Recommendation Three:

Structure the school/district calendar to allow for meaningful professional development activities embedded throughout the school year.



Role Group Strategies:

Promote awareness of the importance of professional development opportunities for teachers.

Helping Every Student Succeed: Schools and Communities Working Together
Study Circles Resources Center (2002).
This tool explains how study circles engage community members in school improvement efforts and provides the discussion materials necessary for a series of four study groups. Group discussions begin with consideration of what each participant considers a “good education” and progresses to deciding upon specific actions for change.

Teachers Take Charge of Their Learning: Transforming Professional Development for Student Success
NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education. (1996).  Washington, DC.
This extensive guide identifies ways in which schools and districts can provide time and funding for professional development, ways in which teachers can accept responsibility for their own learning, and ways that the community at large can support professional learning.

What’s Going on in My Child’s School?: A Parent’s Guide to Good Schools
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. (2000)
The schools that our children attend today look significantly different than the schools of previous generations.  Often, this difference can cause concern in parents who are unfamiliar with the nature of today’s schools.  This resource provided by SEDL is designed to introduce parents to best practices in education today.  It outlines effective instructional practice and details the kinds of professional development that teachers must engage in to increase their instructional capacity.

Professional Development: A Primer for Parents and Community Members
The Finance Project and the Public Education Network
This primer explains the basic concepts behind professional development for teachers, describes characteristics of high-quality programs, and outlines the role parents and community members can play in ensuring high-quality professional development.

Volunteer to go on field trips, work as non-certified personnel in the school, or provide monitored student enrichment programs to free up teacher time.

Get Parents Involved: When Mom and Dad Come to Class, Kids Do Better
Seville, Michael. (2005). Edutopia.
This article describes a program at Christa McAuliffe Elementary, a public school in Silicon Valley, which requires parents to become involved in the school as volunteers. Parents lead lessons based on their personal expertise, act as chaperones on field trips, or provide administrative or technological support after the school day. They also attend a training program that helps parents make active contributions to their children’s schooling.

Grandparents Helping in the Classroom
Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 2006
In this editorial, the Christian Science Monitor reports the mutual benefits experienced by seniors and students when older Americans volunteer in the classroom. Since there will be a dramatic increase in the number of Americans over the age of 65 in the next 15 years, the potential impact of this group is great. The article reports on a recent study of volunteers from Experience Corp in Baltimore and discusses the cost effectiveness of such a program.

Making Time for Adult Learning
Pardini, P. (Spring 1999) Journal of Staff Development
This article highlights different methods used by eight schools across the country to create time for teacher collaboration. Strategies include early release, involving students in community service projects, allowing paraprofessionals to cover classes for a limited period of time, and reassessing how faculty meeting time is currently used. The author provides contact information for each of the profiled schools.

Communities in Schools Volunteer Page
This site gives contact addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for all Communities in Schools (CIS) network offices in North Carolina.  CIS encourages community members to become involved in schools through mentoring, helping with after-school programs, bringing health specialists into schools, and teaching job skills.

Community Partnership Resource Page
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
This webpage provides a variety of resources from the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) on school and community partnerships.  It includes articles describing programs in specific school districts and research on the importance of community involvement in general.

North Carolina Public Schools Volunteer Page
NC Public Schools lists a variety of organizations across the state that can help community members become involved in education.

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