Published on February 9, 2008
Bringing PBS HomeCollaborating with Families: Bringing PBS Home Collaborating with Families Developed and compiled by Mack and Vitto, 2007 Acknowlegements: Acknowlegements Muskegon Area ISD Behavioral Support Team Muskegon Participating PBS Families MiBLSi training materials & Publications by: Dr. Tim Lewis, Dr. Rob Horner, Dr. George Sugai & Sandra L. Christenson and Susan M. Sheridan Thanks to our colleagues for letting us share their experiences and recommendations Goals for today’s session:: Goals for today’s session: Introduce a “Systems” model for developing effective parent understanding of and involvement with Positive Behavior Supports in schools Considerations for dealing with difficult Home/School Partnerships Slide4: When family members are involved in their children’s education, children and youth do better, stay in school longer, and achieve more Many schools only engage a small percentage of the families of their students There is a good deal of misunderstanding between teachers and families about each others’ roles and responsibilities What We Know Slide5: Many families are involved in their children’s educations in ways that school personnel don’t know about, support, or foster History/cultural differences , race, and SES affect the quality of the relationships between school personnel and families Productive relationships result when school personnel get involved with families and their communities What We Know Slide6: Stereotypes about ... TEACHERS Parents Teacher as deity Teacher as babysitter Teacher as whiny bureaucrat Teacher as apathetic bureaucrat Teacher as surrogate parent Teacher as therapist Teacher as partner Parent as couch potato Parent as troublemaker Parent as enabler Parent as ostrich Parent as dropout Parent as advocate Parent as partner Slide7: Attend school for meetings/conferences, special assemblies or events Volunteer in classrooms, help with field trips Participate in fund raising events Join school councils or other decision-making groups Supervise homework and help students with school assignments, projects at home Make sure students are “ready for school” and learning by making sure they are well fed, clothed, and get enough sleep Involvement” has traditionally meant parents. . . Slide8: It leaves out too many families family history unwelcoming environments language & cultural differences time & transportation It’s a narrow definition school focused child focused It only goes one-way Why “Involvement” Hasn’t Worked Very Well Starting Point: Starting Point Schools and their communities should define what “involvement” means across a continuum of behavioral supports Schools should build a system that is accessible and open to family involvement Schools cannot mandate family involvement Schools must build a system of support that is not-contingent on family involvement Families should also work toward understanding limitations of education system A Working Definition of “Family Involvement”: A Working Definition of “Family Involvement” Awareness Involvement Support A Working Definition of Family Involvement Across the Continuum: A Working Definition of Family Involvement Across the Continuum Awareness – Universals, Small Group, Individual Involvement – Universals, Small Group, Individual Support - Universals, Small Group, Individual Slide12: Primary Prevention: School-/Classroom- Wide Systems for All Students, Staff, & Settings Secondary Prevention: Specialized Group Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior Tertiary Prevention: Specialized Individualized Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior ~80% of Students ~15% ~5% CONTINUUM OF SCHOOL-WIDE INSTRUCTIONAL & POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT Universals: Connect Points To Families: Universals: Connect Points To Families Primary Focus = Awareness Information, Information, Information (2-way) Educators and parents sharing information across multiple venues Involvement Parent team member Specific activities to partner with families at school Support Information regarding range of services & supports Referral Points Strategies for home use Steps toward Awareness of School-wide PBS initiative: Steps toward Awareness of School-wide PBS initiative Introductory Letter or Newsletter Open House/Conference Video or Slide Presentation PBS for Parents Booklet Involving Parents in Kick-off Hero Nights Wrap Around Programs Awareness Components: Awareness Components Include in handout or presentation: What is Positive Behavior Supports Why is it needed? How is it different from traditional approaches What does “positive” mean? What are the schools expectations? How are they trained? How and why are kids rewarded? How can parents support PBS? Slide16: INCLUDING FAMILIES IN PBS Positive Approaches for Challenging Behavior Booklet: Positive Approaches for Challenging Behavior Booklet Include: Behavioral Expectations Matrix Tickets/Coupons Certificates Introduction to PBS process at your school At the end of booklet put in your area’s resources and contact information Seven Steps for establishing PBS at home: Seven Steps for establishing PBS