California State PTA Shares Six Key Ways Parents Can Make a Difference for Their Child and School This Year

SACRAMENTO--()--As millions of children begin the 2015-16 school year, parents across California have numerous opportunities to have a voice and make a difference for their child and school. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) as well as new state standards and assessments are ushering in a new era in which parent and family engagement is more important than ever. Parents have a seat at the table when key decisions are being made at their child’s school and in the school district.

Research shows family engagement equals student success and, as the connector between families, schools and communities, California State PTA highlights the importance of family engagement and offers six key ways that parents can get involved to make a difference for their child and school:

Six Ways Parents Can Get Involved*
Parent involvement can mean many things, such as reading to your child or asking questions about homework. It can also mean communicating with teachers or attending school activities.

1. Model positive parenting and support learning at home.
Develop effective parenting skills and seek to better understand child and adolescent development. Create a home environment that supports learning by establishing a quiet place for homework, setting a regular time for studying. Know your teacher’s homework policy and how to monitor and discuss schoolwork at home. Engage in conversations with your child about college and careers.

2. Learn more about your child's school and communicate with educators.
Attend Back-to-School Night and Parent-Teacher Conferences. Find out how to take advantage of your school’s translation and interpretation services. Make time to read newsletters, notices and memos from the school. Ask your school if it offers California State PTA's School Smarts Parent Engagement Program and, if not, ask about bringing it to your school community.

3. Help out at school or join PTA.
Look at ways to volunteer in the classroom or other ways you can help prepare or organize classroom materials at home. Find out about participating in school organizations, initiatives and school committees such as PTA, School Site Council or English Learner Advisory Committees (ELAC). Help with a school-wide event or accompany your child on a class field trip. And remember: Just joining PTA shows you support your child and school.

4. Engage in the decision-making, leadership and advocacy efforts at your school.
Learn about and participate in the various school, district or community decision-making bodies. Parent input is critical. Learn more about your school district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and the eight priority areas that help all children succeed. Consider taking on a leadership role in speaking up for all children – at your PTA, at the school and beyond.

5. Be familiar with what your child will be expected to learn and how he or she will be assessed as part of the new state standards.
Attend meetings and/or read more about the new California State Standards and how they will help prepare students for the future. Find out more about the new statewide assessment program, how your child's score will look and what it means for your child's progress. Talk to your child’s teachers to understand how learning will look different in the classroom and how you can best support your child.

6. Take advantage of community resources.
Ask your school about free or low-cost community health, cultural and social support programs. Find out about after-school enrichment programs, tutoring and free library programs that are available to you and your family.

*Adapted from Joyce Epstein’s model for family and community partnerships as part of the California State PTA School Smarts Parent Engagement Program.

For more back-to-school tips for parents and information on the importance of family engagement, visit

Learn more about how the LCFF and LCAPs work at You can also take a deeper look at each of the eight state priority areas in California State PTA’s LCAP Quick Guides.

California State PTA is distributing tips and resources for parents this back-to-school season. To get the latest information, get connected with California State PTA online.

FOR MEDIA - California State PTA representatives are available for expert interviews on a variety of back-to-school and family engagement topics. Contact Michelle Eklund at (951) 314-3707 or for more information.

About California State PTA
California State PTA connects families and schools, and has more than 800,000 members throughout the state working on behalf of public schools, children and families, with the motto, "every child, one voice." The PTA is the nation's largest and highest profile volunteer association working to connect families and schools, and improve the education, health and welfare of all children and youth. The PTA also advocates at national, state and local levels for education and family issues. The PTA is nonprofit, nonsectarian and noncommercial. For more information:


California State PTA
Michelle Eklund, 916-440-1985
Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives

Release Summary

California State PTA highlights the importance of family engagement and offers six ways parents can get involved to make a difference for their child this school year.


California State PTA
Michelle Eklund, 916-440-1985
Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives