Monday, December 9, 2013

PIC... What?

So I work in a Title I school, my first ever, and up until now that hasn't really changed anything for me. We are school-wide Title I so our funds go towards things for the entire school. We use them to pay teachers, buy technology, pay for tutors so our kids have free tutoring available to them... all kinds of great stuff. But honestly, I didn't know it was thanks to Title I. It was just great stuff that my great school does because it's so great.

Then we went through state monitoring. I was part of that committee, and it opened my eyes to oh-so-much! And now I've been asked to serve as the PIC. The what? PIC. Parental Involvement Coordinator. It's now my job to get middle school parents involved. I'm a little at a loss, to be honest. I'm determined to do it and make it work, but I'm struggling with where to start.

My thoughts are along the cheesy lines of "they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." I think our first order of business is building the teacher/parent relationship. Being a classroom teacher who has sat in on more than a few parent conferences, my take-away is the most asked question is "What do I do now? How do I help my kid?" Parents so often come to us having done all they know to do, and now they're looking to the teachers for help. We're the ones who know their children, and we're the ones who know what's "normal" for a kid that age. I think part of my focus this first year should be equipping teachers to be that bridge that parents so often ask them to be. I envision a parent resource library full of books to help with strong-willed, anxious, ADHD, disorganized, unmotivated students, and DVDs to help parents help their kids with algebra and science and literary terms. I envision a file box for each team of teachers full of short articles that can be handed to the parents during a meeting covering these topics, done in a gesture of "we're here to help, we're in this together." I envision a "cheat sheet" for teachers who are about to walk into a conference/phone call/email with an angry parent.

Then next year I want to start having Parent Workshops like "How to Help Your Child Be Succesful in School" where parents can come up to the school to learn about things like study skills, organization, communication, and how to check grades online.

But it's all kind of overwhelming. And I didn't get the enthusaistic support I was looking for today, so I guess I'm a little bummed out about it all...

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  1. Hi Ashley! I also work at a Title 1 middle school. We struggle with parent involvement. Our parents care and want the best for their kids. They just lack some of the time and money that other parents may have. May I offer a suggestion... some of our parents may not have DVD players or may have issues with electricity bills so think about clips that you could post to a school YouTube channel that could be accessed on a phone or library. I think you are on the right track! Good luck <3

  2. Hey Ashley,

    I also work in a Title 1 middle-school. We have something called parent academy. IT is basically a "school" for parents to learn how to better help their students. We provide a light meal, child-care, taxi cabs to the school, and translators for non-english speaking families. Families seem to really like it. You can find information at our schools website ( Maybe that will help you?

    I like your blog it is cute and I can't wait to see what you with it! I am a middle school math teacher so I will be popping in on you every now and then!

    Lessons With Coffee 

  3. Been there - in Title 1 school - and yes the money went to other things but in my case it did cove some of my education expenses if I stayed with them - which I did. 10 years later my expenses were paid off and I moved - to another Title 1 school - an all Black school which I didn't mind. I spent 15 years there and loved every minute of it. ::-)