The Art of Welcoming All Families

Family School PartnershipsIf you were to paint a picture representing how you felt the first time you entered your child’s school building, what would it look like? Go ahead, take a minute to draw a picture of the feelings you had when you entered the building. We’re serious, go ahead and grab a crayon or marker from your kids’ excessive crayon collection or a trusty pen from that catch-all kitchen drawer.

  • Consider using colors that represent how you felt as you approached the front door. Include people you interacted with and when you’re done, write one sentence describing what your picture represents.
  • Take a photo and upload it to you favorite social media site like Twitter, Facebook or Instragram and use the hashtag #StartTheArts.

The National Standards for Family-School Partnerships provide a framework for strengthening family engagement programs to focus on what parents, schools and communities can do together to support student success. Welcoming All Families into the school community is the first of the six standards.

When schools are successful in meeting this standard, families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class. When families walk into the school building, they should feel it’s a place where they belong. Also, all of the school policies and programs should reflect, respect and value the diversity of the families in the community.

The arts — and the National PTA Reflections program, in particular — can be a valuable tool for building stronger partnerships in your school community and meeting the Standard for Welcoming All Families.

#StartTheArts with PTA Reflections and bring families together during National Arts in Education Week — the second full week in September. Learn more about PTA Start the Arts Week and use the Reflections Toolkit to get started today.

Read more to learn about each of the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships and the steps you can take with PTA Reflections to meet them. Also, consider enrolling in the National PTA School of Excellence program to gain new ways to engage all families in each of the standards. National PTA School of Excellence is a recognition program that supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students. Contact or call (800)307-4782 for more info.

First in a series of blog posts co-authored by National PTA’s Senior Manager of Family Engagement Sherri Wilson & Manager of Arts in Education Ethan Clark.

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