Family and Community Engagement
The Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Team's goal is to expand efforts to help schools and the District better engage families in education. The FACE Team is committed to supporting parents and families by empowering them and giving them a voice and an opportunity to be engaged by:
- Breaking down the "silos" within the district, allowing for fuller exploration and integration of ideas;
- Promoting the engagement of parents, families, students, and representatives from within the community and beyond to improve children's academic development;
- Making stakeholders aware of the challenges our families face daily;
- Sharing what each office is doing to encourage stakeholders to engage parents;
- Providing examples of effective practices that engage parents and families;
- Disseminating materials that encourage family engagement; and
- Incorporating language in grants around engaging families in decision-making and in the planning of school improvement programs.
The FACE Team intends to inform, educate, and support training for parents in their school building and district-wide to enhance family engagement.
The FACE Team has devised several means by which they reach out to parents. Through a series of activities — targeted outreach calls, parent forums, Zoom meetings, webinars, emails, school/district websites, district social media accounts, Parent Workshops, Virtual Parent Learning Modules and PTA —the team hopes to reach parents and families. The FACE Team has become our way of communicating useful information to parents and parent groups.
- Parent and Family Engagement Policy
- Family ELA Night
- Family CPR Training
- Family Math Night
- Mount Vernon Basics
- My Brother's Keeper
- Parent Workshop Series
- Parent Liaisons
Adopted: July 12, 2006
Revised: March 2, 2011
Revised & Approved: September 15, 2020
The Mount Vernon Board of Education believes that positive parent and family engagement is essential to student achievement, and thus encourages such involvement in school educational planning and operations. The Mount Vernon Board of Education also believes that ongoing parental engagement is a responsibility that is shared by both the school and family during the entire period the child spends in school. Parent and family engagement may take place either in the classroom or during extra-curricular activities. However, the Board also encourages parent and family engagement at home (e.g., planned home reading time, informal learning activities, and/or homework "contracts" between parents and children). The Board directs the Superintendent of Schools to develop a home-school communications program to encourage all forms of parent and family engagement.
Title I Parent and Family Engagement Policy
Consistent with the parent and family engagement goals of Title I, Part A of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Board of Education charges the school district staff and parents with the development, implementation, and regular evaluation of a district-wide and individual school parent engagement program that encourages and support participation of parents and family members of students eligible for Title I services in all aspects their children’s education. Further, as further required by federal law, the Board of Education will ensure that all its schools receiving Title I, Part A funds develop and implement school-level parent and family engagement procedures.
This policy seeks to strengthen the partnership among parents/caregivers, the community, staff, schools, the Superintendent, and the Board by providing for parent and family involvement on multiple levels throughout the District. This partnership will be further strengthened by expanding learning opportunities that help individual parents support their children at home. Such learning opportunities shall be offered at, but not limited to the Mount Vernon City School District Parent Teacher Association Council, school-based and community-based parent/family engagement teams led by MVCSD Parent Liaisons, the Special Education Parent Advisory Council, the Bilingual & English as a New Language Parent Advisory Council (BEPAC), and other parent groups. This policy outlines areas in which parents (families) can participate in local school and district-wide matters and is supplemental to rights of parents guaranteed by Board of Education policy and state and federal laws.
This policy in no way eliminates an individual parent’s right to make his or her feelings known at any level in the District on any topic of concern, nor does it prevent the District from involving individual parents in appropriate situations.
The Mount Vernon Board of Education defines parent and family engagement as the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring-
- that parents and family members play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning.
- that parents and family members are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s learning.
- that parent and family members are full partners in their child’s education and are included as appropriate, in decision-making and on committees to assist in the education of their child.
- the carrying out of other activities, such as those described in ESSA Section 1116.
The federal definition of the term “parents” refers to a natural parent, legal guardian or other person in parental relation (such as grandparent or stepparent with whom the child lives, or a person who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare).
District and school-level Title I (ESSA) parent and family engagement programs, activities and procedures will provide full opportunities for participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, and parents of migratory children, including providing information and school reports required under the law in a format and, to the extent practicable in a language parents understand.
