so that they access the tools required for their children to reach high expectations and understand the role of effort in producing well educated students. In this way, parents are models of life-long learning. 108 Prepare school staff and families to support learning and participate in family-school partnerships that encourage meaningful engagement and the development of caring relationships. 109 Student voices must be a central element of the redesign process. Students must be given some of the responsibility to create the change needed. 110 Students should be given a voice in determining the pathway to learn a body of knowledge and skill and/or the way they demonstrate that knowledge and those skills. 111 Students should have a key role in monitoring and communicating their progress in learning. 112 Highlight families’strengths, even amid challenges, when adopting and designing approaches to support students. RECOMMENDATIONS | 48