• Promote a partnership between parents/guardians and teachers to work together to increase student achievement and support learning within the home environment.
  • Define and develop a successful model for engaging parents/guardians in their child’s learning and involving families in their child’s school.
  • Seek clarity and consistency about how we partner with and communicate with middle school families through a variety of venues about their child’s progress and learning, resulting in increased student achievement.

Basis for Establishment:

  • Address the concerns and confusion expressed by numerous stakeholders related to student-led conferencing at the middle school level, the middle school early dismissal schedule in November for conferencing, and the variability of practices across our four middle schools.

Decision-Making Process:

  • Collect survey data from middle school Bellingham Education Association (BEA) members, administrators and middle school families.
  • Review survey data and research other forms of family engagement.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of aligning the middle school early dismissal schedule for the 2012-13 school year with the current high school monthly early dismissal schedule or with the elementary weekly early dismissal schedule, potentially allowing regular time for middle school staff to collaborate and communicate with families throughout the school year in a variety of ways.
  • Recommend models to the Superintendent for how we partner with and engage families, including a middle school early dismissal schedule for the 2012-13 school year that abides by contractual time requirements for individual planning time.
  • BEA middle school staff will vote through a follow-up staff survey to provide their preferences on parts of the model that may impact the work schedule/workload.
  • The Superintendent, based upon the committee’s work and input/preference feedback, will determine a middle school family engagement model, working jointly with BEA leadership on any components that may affect the work schedule/workload.

Plan of Work:

  • Nov. 7: Issue call for applications to middle school students, staff, administrators and families to serve on committee.
  • Noon, Nov. 14: Committee applications due.
  • Nov. 14-16: Committee chair and BEA president meet to review committee applications and recommend committee members to Superintendent.
  • Nov. 14: Begin survey of middle school families and middle school staff.
  • Nov. 28: Survey closes.
  • 1-3 p.m. Dec. 1, 8 and 15: Committee meets to review data, research other forms of family engagement, and collect follow-up feedback from staff regarding preferred models.
  • By Winter Break: Committee completes its work and recommendation to Superintendent.
  • January 2012: Superintendent gathers any additional input needed regarding recommendation and works closely with BEA leadership regarding any potential impacts to work schedule/workload.
  • January 2012: A decision is communicated with middle school staff and families.
  • February-June 2012: Middle school staff and administrators prepare and plan for the new family engagement model.
  • 2012-13 School Year: Implementation of the new model occurs.

Meeting Times/Dates and Minutes (to be posted following meeting dates):

Task Force Members:

  • The committee will consist of these regular members:
    • Deputy Superintendent Tom Venable, Chair
    • 1 Bellingham Education Association Representative from each middle school
    • 1 Middle School Teacher from each middle school
    • 2 Middle School Administrator Representatives
    • 1 Parent Representative from each middle school
    • 2 Middle School Student Representatives
  • The committee will consist of these ex-officio members:
    • Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Steve Clarke
    • Communications and Community Relations Director Tanya Rowe

Responsibilities of Committee Members:

  • Regular meeting attendance
  • Communicate the content of the meetings and gather input from school staff as requested by the Task Force
  • Respectful and collaborative interactions with committee members

Budget Implications:

  • Provide substitutes for staff as applicable.