As further required by federal law, parents and family members of students eligible for Title I services will be provided an opportunity to participate in the development of the District’s Title I plan, and to submit comments regarding any aspect of the plan that is not satisfactory to them. Their comments will be forwarded with the plan to New York State Education Department. Additionally, parents and family members of students that attend a school that fails to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years and is identified as a school in need of improvement will be provided the opportunity to participate in the process of developing a school improvement plan.
Parent and Family Participation in Development of District-Wide Title I Plan
The Board, along with its Superintendent of Schools and other appropriate District staff will undertake the following actions to ensure parent and family involvement in the development of the District-wide parent and family engagement plan:
- Meetings and parent workshops will be held during flexible times and at accessible locations within the District to provide greater access.
- The District will communicate with its families/stakeholders via phone, written notices, mail, e-mail and/or by posting on the District’s website and/or social media periodically throughout the year.
- Parents and family members will be offered opportunities to participate in various committees at the schools and District-wide.
- The District shall work in partnership with the Mount Vernon PTA Council.
- Families will be surveyed at least yearly to determine the level of satisfaction with parent and family engagement activities.
- The District will develop both appropriate collaboration and roles with community-based organizations and businesses to support parent and family activities.
- The District will conduct the Annual District-wide Title I Parent Meeting.
Development of School-Level Parent and Family Engagement Plans
The Superintendent of Schools or other designated personnel will ensure that all District schools receiving federal financial assistance under the Title I, Part A, are provided technical assistance and all other support necessary to assist them in planning and implementing effective parent and family engagement programs and activities that improve student achievement and school performance. Individual schools are encouraged to develop and maintain programs and activities to meet the needs of their parents and families.
As appropriate, to meet individual local needs, the Superintendent of Schools or designated personnel will:
- Offer parent and family workshops on literacy and math strategies for parents.
- Invite parents and families to celebrations and family activities.
- Provide consistent and accurate translated documents.
- Offer workshops by ENL staff on how to support first and second language development in the home.
- Offer programs, activities, and procedures that will assist in training and supporting parents and families to increase engagement.
Each Title I school, in consultation with parents and family members of participating children, shall adopt the District-wide policy as its school level policy or develop its own school level policy in compliance with the requirements of ESSA.
Building Capacity for Parent and Family Engagement
To build parent capacity for strong parent and family engagement to improve their child’s academic achievement, the District and its Title I, Part A schools will, at minimum:
1) Assist parents in understanding such topics as the state’s academic content and student achievement standards, state and local academic assessments, Title I requirements, how to monitor their child’s progress and how to work with educators to improve the achievement of their child. To achieve this objective, the District and its Title I schools will:
- Offer parent and family workshops at both the school level and District-wide.
- Provide parents with a bi-annual progress report from their child’s Title I support teacher.
- When requested and/or if necessary, offer parent-teacher phone conferences in addition to regular parent-teacher conferences.
- Provide informational materials and/or resources to assist parents in playing a role in their child’s learning.
- Offer parents and family members training on how to access the parent portal, which allows them to view report cards in their native languages.
- Utilize the District’s website.
2) Provide materials and training to help parents and family members work to improve their child’s academic achievement. To achieve this objective, the District and/or its Title I schools will:
- Offer parent and family workshops at both the school level and District-wide.
- Assist parents and family members in supporting the instructional practices used in the schools at home, particularly in the areas of math and literacy.
- Forge community partnerships that will help support the school-home connection.
- Encourage parents and families to participate in library programs and to access books, articles, and other media to extend and enrich the District’s core curriculum in literacy as well as the other content areas including math, social studies, and science.
- Post resources on the District website and/or social media as well as disseminate resources to parents, families, school principals, and the Mount Vernon PTA Council/ Parent Teacher Associations/Parent Teacher Student Associations.
3) Educate teachers, Student Services personnel, principals, and other staff in understanding the value and utility of a parents’ contributions and on how to:
- Reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents and family members as equal partners.
- Implement and coordinate parent and family programs.
- Building relationships between parents/families and the schools.
- Encourage parents and families to utilize the public library system
To achieve this objective, the District and its Title I schools will work closely with parents and family members through a variety of means to provide support and assistance related to student academic/development progress.
4) Ensure that information related to school and parent-related programs, meetings, and other activities is sent to the parents and families of children participating in Title I programs in an understandable and uniform format, including alternative formats upon request, and to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand.
5) Provide such other reasonable support for parent and family engagement activities in accordance with this Policy as parents may request.
