Title

Family Learning Partnerships: Learning Academies

First Presenter's Institution

Dalton State College

Second Presenter's Institution

N/A

Third Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fourth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fifth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Location

Session 9 (Verelst)

Strand #1

Family & Community

Relevance

This proposal relates directly to the "Home" strand of Family and Community. As this title implies, our Teacher Preparation Program is capitalizing on the partnerships we have with our community P-12 schools to work with entire families to promote strong parenting skills, open communication and academic support to some of our youngest at-risk learners.

Brief Program Description

In this presentation, participants will learn about Family Learning Partnerships that we call Learning Academies. These Learning Academies provide a wonderful opportunity for school system leaders, Teacher Preparation Program faculty members, teacher candidates, and area children and their entire families to work together to increase student achievement and family efficacy. Through a eight-week program, these target groups of Pre-K students and their families learn effective ways to bond, communicate and learn together. This program is funded by a state grant and provides free books and learning materials as well as an an opportunity for two fun and educational field trips for families.

Summary

It was evident to both Teacher Preparation Program faculty and P-12 administrators that the most efficient way to increase student achievement of our youngest learners was to capitalize on the existing partnership we had between our Teacher Preparation Program and our local P-12 school systems and use our combined resources to target not simply individual students, but entire families for greatest impact. By empowering the parents, we were able to increase the number of learning opportunities for these Pre-K students identified as at-risk by school faculty and administration. The program is funded by a large grant awarded to both the college and the local school system. The partnership between these two entities is what makes this initiative work so well. With a common goal of increased student success and combined resources, we are able to hold a total of eight learning sessions including two family field trips. A total of fifteen families are targeted, and our college School of Education faculty and teacher candidates lead the learning. During each session, faculty and candidates model learning tasks. This time is followed by opportunities for the parents to practice the activities with all their children. At the end of each session, each family is given materials to repeat similar activities at home and each child has the opportunity to choose two new books to add to his/her home library. Two sessions are reserved for related family field trips that continue the parent engagement and family learning experience.

Evidence

A picture vocabulary test is given at the beginning and end of each learning academy. This quantitative data is collected and analyzed. This data provides evidence of academic growth through participation in the program. Qualitative data from parent focus groups and teacher feedback also indicate growth in the areas of academic performance, particularly in the area of literacy, as well as motivation, and empowerment of the parents as partners in the learning process. This data will be shared with conference participants attending this session. This initiative is grounded in solid research. No Child Left Behind (2001) mandated that schools provide parents with the opportunity to become involved in the educational process of their child. A huge amount of research since that time has been done which supports the importance of the home/school connection in academic achievement, particularly at the elementary level. Blandin's (2017) literature review provided a plethora of support for the effectiveness of parent participation in the learning process "in reducing the academic achievement gap by identifying the inter-connectedness of [....] home and school" (p. 289). Through Learning Academies, parents are able to be an integral part of reducing this achievement gap for their own children.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Janet Johnson is currently serving as Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Professional Development Schools for Dalton State College. Her previous experience includes 25 years of elementary classroom teaching and eight additional years as an elementary interventionist and instructional coach.

Keyword Descriptors

partnerships, families, community, achievement, initiative, learning

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-11-2020 11:15 AM

End Date

3-11-2020 12:30 PM

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Mar 11th, 11:15 AM Mar 11th, 12:30 PM

Family Learning Partnerships: Learning Academies

Session 9 (Verelst)

In this presentation, participants will learn about Family Learning Partnerships that we call Learning Academies. These Learning Academies provide a wonderful opportunity for school system leaders, Teacher Preparation Program faculty members, teacher candidates, and area children and their entire families to work together to increase student achievement and family efficacy. Through a eight-week program, these target groups of Pre-K students and their families learn effective ways to bond, communicate and learn together. This program is funded by a state grant and provides free books and learning materials as well as an an opportunity for two fun and educational field trips for families.