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How do I start using standards?
What are the challenges I will face?
How do I assess students' progress?
How does technology complement this approach?
How do I introduce standards to the parents and community?

How do I introduce standards to the parents and community?

The question should really be "When?" And the answer is -- as soon as you think of them. The sooner parents, school-board members, and the community can feel part of the shift to standards, the more likely they are to understand and support. But no one likes other people dropping an edict on them from on high, and parents are likely to react badly to just being told, "We're doing standards from now on."Graph

Letting them in on the expectations simply opens the lines of communication between school and home.


Kay Frances Toliver, a teacher at P.S. 72 in East Harlem, talks about the new role for teachers that standards will necessitate.
That way, teachers, schools, parents, and students know what is expected of them.

The district and school should take the responsibility for pulling parents into the loop early, but of course teachers will be the immediate contact with the parents of their students. However, parents are probably the best ambassadors to other parents. One resource Ruth Mitchell's group has found useful is a videotape produced by the Collaborative Communications Group in Washington, D.C. In it, parents work with other parents to help them understand what standards mean for the relationship between themselves and teachers. The video is entitled EXPECTING SUCCESS: HOW STANDARDS CAN RAISE STUDENT PERFORMANCE, and can be obtained by calling the Collaborative Communications Group at 202-986-4955.

Another useful resource is a brochure developed by the Education Trust that shows parents how they can use standards to help their children. It's a five-step guide called DOES MY CHILD'S HOMEWORK MEET HIGH STANDARDS? and is best used as the basis for a workshop in which parents go through each step and learn more about standards and their importance.

By using these resources and others, you can help your community adopt, integrate, and utilize standards to improve education for all of your students.

Workshop: Teaching to Academic Standards
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