at home Get all family members on board Hold a family meeting to introduce the idea and discuss how the family can support PBS at home Pick three areas where the most growth is needed and decide on expectations that are consistent with schools Decide how to teach these expectations at home Decide how to reinforce expected behaviors Decide how to correct behavioral errors-what’s your discipline plan Hold family meetings as needed to make the expectations work for you and your family Small Group/Targeted: Connect Points To Families: Small Group/Targeted: Connect Points To Families Awareness Continuum of supports explained Referral points defined Primary Focus = Involvement Parent consent/ information meeting Parent part of planning Follow-up meetings and outcome sharing Support Partnership to explore school / home strategies Quick easy “generalization strategies” for home use Individual/Intensive: Connect Points To Families: Individual/Intensive: Connect Points To Families Awareness Information (e.g., IDEA, ADA, Mental Health, District Services) Accessible referral point (special education / non-special education) Teacher education RE impact on family “Science” of behavior for both educators and family Involvement Family advocacy groups on school/district team Parents of children with disabilities on school/district team Primary Focus = Support Partner planning – strengths-based focus using functional behavioral assessment Facilitating interagency programs Targeted training/supports for families Collaborating with Difficult Home/School Partnerships: Collaborating with Difficult Home/School Partnerships Slide28: “To build trusting relationships, we need to communicate with the intent to learn from others, not control them. Trust is the glue that makes effective collaboration and teamwork possible. Without trust, people become competitive or defensive, and communication is distorted and unreliable.” Slide29: All families have strengths. Parents can learn new techniques. Parents have important perspectives about their children. Most parents really care about their children. Cultural differences are both valid and valuable. Many family forms exist and are legitimate. Focus on Positives: Focus on Positives Principals and staff positively impact students' lives by sharing positive moments with them. Students/families need to see principals/staff as caring individuals whose primary concern is student learning Contact parents with positive news. Particularly if you need to call that parent later with some negative news. People believe you are fair when you share in positive events as well as negative events. Known and Unknown: Known and Unknown Adult learners want choices Adult learners want control What we know grows larger, and when we know more we get to a point when we realize how much more there is to learn… Asking people to change is scary; we are asking them to shift what they value and believe… Our self concept as a learner is effected by our history Preventing Controversy Round Robin: Preventing Controversy Round Robin What Upsets Parents: Lack of communication Failure to stick up for kids and overreaction Defensiveness and rigidness Breaking promises and dishonesty Unwillingness to Admit Mistakes and Apologize Disrespectful and Unprofessional Behavior (rudeness, condescension, lashing out, breaking confidentiality, being asked for advice and it not being taken etc.) Assumptions and Stereotypes Fear (that child is unsafe or unfairly treated at school, of the unknown etc.) Internal Issues of the Parent Adapted from “How to Deal with Parents Who are Angry, Troubled, Afraid or Just Plain Crazy” by Elaine K. McEwan 1998 Corwin Books. Preventing Controversy: Preventing Controversy Communicate regularly, clearly and effectively Verbalize caring for kids See the big picture Be open to constructive criticism Don’t take things personally Don’t make promises you can’t keep – or at all Be honest Admit when you are wrong and apologize with sincerity Be respectful and professional Be punctual Avoid jargon Be open-minded and tolerant, don’t assume Know and respect cultural differences Create a safe classroom and school Quell fears with information Educate yourself about issues faced by today’s parents What else? Remember the Golden Rule: Remember the Golden Rule Treat parents the way you would like to be treated. There are no caveats on the Golden Rule; you should treat people the way you would like to be treated even if you feel they are being accusatory, disrespectful, rude or ignorant. Setting the Scene: Setting the Scene When in person Shake hands and be welcoming Snacks and drinks are never a bad idea Sit “eye to eye and knee to knee” Stay at eye level, not above or below the other person (have enough big people chairs available) Sit face to face, don’t hide behind your desk In group settings be aware of seating patterns avoid “us vs. them” seating Introduce everyone Set a time limit and stick to it Be prepared, use data Take notes, use quotes Consider displaying your qualifications, diplomas, etc in your classroom or office Consider having a witness or someone on call to mediate Setting the Scene: Setting