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Portland Public Schools New Learning Guides for Families Support Learning at Home

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Portland Public Schools New Learning Guides for Families Support Learning at Home
Posted on 10/09/2014

The Portland Public Schools has published a series of new Learning Guides for Families. The free guides, designed for families with children in kindergarten through grade 5, detail what students should know and be able to do in English Language Arts and math by the end of each grade. They also include information on how families can increase student learning at home.

The guides are available in eight languages: English, Acholi, Arabic, French, Khmer, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

“Families are our partners,” said Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. “They are the first and most powerful educators of children. Together we will ensure success for all students."

The guides contain helpful information on what families can do to support their children’s learning. Suggestions range from telling your child that education matters as a foundation for success to attending parent-teacher conferences and school events whenever possible.

Another suggestion is talking to your child about what is happening in school, and the guides contain tips on how best to do that. For example, many parents ask, “What did you do in school today?” and get “Nothing” for an answer. But the guides suggest parents instead ask more specific questions such as, “What’s one thing you learned today?”

Chanda Turner, the Portland Public Schools’ Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement, who spearheaded the two-year project to develop the Learning Guides, said, “Research shows that the more families are engaged with what their student is learning, children do better in school. Engaging families and the community directly in student learning is a key strategy for Portland to improve academic achievement.”

The guides let parents know the specific learning goals children are expected to master by the end of each grade in math and English Language Arts, and suggest ways parents can help children achieve those goals. For example, parents of kindergartners could create a family word jar, writing down on slips of paper letters or the words of things children ideintfy in the home, school or neighborhood. From time to time, family members can empty the jar and read what’s in it to each other.

Guides will be given to families during parent conferences and other engagement events at schools throughout the fall.  Guides are also being shared with families through the Multilingual Office’s intake process.  Electronic versions of the Learning Guides are available on the district’s website (www.portlandschools.org) through a link on the main page as well as under the “Parent” section of the web site, or by clicking here.  Hard copies are available at all elementary schools, the Multilingual Office, and the Academics Office.