6) The District shall reserve one percent (1 %) of its of Title I allocation for the purpose of promoting parent and family engagement and shall distribute to Title I schools not less than ninety-five percent (95%) of the one percent (1%) reserved goes directly to the schools.
Coordination of Parent and Family Engagement Strategies
The District shall, to the extent feasible and appropriate, coordinate and integrate strategies adopted to comply with Title I, Part A parent and family engagement requirements with early childhood program(s) currently within the District. The District will coordinate and share early literacy practices with preschool partners such as, Head Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, Even Start, Parents as Teachers, Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, and/or State-operated preschool programs.
The District will do this by:
- offering parent workshops at the school level and District-wide on topics such as literacy and math based on community needs.
- offering family engagement workshops on child development, mental health care, and stress management; and/or
- building and strengthening relationships among early childhood program(s) within the District, parents, and the public library system.
Review of District-Wide Parent and Family Engagement Policy
The Board, along with its Superintendent of Schools and other appropriate staff, will conduct, with the involvement of parents and families, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of this Parent and Family Engagement Policy in improving the academic quality of Title I schools. This review shall include identifying barriers to greater participation by parents and families in activities under this policy, assessing the needs of parents and family members to assist in their child’s learning, and determining strategies that will support successful school and family interactions.
To facilitate this review, the District will annually monitor through surveys and feedback, parent and family participation at school events the effectiveness of the District’s Title I parent and family engagement policy. The survey shall be coordinated by the Office of School Improvement. The findings of the survey shall be reviewed and evaluated by the District and will be used to design evidence-based strategies for more effective parent and family engagement. Following the review, and if necessary, the policy shall be revised.
In English Language Arts (ELA) students learn to become effective readers and writers. Independent reading can transform students’ understanding of themselves and the world they live in. Family participation and group interaction puts a different curve on the learning experience making it fun with the added benefit of quality family time. ELA Family Night events were held to engage educators, parents and students in educational games and activities to support, motivate, encourage and enhance the overall learning experience.
The Family & Friends CPR Course teaches the lifesaving skills of adult, child and infant Hands-Only® CPR, AED and relief of choking in an adult, child and infant. Skills are taught virtually in a dynamic group environment by using the AHA’s research-proven practice-while-watching technique. Family & Friends CPR is for people who want to learn CPR but do not require a certification card in CPR for their job. This course is ideal for schools, community groups, new parents, grandparents, babysitters and others interested in learning how to save a life. This course is NOT suitable for healthcare professions. Cost: Offered at no charge. Online registration required seating is limited.
Based on the premise that kids learn best when schools and families partner together, around the common goal of educating our children, Family Math Night events were held to support these partnerships by providing ready-to-go Family Math Night kits that allowed parents and children to actively engage in fun, creative and unique standard based math activities. We believe that families communicating about math in a hands-on environment allows for deeper understanding of important concepts and contributes to more powerful learning experiences.
80% OF BRAIN DEVELOPMENT HAPPENS DURINGTHE FIRST THREE YEARS OF LIFE.
During these early years of brain growth, infants and toddlers absorb massive amounts of information from interacting with other people. This early learning becomes the foundation for all future learning.
The Mount Vernon Basics are five fun, simple and powerful ways to help all our children become the happiest and most successful they can be. Let's seize the opportunity!
Who Is Involved?
Everyone! Partners include hospitals, health centers, community centers, child care providers, churches, and others.
What If I'm Not a Parent?
Doesn't matter! We want everyone to know the Mount Vernon Basics. Learn so that you can help spread the word and encourage parents and caregivers of young children.
The Mount Vernon Basics Campaign is a coalition of individuals, organizations, and child care providers working to make sure that every child gets a great start in life. The campaign is an initiative of the Mount Vernon City School District. We welcome you to join us in our effort to support ALL the children of the City of Mount Vernon.
President Obama launched the My Brother's Keeper initiative during his administration to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.
Through this initiative, the Administration joined with cities and towns, businesses, and foundations who are taking important steps to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class.
Mount Vernon MBK Liaison
Email: Arthur Muhammad
Getting a Healthy Start and Entering School Ready to Learn
- All children should have a healthy start and enter school ready – cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally.
Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade
- All children should be reading at grade level by age 8 – the age at which reading to learn becomes essential.