the Scene On the phone: Try not to make or take calls in the late afternoon when you are tired and cranky and so is the parent, return calls first thing in the morning, never make a parent call you twice Have a plan, be prepared, use data Set a time limit and stick to it Consider having a witness Take notes, use quotes If you don’t have all of the information explain that you will find out what you need to know and call them back Setting the Scene: Setting the Scene In writing: Proof read and have a colleague proof read – not just for grammar and spelling but for tone Consider all notes, on paper or via e-mail as professional documents – use your alphabet soup after your name, use letter head or official e-mail address If you cannot respond to a note or e-mail within one school day then let the parent know when you will reply Keep photocopies of written notes and print and save e-mails in case you need them During the Discussion: During the Discussion Be aware of body language and tone (yours and other peoples) Listen first, listen well and listen between the lines Consider using the mirror technique and reflect back to the parent what you have heard Ask sincere questions, seek to understand fully Be open minded Express empathy and understanding Be tactful and gentle Remain calm and confident During the Discussion: During the Discussion See the big picture Present options and avoid backing anyone into a corner Remember “charm and disarm”, not “shock and awe” Monitor your own emotions – if you start to feel angry (or any other powerful emotion) try to connect to its source (i.e. anger usually comes from feeling hurt) and work to remember not to take anything personally. If nothing else work to bite your tongue and not act on emotions. Effective Problem Solving: Effective Problem Solving Identify the problem Explore the causes of the problem and everyone’s interests Set a goal to solve the problem Look at alternative solutions Select an alternative and create a plan Implement plan Evaluate results and fine tune the plan Adapted from http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/learningconnection/student/counselling/problemsolving.asp#seven The Rules of Engagement: The Rules of Engagement Should push come to shove remember to use the rules of engagement You are a professional No sarcasm, yelling, rudeness or otherwise questionable behavior Listen (with sympathy) before you talk Be willing to compromise See the big picture (it is more important for Susie to do her science project herself than for you to have the last word or force her parents into admitting they did the project) Avoid accusations and “trigger” words Listen, remain calm and demonstrate empathy and understanding Gmail - Inbox (17) The Rules of Engagment (cont.): The Rules of Engagment (cont.) Focus on one issue at a time (“Today’s meeting is about ___, let’s focus on that.”) Don’t take anything personally Know that you both have the best interest of the child at heart – remember parents send the best kid they have to school, they’re not keeping the good kids at home Keep data and have a witness Involve the administration if needed And, again, you are a professional Tips and Techniques: Tips and Techniques Give respect and insist on it in return (Try the customer service hotline technique, “I’m sorry but I cannot continue this conversation if you are going to curse (or shout, or make unfounded accusations, etc.) Ask “What can I do to improve this situation?” Say “You need to do what you think is right.” when the parent insists on going to an administrator etc. Turn the question around, “What would you do to make this situation fair to everyone if you were in my shoes?” Listen attentively without interrupting or arguing Set limits Make silence your friend Make your point without demanding the last word Repeat the rule that you are following – broken record technique Tips and Techniques (cont.): Tips and Techniques (cont.) Remember Kenny Rogers – “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” As a good scout always “be prepared” (do your homework) Re-state limits – i.e. “I only have ten minutes for this phone call, but I am willing to set up a follow-up call tomorrow or meet with you next week.” Listen for the “question behind the question” and say, “I think you may be asking about ____ .” If you know the type of behaviors you will be facing in a meeting or phone call prepare a strategy with colleagues, role-play possible situations and create and carry a “tip sheet” to remind you how to approach the situation Three Possible End Points: Three Possible End Points Consensus Everyone comes to an agreement on what the problem is and how to approach solving it Compromise Both or all parties agree to some of the provisions of what the problem is and how to handle it Everyone works in the spirit of cooperation on solving the problem Confrontation-Capitulation If parties cannot agree on what the problem is, how to solve it or both and they cannot find a compromise the end result is confrontation, capitulation or both. This may lead to a placement or class assignment change, legal action or further administrative involvement