Family Engagement Policy and School-Home Compact

Purpose of this Policy and Compact

Efforts will be made to clearly articulate the school’s intentions to engage with and involve parents/caregivers in the educational process.

Dogwood Elementary is a Title I school within Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) and utilizes the Title I grant to improve student achievement and help all students meet the objectives of the FCPS Program of Studies and the Virginia Standards of Learning. A partnership with families is essential to meeting this goal.

Under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools that receive Title I funds are expected to collaborate with families to develop and maintain a parent and family engagement policy that describes the school’s approach to involve families in students’ learning and includes a compact expressing the partnerships among staff, caregivers, and students to reach high academic goals for every student.

Dogwood Elementary jointly developed this policy and compact with members of the school community and adopted it for the 2019-2020 school year. A number of the provisions specifically address state or federal expectations for the policy and compact.

This policy and compact is distributed to all caregivers in a language that families can understand. Caregivers have opportunities to provide comments and feedback on the policy and compact through the parent coffee meeting on September 10, 2019. Comments are submitted with the school’s policy and compact to FCPS central offices and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). This policy and compact are made available to the broader school community through the school website.

Important Dates       

Parent-Teacher Conferences                                                  

  • September 16 - October 25
  • Additional dates, as needed

Progress Report Distribution

  • November 14
  • February 6
  • April 23
  • June 13

School Events

  • Parent Coffee:  Hopes and Dreams, Title I commitments, September 10
  • PTO Meetings:  second Thursday of each month
  • South Lakes HS Homecoming Parade:  October 25
  • Thanksgiving Luncheon and School-wide Math Day:  November 15
  • I Love to Read Day:  February 14

Building Capacity for Involvement

Efforts will be made to ensure parents/caregivers are actively involved in the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the school’s Title I program, including the following:

  • Provide family members a voice in decision-making on committees, such as parent coffee, parent interviews, and PTO meetings.
  • Engage caregiver input when developing the School Improvement and Innovation Plan (SIIP), Title I Schoolwide Plan, the Title I Parent and Family Engagement Policy and Compact, and plans for use of Title I family engagement funding.
  • Seek feedback from families on programs within the Title I Schoolwide Plan, offer multiple methods for caregivers to submit comments about programs they may not find satisfactory, and submit any such comments with the Title I Schoolwide Plan to FCPS central offices.
  • Invite family members to help in organizing and executing a variety of school events to build collective ownership, such as PTO meetings and supporting the Dogwood Connection.
  • Provide opportunities for caregivers to volunteer within the school in various ways, such as volunteering in the cafeteria, Dogwood Connection, and WatchDOGS.
  • Encourage families to take part in annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the division-level Title I parent and family engagement policy in order to identify:
    • barriers to greater family participation,
    • ways to help family members be better able to assist in student learning, and
    • strategies to support successful school and family interactions.

Effective Communication with Parents

Efforts will be made to ensure parents/caregivers receive meaningful communication in a timely manner, including the following:

  • Use multiple methods of communication to families such as Thursday Folders, fliers, Facebook, Twitter, website, and News You Choose.
  • Encourage all caregivers to attend an annual meeting on August 23 for Back to School Day as well as the Parent Coffee on September 10, to share information about Title I services, explain Title I grant requirements, and inform families of their right to be involved in the school.
  • Share school and student performance data with families in ways that seek their ideas about how to improve performance toward Virginia’s challenging academic standards, such as parent teacher conferences and PTO meetings.
  • Provide opportunities throughout the year for families to better understand the school’s goals for students and find ways to improve student learning by attending PTO meetings and parent coffees.
  • Maintain resources for caregivers to review student assignments and ongoing communication about student work, such as parent teacher conferences and phone calls.
  • Provide ongoing feedback on student progress through quarterly progress reports that show specific areas of proficiency and areas for continued growth.
  • Hold parent-teacher conferences for all students at least annually in the fall and more often, as needed.

