Schools honored for work with families
Three Iowa school districts received recognition from the Iowa Department of Education for their work in promising practices related to family and school partnerships for children receiving special education services and supports.
Glenwood, Southeast Polk, and Winterset community school districts were honored during the Special Education Symposium in Des Moines for creating a program, activity, service, strategy or policy that showed potential for developing into an exemplary or evidence-based practice for families with children and youth ages 3 to 21 with disabilities.
The purpose in identifying promising practices in the area of family and school partnerships includes:
- increasing awareness and highlighting the importance of family and school partnerships as a key cornerstone to effective schools;
- recognizing settings that are implementing promising practices leading to increased student achievement and school improvement; and,
- informing continuous improvement and Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) across the state as training and technical assistance efforts are being developed.
To ensure the success of students with disabilities, school district services must have demonstrated the application of a promising practice that went above and beyond the minimum requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Glenwood Community School District was recognized for creating opportunities for all families and for the support of passionate, dedicated staff, family and community partners.
Southeast Polk Community School District was recognized for ensuring communication with families occurs in many different ways (emails, district website, flyers, etc.) in order to break down barriers, for having family members as an integral part of the family and school partnership steering committee, and for steering committee meeting topics leading to meaningful change within the district.
Winterset Community School District was recognized for the district superintendent and building administrators working to engage and communicate with families, for increased family engagement due to the incorporation of family feedback related to meeting dates and times, and for community partnerships which allow families to come together to share free meals, build relationships, and learn new strategies to help kids at home.
District-wide initiatives designed with a partnership orientation, coupled with the belief that student achievement and school improvement are a shared responsibility between home and school, help create conditions for thriving family engagement. Family and school partnerships are built upon mutual trust, respect, intentional coordination, consistency, continuity, and shared decision-making.