Ending an Unproductive Conversation: Ending an Unproductive Conversation Know when to cut your losses, perhaps saying, “let me try to find out more about the situation and let’s schedule a time to talk (or meet) next week. Interrupt venting to say, “It is important I know how you feel about this but I only have about five more minutes. What would be the most productive way for us to end this conversation?” Go back to the original topic, “I hear that you have many concerns you want me to know about, I will follow up with ____ and perhaps you could put the rest of your concerns in writing for me?” The Out-of-Control Parent: The Out-of-Control Parent The moment a conversation becomes out-of-control set limits. (“If you are going to curse or use abusive language with me I am going to have to end this conversation.”) The same “hairy eyeball” you use with students can be highly effective when a parent begins to become out of control. If the situation becomes volatile, state that you are willing to meet again, but with administration present and you will not continue to meet right now. Report all threats of violence to the administration and the authorities. Take all threats seriously. Trust your intuition, if the meeting starts to feel unsafe leave. Difficult Behavior and Challenging Positions: Difficult Behavior and Challenging Positions Some Types of Difficult Behavior Complaining and Negativism Bullying The Silent Treatment Knowing It All Passive-Aggressive Difficult Parent Positions Clingy Parents The no show Activism without cause What else in your experience? Complaining and Negativism: Complaining and Negativism He or she May shoot down every idea and view everything through a negative lens May complain constantly about their child, even when child is doing well or is present May constantly complain about you or the school system Will seem to only want to complain with no interest in solutions May have a bark that is worse than the bite Why does he or she acts like this May have no sense of power or no desire for power – may actually be very passive May be worn down, depressed or tired and have no supports or not know how to use supports May honestly not know what to do Complaining and Negativity: Complaining and Negativity What to do Listen first, fact find together if you can Beat them to the punch, bring up the negatives yourself first and dismiss one by one with logic and data Stay positive, but realistic – don’t make promises Turn negative questions over to the entire group Stick to the facts, don’t offer opinions if possible Give them power, “How do you want us to solve this?” (especially if they are shooting down every solution) Insist on a problem solving approach Try find a solution without accepting or placing blame Ask what results they would like the conversation to end in – you may just agree with the answer Example: “Montana says you let all the other kids play a game during recess and she had to do math… . She says that she didn’t know she had to finish her class work if she wanted to play the game.” Bullying: Bullying He or she May believe that he or she always right, no matter what. May demean those who disagree with him or her, sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly. May insists on getting his or her own way. Why he or she acts like that Need to prove him or herself, may come from low self-esteem Dislike of weakness Sense of entitlement Bullying (Continued): Bullying (Continued) What to do You may feel personally and/or professionally attacked – don’t take it personally Do not engage in argument because the Bully will win, he or she has more practice Address them by name Assertively express your option without negating his or her opinion if possible Some experts suggest interrupting rants with a distraction Be ready to make friendly overtures if you gain his or her respect Example: “Johnny WILL bring his MP3 player to class! It helps him learn!” The Silent Treatment : The Silent Treatment He or she may act Silent Passive-Aggressive Apathetic Not follow through Why is he or she behaves like that Possibilities include inability to express fear, rage or other intense emotion and/or apathy What to do Ask open ended questions Make silence your friend and use a friendly, anticipating gaze during the silence Avoid power struggles Comment on the interaction between you or the body language of the individual “Do you have any questions about the IEP Mrs. Jones?” No reply. “Is there any you would like us to add, Mrs. Jones?” “I guess not.” She says. Knowing It All: Knowing It All How he or she behaves These parents are experts. Not only on their own child, but also on everything else from curriculum to pedagogy and beyond. They may seem condescending and arrogant Why he or she acts like that They believe knowledge is power and feel more secure when they are “in the know” May like to show off/like attention They fear being wrong or out-of-control Know it All: Know it All What to do Be ready, know your facts, do not try to “fake it” Build off of the knowledge they espouse Praise their knowledge and hard work learning the information, that may be all they need to calm down