How Do Westampton Township Public Schools Engage Families with A Warm Welcome?

What this means: Families are active participants in the life of our school s and feel welcomed, valued and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class. Welcoming families is the beginning of our partnership between schools and families. This is the gateway to all other family engagement. When families feel welcome, valued and supported by our schools, they are more likely to work together with the school in supporting their child’s education. When schools welcome families, they have policies and practices in place to ensure all families are reached and welcomed. Families are honored and their culture is reflected in the learning activities of the school.

 Welcoming All Families

Universal Strategies (for all students and families)

All new families receive a warm welcome by school office staff and a “welcome packet”, including important school contact information and our school calendar.

Faculty and staff make positive, personal contacts with families of students in their classes.

At the start of the school year, our schools hold an open house, “Back to School Night,” where parents and guardians can meet teachers, tour the building and have the opportunity to meet other families.

Targeted Strategies (for some students and families)

New family orientations and tours are held throughout the school year to welcome the families of all new students, help them feel comfortable in the school and to share helpful information with them.

A translator may be made available in the school at the beginning and end of the school day to help greet families and to help with any issues or questions families may have.

Intensive Strategies (for a few students and families)

Schools partner with agencies serving homeless families or highly mobile families.

Staff and a community partners connect with homeless families  to welcome them to the school and assist them with filling out forms.

School staff members and partnering community agencies discuss barriers faced by the family and help link the family to service providers.

Resources: National Family Friendly Collaborative, www.education.ohio.gov

How Do Westampton Township Public Schools Partner with Families to Build Supportive Learning Environments?

What this means: Schools partner with their communities to assist families with maintaining school-focused, safe and supportive homes for children. School staff members understand and support Westampton families. Children raised in safe and supportive homes are better equipped for learning. All families can benefit from information and support for the realities of raising happy and healthy children. When educators understand the families in our schools, they are more empathetic and are better equipped to help children learn. Schools that partner with families and communities to strengthen families take the time to assess the needs of families and work to align community resources to meet those needs.

Creating Lasting Partnerships

Universal Strategies (for all students and families)

Schools present workshops on such topics as discipline, nutrition, family recreation or communication.

The school provides all families with a directory of community supports and services for families.

Targeted Strategies (for some students and families)

Schools provide families of gifted and special education students with workshops, support groups and other resources to increase their understanding and skills for supporting their child’s unique learning needs.

Teachers communicate closely with families to understand and respond to stressful events occurring in students’ lives such as divorce, death, change of employment, moving and the birth of a sibling.

Intensive Strategies (for a few students and families)

The school employs a school social worker who coordinates and links families to services such as safe and stable housing, health care, clothing assistance and nutrition programs.

 

 

Resources: Complementary Learning, Harvard Family Research Project Complementary learning is the idea that a systemic approach,  that intentionally integrates both school and non-school supports,  can better ensure that all children have the skills they need to succeed. www.hfrp.org/complementary-learning/overview

 

 

How Do Westampton Schools Partner with Families in the Military, National Guard and Reserves?

What this means: Military, National Guard and Reserve families have unique needs and strengths. Children of these families move between schools on a regular basis, facing the loss of friends, adjusting to new cities and bases, and changing schools. It is important that children of military families are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children and are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals.

According to The Council of State Governments’ Interstate Compact of Educational Opportunity for Military Children, the average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school, and most military children will have attended school in six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. Other families experience similar levels of mobility or higher, because of changes in life circumstances. The same practices that will benefit partnerships between schools and military families will often benefit students of other highly mobile families.

Welcoming Military Families

Our schools create a welcoming environment and sense of community for all military students and families.

We use involvement activities that engage one parent at home and deployed parents.

We have become familiar with the three phases of deployment (pre-deployment, deployment and reunion) and the unique issues of each phase for children and families.

Our schools act as quickly as possible to assess a student’s past course work and to place the student in similar courses to keep the student on track

We include highly mobile students in extracurricular activities.

 We collaborate with military bases to use available resources to strengthen school programs.

 We give families and students opportunities to talk about their concerns and questions about family and friends who are deployed.

Resources: The Council of State Governments.   www.csg.org/knowledgecenter/docs/ncic/ICEOMC-ProjectandIssueSummary.pdf

 

How Do Westampton Schools Partner with Families to Improve Education Transitions for Students?