Shared Responsibilities for High Academic Achievement

Efforts will be made to ensure parents/caregivers receive materials, training, and benefits from school partnerships with social and academic services, community-based organizations, and businesses, including the following:

  • Hold workshops connecting caregivers to tools and resources, such as Math and Literacy Days, parent coffees and PTO meetings.  
  • Offer regular opportunities for families to learn directly from school staff about the school’s academic, behavioral, and social programming through Math Day and I Love to Read Day.
  • Encourage participation in family learning events where caregivers learn strategies to support their child’s learning at home and have a chance to practice those strategies with their child, such as Math Day and I Love to Read Day.
  • Provide ongoing access to resources in the school, such as the guidance counselors, social worker, school psychologist, and parent liaisons.
  • Provide mentors for students though our Mentorworks program.  
  • Provide opportunities to donate and access supplies donated by others, such as Helping Hungry Kids, and Churchill Road Elementary.
  • Leverage partnerships with local businesses and organizations to enhance school programs and events, such as Navient, Amazon, Reston Community Center and Qualcomm.
  • Support parents in accessing county and community resources, such as Parent Partnership and Dogwood Connection.
  • Offer outreach and training for targeted families, such as parent coffees. 

Welcoming All Families

Efforts will be made to ensure that all parents/caregivers are welcomed and provided opportunities to actively engage within the school, including the following:

  • Create a welcoming atmosphere at the school with a welcome walk/Dogwood Visits and Back to School Day.
  • Provide interpretation services for parent-teacher conferences, workshops, and meetings.
  • Translate or provide interpretation of all school documents and communication to make them accessible in the caregiver’s preferred correspondence language and for those with vision or hearing impairments.
  • Support two-way communication between families and staff through assistance of a parent liaison for providing family resources and Spanish interpretation.
  • Expand access for family participation in informational meetings and learning sessions through offering bilingual sessions and various topics at different times.

Compact Provisions

School staff, parents/caregivers, and students must work together to ensure a student success.

The staff will:

  • Provide a high-quality curriculum and instruction that enables students to meet challenging academic standard through the following actions:
    • Teach all students according to the state’s challenging standards, using approved curriculum resources.
    • Provide ongoing professional development and support to all teachers to ensure effective instructional practices are used in all classrooms.
    • Implement the requirements of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to provide high quality and rigorous instruction for all students. 
  • Provide a supportive and effective learning environment for students through the following actions:
    • Provide clear expectations for student behavior and academic learning.
    • Offer a variety of resources to help students with their learning.
    • Communicate with families regarding the social curriculum development.
  • Provide assistance to caregivers in understanding the school’s program through the following actions:
    • Hold an annual meeting to present information on the school’s Title I programs, state and division curriculum and assessments, and the school’s state and federal accountability status.
    • Provide multiple opportunities for caregivers to ask questions and give input into the Title I programs.
  • Build caregivers’ involvement in the school’s Title I program through the following actions.
    • Include caregivers as members of the School Improvement and Innovation Planning (SIIP) Committee and as collaborators in developing the Title I Schoolwide Plan and plans for the use of Title I family engagement funds.

The parents/caregivers will:

  • Demonstrate understanding that participation in my child’s education will help his or her achievement through the following actions.
    • ​​​​​​​Participate in decisions related to school programs and my child’s education, and share my questions or comments about the programs in my child’s school.
    • Volunteer in my child’s classroom or in school activities, as my schedule allows.
    • Encourage and support my child’s learning at home and at school.
    • Attend PTO meetings as well as the Parent Coffees.
    • Ensure that students arrive to school on time on a daily basis.

The student will:

  • Share the responsibility to improve my academic learning to achieve the state’s challenging standards through the followings actions:
    • Get enough sleep every night.
    • Come to school on time unless I am sick.
    • Try my hardest and work with my classmates to complete learning tasks.
    • Give my parents all notes and papers from my teacher.
    • Be open minded and ready to learn.
    • Be responsible and respectful of my learning and the learning of others.