Present alternative views without telling them they are wrong only as a additional source of information Respect their opinions and listen empathetically If you need to correct their information consider doing it through firm questioning Passive-Aggressive: Passive-Aggressive How he or she may act Sarcastic, jokes at others expense Potshots and indirect criticism Criticism by comparison Does not follow through with commitments Why he or she behaves that way Afraid of direct conflict Not empowered to share opinions in another way Depressed, low-self esteem and doesn’t know another way to interact What to do Keep bring discussion back to issues instead of personalities Refuse to allow sarcasm by kindly asking it be discontinued Get commitments in writing The Clinger: The Clinger Views child as delicate or in need of constant assistance Hoovers around and clings to the child Does not want the child to take risks or face challenges The child is a primary source of their self worth Attempt to ally fears with information and examples – show them what the child can do The Clinger (Continued): The Clinger (Continued) Be personal and caring, but a role model of confidence in yourself and the child Try to avoid allowing them to over-engage or redirect attempts to control you or the child by giving other assignments if they insist on volunteering Example: “Robbie (age nine) cannot do all of the work you assign. It will take him too long and he needs time to relax and just be a kid. He’s just a little boy. You need to give him less work.” The Activist: The Activist Favorite statement is, “That’s not fair.” Insists you, the school, the district, the American education system and possible the entire world is unjust towards his or her child. May like to bring up lawyers. Example: “Sarah is allergic to bees, she cannot possibly go on a trip to that farm! If she can’t go then the whole class shouldn’t go! She will feel left out and it isn’t fair!” The No Show: The No Show The no show – this child’s parents think he or she has better things to do than school. Things like sleeping in, going shopping, going on a trip and sometimes even actually important things like the dentist, orthodontist or allergy shots. The parent insists you make allowances because it is no the child’s decision, even if the child is in high school. Example: “It is hard for Melissa to wake up in the morning, I don’t see why you have to be so hard on her for being 30 or 45 minutes late.” Example: “We are going on vacation in two weeks. It is cheaper to fly in March, you know. I need you top make a packet of Jim’s work for him so he won’t get behind.” Other Tricky Parent Behaviors or Attitudes…: Other Tricky Parent Behaviors or Attitudes… ? Parents with Mental Illness: Parents with Mental Illness Approximately 1 in 4 Americans will suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their life Most of this 25% of adults will have mild or short lived illness A smaller number may have longer term or more serious mental illness requiring more intensive treatment Any level of mental illness can impair ability to parent, but with proper support and intervention parents with mental illness can do an excellent job A parent with untreated or active mental illness may be inconsistent, have mood swings, be unable to participate in their child’s education or have other symptoms The same advice applies to situations that require working with a parent who has mental illness (follow the golden rule, be respectful, listen, be empathic, set limits, etc.) Team Time: Team Time Parent Scenarios Slide64: Case Study 1a (elementary school) Today you taught a lesson on germs and proper hygiene. It was a great dynamic lesson and as a follow up you assigned the students to read a social skills story about a child who has poor hygiene but changes his ways. At 3 pm the phone rings. It is Allison’s mother, you have had a good relationship with her in the past and are surprised to hear from her. She tells you in no uncertain terms that the follow up reading was disgusting and she will not have her daughter reading anything so nasty. What do you do? Slide65: Case Study 2 (middle school) Today was the class trip to a local museum. It was a good trip and you are tired, but happy at the end of the day. The phone rings and it is Ryan’s mother. She is irate and you can barely understand her. Finally you realize that she is angry that you made Ryan go to the end of the line in the museum gift shop. She doesn’t seem to know that you had Ryan do this because he cut everyone else in line and shoved another child out of the way. What do you do? Slide66: Case Study 3 High School At eleven at night you finish grading all of the end of term reports your students turned in earlier in the week. You scan through your grade book and see that Bill has not turned in the report – again. The next day you pull Bill aside and remind him of your late policy (ten points off for each day late). Bill just nods and walks off. The next morning his mother is in your room waiting for you. She insists Bill finished the project and put it on your desk the day it was due; you must have lost it. What do you