Missouri PIRC Executive Summary
Over the past five years, the Missouri PIRC expanded and strengthened family engagement in Missouri by providing training, technical assistance, and quality resources, and by cultivating successful relationships among families and schools. The Missouri PIRC surpassed its original goals and objectives, and formally integrated family engagement into the state’s monitoring system. More importantly, the Missouri PIRC gave thousands of low-income parents in Missouri new tools and strategies to help their children succeed in school.
At the state level, the Missouri PIRC partnerships helped forge a more cohesive approach to family engagement by working with early childhood education providers, kindergarten transition programs, K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, supplemental education programs, after school programs, alternative education programs, and university outreach programs to provide families a wide range of services from birth through graduation from high school. More than half of the services were provided to low-income families in both rural and urban communities often by meeting their needs outside the traditional school settings through PIRC activities in libraries, community based organizations, early childhood programs, athletic events, health fairs, sorority events, and community events.
Through strategic partnerships with statewide agencies and local nonprofit organizations, the Missouri PIRC provided professional development for teachers and administrators, and training for parents and other caregivers to create opportunities to approach family engagement as a shared responsibility.
During the five-year project, the Missouri PIRC is delivered the following accomplishments and outcomes:
- More than 402,500 parents accessed information and services provided by the Missouri PIRC.
- 201,732 Missouri families with young children received information, education, and family support directly from the Missouri PIRC.
- Missourians accessed a toll-free "Warm Line" that provides immediate support to more than 23,250 parents.
- The Missouri PIRC generated more than 2.7 million website hits, providing parents, teachers, tutors, and others with a wide range of resources.
- More than 11,250 parents, teachers, and administrators received extensive training in parental involvement strategies for their low-performing K-12 districts.
- More than 200,000 PIRC materials were distributed to school professionals through 534 public school superintendents in Missouri.
- The Missouri PIRC has participated in and facilitated parental involvement education during various community-wide urban school district forums that address district turnaround plans and new goals and objectives for school improvement and child achievement.
- The Missouri PIRC has been a partner with the Missouri PTA for the past several years, building a strong partnership and reaching out to parent leaders in Missouri schools. The Missouri PIRC also collaborated with the Missouri PTA in facilitating and planning the first PTA EML (Emerging Minority Leadership) Conference at the Missouri PIRC's Kansas City office.
Faced with significant changes due to drastic budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels, the Missouri PIRC adapted by increasing effort to serve parents and their children through after-school programs, charter schools, local community-based organizations, Freedom Schools, and other groups including the PTA. This process allows the Missouri PIRC to reach parents, teachers, and kids in multiple settings.
The Missouri PIRC continues to provide statewide impact, with offices and PIRC staff in St. Louis and Kansas City, early childhood services offered in school districts across the state coordinated by Parents as Teachers National Center, K-12 training and technical assistance, and a toll-free “Warm Line” for parents operating out of the state’s largest university. Additionally, the Missouri PIRC director developed a statewide technical assistance plan for schools/districts in turnaround status to receive training and support in developing school action teams for parental involvement. The training helps each school identify strong teams with parent participation, and receive professional development that systemically supports school progress, child achievement, parental involvement, focusing on SIPs (school improvement plans), and district level CSIPs (Consolidated School Improvement Plans). This PIRC technical assistance plan can be adapted to meet the specific needs of individual schools/districts.
The Missouri PIRC Director provided a host of direct services through developing training and professional development plans and programs for school districts, devising school action teams in individual schools to focus and commit to developing holistic family engagement plans and school improvement plans. The Missouri PIRC Director constantly promoted the work of PIRC and built numerous collaborations through participation on important coalitions, boards, and other forums including school board meetings, Missouri State Literacy Plan Team, Missouri's Early Learning Challenge grant team, a local Promise Neighborhood proposal team, Head Start Parent Policy Councils, legislative caucuses, the Missouri Association for Social Welfare state board, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Kansas City Public Television early childhood taskforce, the Kansas City Mayor’s Literacy and School Readiness Platform, Kansas City Freedom Schools Parent Committee, and a myriad of other local, statewide, and national efforts.
A new and unique strategy used by the Missouri PIRC over the past few years included partnering with a retired NFL player and former star with the Kansas City Chiefs (Heroes of the Locker Room) to create exciting school-based special events that draw hundreds of parents and their children. The PIRC director developed a presentation for the NFL star that incorporates football-themed motivational messages with the Six Levels of Parent Involvement that gives low-income families strategies they can use at home to improve their child’s performance at school. Some examples of strategies used by the NFL Player include: (1) A three-day process called HUDDLE (Heightened Unity amongst Dynamic and Diverse Learners and Educators) in which the NFL player goes into schools and works with parents, teachers, principles, etc. to develop fun, recreational, and educational parent involvement events. (2) The NFL player engaged the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams, who donated NFL Play 60 Obstacle Course activities and equipment to create fun parent-child interactive literacy and motor development. (3) An NFL parent involvement tips texting program was developed to send hundreds of parents helpful family literacy and parenting tips weekly. (4) Pre and post cards were developed and sent to hundreds of parents and families informing them of upcoming school activities and community and PIRC activities. Through the HUDDLE activities, more than 2,000 educators, parents, children, and community learned effective family engagement techniques.
Now the Missouri PIRC is faced with the challenge of sustainability. Even with family engagement as a high priority, state and federal sources have not proven to be reliable funding sources. The Missouri PIRC, along with many other PIRCs, have developed successful approaches to meaningful coordination of resources for family engagement at the school, district, state, and federal levels. By utilizing current research, the Missouri PIRC plays an essential role in engaging all parents. Given the changes in policies and funding, one issue remains consistent: many parents across Missouri need help to help their children.