Family Engagement

At Bancroft we believe that families are integral to student success and that family involvement will increase satisfaction and enhance the school.  We value families of all backgrounds and look forward to hearing, sharing, and understanding aspects of every family’s experiences, languages, and culture in order to ensure student success. 
Families are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school and to think of themselves as full partners in their child’s education.  We are committed to providing multiple opportunities throughout the school year for parents to: (1) learn about curricula, standards, and assessments; (2) participate in their child’s education and receive updates on his or her progress; and (3) provide input about any needed improvements so we can reach our mission of preparing every one of our students to be bilingual and bi-literate when they leave our program.  

This year Bancroft is excited to partner with the Flamboyan Foundation to further engage parents and guardians in our academic program and in their students’ success.  One component of this program is the home visit initiative.  This is an opportunity for teachers to meet with families of their students outside of school to get to know each other and learn more about the hopes and dreams that parents have for their children.  This is a voluntary initiative for both teachers and families, but we hope many will participate.  There will also be additional opportunities for parents and guardians to engage more deeply in their children’s learning and academic growth.

Visiting the School
Family members are encouraged to visit their child’s class as it is one of the best ways to understand your child’s school experience.  Parents/guardians should discuss with their child’s teacher and/or room parent ways in which they can assist with class activities.  However, parents/guardians are asked not to visit their child’s classroom within the first month of school to allow teachers to establish routines and structures.  The presence of parents/guardians in the classroom can be confusing for many children as they adjust to school routines.  Even after the first month, teachers may ask parents/guardians to leave the classroom if needed. 
After the first four weeks of school, family members may arrange visits with their children’s teacher.  Typical visit purposes include: observing your child in class, learning more about the curriculum, seeing how routines work, understanding the school’s instructional approach, volunteering to help with a project or work with a small group, or presenting or sharing information or reading to the class. 
When visiting we ask parents to arrange this with the teacher at least 1-2 days beforehand to (1) discuss the timing of the visit (ideally, parents should arrive during a transition so that they can quickly check in with the teacher) and (2) let the teacher know what their focus will be.  When parents arrive at the classroom, they should check in with the teacher to find out where to sit and how to best accomplish their purpose.   
After the visit, parents should check in briefly with the teacher before leaving.  The parent should let the teacher know whether the parent felt he/she accomplished the purpose and briefly share any insights or questions.  If a parent must leave in the middle of a lesson, without being able to check in with the teacher, he/she should leave a note with the information above and letting the teacher know how he/she can contact the parent. 
We ask that parents turn cell phones and pagers to the silent mode when they come to volunteer, observe, or attend conferences at school.   

Birthday Parties

We are happy to celebrate our students’ birthdays.  Parents have been asked to work with teachers to schedule birthday parties.  Birthday parties should take place at the end of the school day and last no more than 45 minutes.  
Parents are encouraged to serve healthy snacks such as fruit, low-sugar drinks, etc. Candy is not allowed, either during the party or as a party favor.


Family Volunteers
Family members who want to volunteer outside of their student’s classroom can help in the main office,  join the Bancroft PTA, sit on the Local School Advisory Team, or help plan or contribute to special events (by bringing food, for example).  Family members who volunteer at the school are asked to sign in at the Front Desk.   If family members volunteer ten hours or more in the course of a year, DCPS must conduct a background check, as with any frequent volunteer.  Please see the DCPS website for details regarding the volunteer application process.

Other Volunteers 
Bancroft Elementary School welcomes volunteers who are parents, older students, siblings, and community members.  All volunteers serving for more than 10 hours need to complete the central office volunteer process via the web.  

Room Parents
Each class will have at least one parent but ideally two, one English speaking and one-Spanish speaking, who helps communicate with families about upcoming fieldtrips, events, or volunteer needs on behalf of the teachers.