do? Discussion Groups: Discussion Groups Divide into work groups; school based teams are recommended Choose a type of challenging behavior and a typical school situation Discuss the techniques for working with the parent in the situation Create a roleplay/skit to share with the larger group (not everyone needs to be in it) Taking Care of YourselfBefore, During and After Difficult Conversations: Taking Care of Yourself Before, During and After Difficult Conversations Before Create a plan Discuss your options with colleagues or administrators During Take deep breathes Don’t take anything personally Think about keeping your posture relaxed (ungrit teeth, lower shoulders, release clenched fists, avoid jittering) Write a positive message on your notes to remind you to relax and use new techniques After When you are ready find someone to process the conversation with, chose someone who will listen with empathy and validate your feelings (maintain confidentiality) If a group meeting debrief together after the meeting, try to end the debriefing in laughter or at least smiling Do something relaxing just for you The Difficult Home School Partnership Handle with Care : The Difficult Home School Partnership Handle with Care Grade retention Disruptive behavior Poor study habits Possible special class placement Referral Testing Medical attention Unexpected parental concerns or even complaints Frame of Reference: Frame of Reference "Seek first to understand… then to be understood." Stephen Covey Slide71: -more willingness to commit to goals Professional Skills for Good Communication between Teachers and Parents : Professional Skills for Good Communication between Teachers and Parents Good listening techniques Tact Kindness Consideration Empathy Enthusiasm Understanding of parent-child relationships Be Pro-Active: Be Pro-Active Communicate and build relationships Avoid judgment and imposing your value system “If you haven’t walked in their shoes, then you can only imagine…” Suggestions for Difficult Home/School Partnerships:: Suggestions for Difficult Home/School Partnerships: Communicate concerns early Before the conference Keep a log of the child's unusual or disruptive behavior. Keep track of the child's grades and missing assignments. Keep a record of all communications with parents. Keep notes and records concerning the child's behavior in other classrooms. Establish Norms: Establish Norms How ideas will be expressed How decisions will be made How people will be treated What will signal an end of the meeting Positive Techniques for Difficult Meetings: Positive Techniques for Difficult Meetings Warm up with warmth Treat with respect Weigh your words Allow for anger Plan for options Seek support Put it in writing After the Meeting: After the Meeting Follow-up Confirm that all parties involved in the conference actually followed through on their commitments Demonstrate your sincerity and concern for the child Offer further help Don’t:: Don’t: Argue Yell Use sarcasm Behave unprofessionally with a parent Remember we are role models. It is up to us to show the most difficult parents a better way to communicate Types of Difficult Parents: Types of Difficult Parents The Parents Who Rescue, Defend, and Accuse: The Conspiracy Theory The Advisor: Responding to Advise from Mom & Dad The THREATENING Parent The Limited Parent The Abusive Parent The Parent in Denial If teachers are intimidated by angry parents:: If teachers are intimidated by angry parents: Don’t be on the defensive Maintain strong eye contact with angry or aggressive parents. This look should NOT be an intimidating one. Simply maintain eye contact, and do not look away. Open houses and conferences is not the best time to talk about severe or complex problems Placement: Placement Always try to provide an environment where the student will be happy, safe, valued, and have a desire to take risks and learn. An if the parent insists the child be placed in an environment school staff believe is inappropriate, school staff should do everything possible to make it a place of learning and acceptance for the child. Final Thoughts: Final Thoughts It is only through establishing trust and convincing the parents that you do have the interest of their child at heart that a door or window may open and acceptance will take the place of denial. Be patient and supportive. Ultimately, it is your continued support and caring even in the face of disagreement that will help bring the parent closer to accepting “what is.” Final Thoughts: Final Thoughts “Every parent and family, no matter they have been viewed by the school as dysfunctional, trouble makers, “crazy,” out of touch, in denial, defenders, rescuers, etc. deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. If we truly want to make a positive difference in every child’s life we have to make a positive difference their parents lives as well.” Slide84: I have come to a frightening conclusion; I am the decisive element in the home. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a parent, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized. -Haim Ginott
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