What this means: Transitions are periods of time when a student is transitioning to a different school, a different level in their education, or between the school and the community. Transitions often mean new buildings, new teachers, new classmates and new expectations for students. Transitions are often challenging for students, school personnel and families. Our schools work together with families to provide structures and supports through these times, however, transitions can be positive experiences for students and families.

Unfortunately, research indicates that family involvement typically declines as children get older. Involving families and communities during transition periods can help develop relationships and lead to increased involvement following the transition period in the older grades (Norman, J.M., 1999). Involving families, communities and students in transition planning is particularly important for students with special needs. Student, family and community collaboration in transition planning has been linked to positive outcomes including our ultimate goal....increasing high school graduation rates.

Transitioning to Kindergarten

Before the school year begins, we invite Kindergarten families to visit  for the Kindergarten Kick-off where parents, guardians and teachers meet to discuss teacher expectations.

We provide information to parents and guardians on the transition to kindergarten, including kindergarten registration, health and nutrition information to ensure that children enter school healthy.

We strive to create strong relationships by partnering with our PTA, and with local parent organizations to inform new parents about how they can become involved in the new school.

We refer families of struggling students to community resources, such as counseling, if needed.

Transitioning to Middle School

Before the school year begins, we invite families of new students to visit the middle school.

We hold Back to School Night meetings between parents/guardians and teachers to discuss family, student and teacher expectations.

Before school begins we send out a schedule to each student, and refer to our student handbook located on  the school website which includes information about rules, policies and materials needed in the middle school.

 Middle school teachers collaborate with elementary teachers to prepare and disseminate a summer reading list for students and families.

We host a family PTA night where current family members, teachers, administrators meet families to discuss how to be involved in education at the middle school.

Refer families of struggling students to community resources such as counseling, if needed.

Before our middle school students leave for high school, we assist them in creating a schedule. 

We invite past graduates back, Team Mega,  to the school to discuss their experiences  and provide information to students and families regarding the skills that are necessary to succeed in high school.

 

Resources:  The Harvard Family Research Project,www.hfrp.org/publications-resources/browse-our-publications/the-transition-to-kindergarten-a-review-of-current-research-and-promising-practices-to-involve-families

 

 Where can I find district demographic data?


Here is the school report card web address.  The report has a section on our school ethnic and racial

breakdown.  https://education.state.nj.us/pr/    

 

Special Education information can be found on the NJ DOE site:

http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/info/spp/data/sppi1415/reports/Burlington/5720.pdf

 

In 2014 the NJ DOE began to disaggregate Special Education Data by race.

http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/data/2014.htm#class


What are the criteria for enrichment/honors placements?

 

HHS Enrichment Criteria:  In addition to qualitative requirements, a review of quantitative data is included in the criteria. Data utilized are scores from the:

·  MAP (Measure of Academic Progress),

·  New Jersey State Assessment (PARCC),

·  Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI),

·  Fox in the Box (Kindergarten),

·  End of year math assessment,

·  Running record data, and

·  Cumulative grades.

Cut scores are determined annually, and are based on the raw test data. All students who have the capability, motivation, or potential to accept the challenge of such a program will be provided the opportunity. Program eligibility is reviewed for all students annually.

 

WMS Honors Criteria: In addition to qualitative requirements, a review of quantitative data is included in the criteria. Data utilized are scores from the:

·  New Jersey State Assessments (PARCC),

·  Report card grades,

·  Final examination (end of year assessment) grades, and

·  CoGAT cognitive assessment scores.

Cut scores are determined annually, and are based on the raw test data. All students who have the capability, motivation, or potential to accept the challenge of such a program will be provided an opportunity to do so. As part of their school management plan, principals will review their local programs annually and refine them consistent with a goal of continuous improvement.


How is Westampton  Celebrating our School Community?

  • Students are our focus
  • New Student and Parent Orientation Programs occur at each school
  • Participation in NJ Network to Close the Achievement Gap provides us with workshops that share instructional strategies that are culturally responsive and have had proven results with increasing student learning gains.  
  • Differentiated instruction happens in our classrooms through the use of centers and is an ongoing district instructional initiative (K-8).
  • Professional Development workshops share instructional strategies that are culturally responsive and have had proven results with increasing student learning gains.
  • School  guided reading bookrooms and libraries contain a variety of diversified sets of literature.