Graduating from High School Ready for College and Career
- All youth should receive a quality high school education and graduate with the skills and tools needed to advance to postsecondary education or training.
Completing Postsecondary Education or Training
- Every American should have the option to attend postsecondary education and receive the education and training needed for the quality jobs of today and tomorrow.
Successfully Entering the Workforce
- Anyone who wants a job should be able to get a job that allows them to support themselves and their families.
Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances
- All youth and young adults should be safe from violent crime; and individuals who are confined should receive the education, training, and treatment they need for a second chance.
Ensure all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally ready.
In the City of Mount Vernon, 50% of children are low income or poor.
Kindergarteners are twice more likely to score proficient in early literacy assessments if they have participated in formal preschool education
- Increase the number of students evaluated as Pre-K ready.
- Increase the number of students evaluated for Early Intervention services, if necessary.
- Provide increased access and cultural awareness to all parents about available resources that support children’s social and emotional wellbeing.
- Increase responsiveness.
- Launch Mount Vernon Basics: ages 0-5.
- Partner with Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) - Home School Program.
- Enhance district’s Parent University with collaboration of community stakeholders by using evidence-based models.
- Implement full-day Pre-K available to all students.
- Increase prenatal and perinatal services.
- Enhance public awareness campaign on community values.
Ensure all children read at grade level by third grade.
Children who are able to read at or above grade level by 3rd grade are set on a path to greater academic success and positive outcomes.
Mount Vernon faces a challenge wherein, based on the NYS ELA exam grades 3-8, a significant number of students are reading below grade level.
- Increase percentage of students reading at or above grade level by grade three.
- Increase the number of students of color proficient in reading and math.
- Decrease chronic absenteeism.
- Eliminate out-of-school suspension.
- Increase recruitment of professional staff of color.
- Increase diversity across the district.
- Implement a family review process for teacher or service delivery.
- Identify and train men of color from community organizations to engage students individually and in group settings to provide guidance and support.
- Initiate a culturally relevant curriculum to be implemented in all classrooms.
- Implement the Big Reads Program community-wide to encourage the love of reading.
- Conduct trauma-informed and culturally responsive workshops to aid teachers and parents in handling at-risk and special needs students.
- Evaluate programs that help students realize their potential by building cultural awareness, self- esteem, and racial identity.
- Review state and local evaluation of all special education programs.
- Increase awareness for parents on the Special Education Regulations.
- Increase the ability of students to write creatively
Ensure all youth graduate from high school.
While it is important for us to recognize Mount Vernon’s success in increasing the graduation rates, it is critical to ensure that all youth graduate from high school. We must close the achievement and opportunity gaps to meet the demands of local and national employers.
- Increase high school graduation rate by 20% by the year 2020
- Reduce chronic absenteeism rate.
- Implement conflict resolution, meditation, and restorative justice programs in the high schools to reduce suspension, detention, and expulsion rates.
- Annually review the code of conduct for MVCSD and hold administrators responsible for implementation.
- Reduction of dropout rates.
- Increase community and student participation in curriculum selection and implementation.
- Provide interventions for students who exhibit attributes connected to underemployment.
- Ongoing progress monitoring of the Naviance Program.
- Increase student expectations in respect to their goals of graduation.
- Increase the availability of social and emotional support for students.
- Increase mutual respectability scale to improve safety.
- Develop sustained and direct mentoring relationships.
- Increase civic education and engagement as a condition of graduation.
- Maintain the momentum in turning around the lowest performing schools.
Ensure all youth complete post-secondary education or training.
Current trends indicate the United States will have a shortage of workers for jobs that require a college degree or higher.
Given the importance of a college education in today’s labor market, Mount Vernon residents must pursue and complete post-secondary education or job training at higher rates.
- Increase the number of students entering post-secondary school or vocational training.
- Reduce the number of students required to take remedial classes in college.
- Increase student ability to complete the college application process.
- Educate parents on their role in supporting the post-secondary application process.
- Enhance workshops on the college application process, beginning in 6th grade.
- Present a roadmap for all students on achieving graduation requirements and post-secondary training.
- Provide Implicit Bias training for all staff in the MVCSD.
- Implement a culturally responsive curriculum.
- Provide substance abuse treatment options.
- Evaluate data to assess students’ readiness for college and provide support.
