PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships were groundbreaking when they were first debuted. That families should be included in the conversations around their children’s education sounds like common sense today, but 20 years ago, the idea that families and schools should work together for student success was a novel idea. Now, National PTA has released an update to the standards to incorporate new research, information, and best practices.
The updated standards still incorporate the six key standards:
- Welcome All Families
- Communicate Effectively
- Support Student Success
- Speak Up for Every Child
- Share Power
- Collaborate with Community
Where the standards have changed is in the language supporting these key indicators. The goals for each have been improved to reflect what has been learned since the last update in 2008. The indicators of how PTAs and schools are meeting those goals have been updated to reflect how families interact with schools, especially after the changes brought about by the pandemic.
The updated standards also broaden efforts to be inclusive both in language and culture, to remove economic barriers to participation in family engagement, to address equity issues, and to eliminate bias in family engagement approaches. The standards now also incorporate improving the capacity of administrators, teachers, and staff in supporting family engagement.
Engaging Your PTA with the Standards
When you visit National PTA’s page on the updated standards, towards the bottom of the page, you will find links to explore the standards. Click on one of the six icons for the standards, and you will be taken to a page that spells out the goals and indicators for that standard as well as relevant resources on policy, practice, and research supporting the standard that your PTA can use to help implement the standard at your school.
Not Just for PTAs
While the National Standards for Family-School Partnership have long guided local PTAs in family engagement—the standards form the backbone of the School of Excellence program—there is much less awareness of the standards among school personnel. In updating the standards, National PTA also worked to make them actionable for school, district, and state education leaders. To support that, National PTA created a rubric for school leaders to create a vision of family engagement and to assess their school’s or district’s progress towards meeting the goals of each standard.
Other resources directed at school administrators and teachers include:
- Strengthening Family-Teacher Partnerships: A Reference Guide for Educators
- Reflection Questions for Administrators (en español)
- Model School Board Policy (en español)
- Using the National Standards to Support LGBTQ+ Students (en español)
PTAs are encouraged to share these resources with their teachers, principals, superintendents, and school boards.