- Continue monthly Youth Talk Series.
Ensure all youth out of school are employed.
The number of youth who are not in school or working has significant and long-lasting negative effects on the broader society.
Ensuring youth are gainfully employed decreases the likelihood of their involvement in the criminal justice system.
- Prepare all students to become self-sufficient, including students with special needs
- Increase job opportunities for youth who are eligible and interested in obtaining employment.
- Establish a partnership with the City of Mount Vernon to increase the number of youth training and job opportunities.
- Enhance the relationship between the City of Mount Vernon Youth Bureau and the business community.
- MBK will co-sponsor job fairs with Westchester County One Stop.
- Assess the number of training and job placements gained through the City of Mount Vernon and local businesses annually.
- Work with Westchester Putnam Workforce Development Board and One Stop to increase the number of students placed in apprenticeships and internships.
- Increase the number of entrepreneurship academies through the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau.
- Leverage non-profit provider occupational skills programs offered through Westhab, Westcop, and other non-profit organizations.
Ensure all youth remain safe from violent crime and have a second chance.
Boys and young men of color in Mount Vernon are more likely to be involved in violent crime as a victim, perpetrator, or witness than other groups. This results in a cascade of negative effects on their well-being and on the well-being of their families and community.
These disparities, both the impact and use of violence, present a clear challenge for Mount Vernon.
- Reduce the number of boys and young men of color who commit or are victims of violent crimes.
- Integrate positive youth development strategies to reduce violence
- Rate of youth suspended from school.
- Percentage of children with chronic absenteeism.
- Reduce the number of juvenile arrests and recidivism.
- Increase positive connections with trusted adults both in school and in the community.
- Promote positive alternatives to out-of-school suspensions by including restorative justice approaches.
- Build stronger community relationships with law enforcement to include police and probation departments.
- Increase parental supports and services including family counseling, behavioral management, and social and emotional support services.
- Expand the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau Step Up Program.
- Work with the city government to reestablish the presence of School Resource Officers (SROs) in the school buildings.
The PARENT WORKSHOP SERIES is designed to both educate and also inspire parents/guardians to more effectively support their children’s success in school. The workshops will be engaging, interactive and even hands-on motivational activities for students and parents. Each session can be targeted to a specific group of parents or offered to all parents and students via Zoom.
Cost: Offered at no charge. Online registration required seating is limited.
Pursuant to Education Law Section 3012-c, parents and legal guardians of students may request the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score for each of the teachers and for the principal of the school building to which their children are assigned for the current school year. The law does not allow and, in fact, prohibits the release of any additional information about the individual teacher beyond the final rating and composite score. The following shall govern the procedures for such access.
Pursuant to State law, the District shall provide conspicuous notice to parents/legal guardians of their right to obtain information regarding access to teacher and/or principal scores under the APPR and the methods by which the data can be obtained. Annual professional performance reviews of individual teachers and Principals shall not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law.
Only parents and legal guardians may have access to the final quality rating and composite score of the student’s teacher(s) and principal. The Mount Vernon City School District shall take reasonable steps to insure that the person requesting the information is a parent or legal guardian of the student to whom the teacher(s) or principal is assigned.
Requests for APPR final quality ratings and/or composite scores must be in writing on the form provided by the District. No oral requests will be honored. The School District will request additional verification such as licenses or other photo identification to verify that the person requesting the information is the parent or legal guardian of the student. In the case of legal guardians, the School District will require proof of guardianship (e.g. court orders, etc.). The status of the requesting person will be verified against other information concerning the student in the possession of the School District (e.g. information or documents submitted at the time of registration) and the requesting person will be notified once their request has been verified and approved.
The Parent Liaison will be responsible for engaging the parents/guardians in the school community by working with the Office of School Improvement, principals, school staff, PTA and community groups/agencies promoting their involvement and providing information and/or direction.
The Parent Liaison focuses on creating a welcoming environment for parents. This position reports to the Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement and works with the principal to identify parent and related/school community issues to see that they are addressed in a timely manner. The Parent Liaison assists parents in setting goals and educational development for their children. Also meets with principals or his/her designee(s) to develop and review work plans and assess the impact of the liaison’s work on student outcomes. Engagement of their parent/guardians will be the primary focus of the Parent Liaison.