SENATE BILL 526
52nd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2015
Linda M. Lopez
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; PROVIDING FOR FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Family and Community Engagement Act"."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.--
A. The legislature finds that the engagement and support of families and community partners in the education of children is an integral part of improving academic achievement and is therefore critical to student success. Properly constructed family and community engagement programs resulting from collaborative decision-making processes can play an important and effective role in the participation of families and community partners in schools and in improving children's learning.
B. The legislature confirms its commitment to the rights of students, families, community partners and school employees, to nondiscriminatory treatment, including freedom from harassment and retaliation based on disability, race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status, immigration status and any other protected status as defined by law in all of its programs and activities.
C. The purpose of the Family and Community Engagement Act is to ensure that family and community engagement programs are properly designed and implemented and to provide a focus and structure for those programs based on prior experience and research while maintaining sufficient local flexibility to design a program that best meets the needs of the local community. The goals of these programs are to:
(1) utilize the histories and cultures of children, families and communities as the foundation of educational programs that prepare every student for academic success;
(2) engage families from diverse cultures in a positive way in their children's education by:
(a) fostering safe and welcoming school environments for children, families and community partners;
(b) building effective and consistent methods of communications between schools and families;
(c) supporting families in developing skills that enhance their children's academic efforts and their development as responsible members of society; and
(d) helping school professionals and community partners to learn to work comfortably with diverse families and to view these families as valuable sources of information about their children;
(3) inform families that they can directly affect the success of their children's learning and offer families various techniques and strategies to improve their children's academic success or to assist their children in learning at home, if they desire; and
(4) integrate family and community engagement programs, including compliance with the provisions of the Family and Community Engagement Act, into a school's master plan for academic accountability."
SECTION 3. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM.--
A. Each local school board shall, in conjunction with parents, teachers, administrators and community partners, establish a family and community engagement program for each school in the school district. The local school board shall:
(1) ensure that parents, families and community partners participate in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of the family and community engagement program;
(2) provide for regular and periodic programs throughout the school year that offer learning opportunities for families, school personnel and community partners in areas such as:
(a) the ability of families and community partners to directly affect the success of a child's learning through the support given at home, at school and by the community;
(b) home activities, strategies and materials that can be used to assist and enhance the learning of children at home and at school;
(c) the developmental needs of children, positive guidance techniques and ways for families, teachers and community partners to build healthy relationships with children; and
(d) the ability of families and schools to develop consistent and effective communications concerning the progress of the children in school and concerning school programs;
(3) prepare an annual statement identifying specific objectives of the program; and
(4) conduct an annual review and assessment of the program's progress in meeting its objectives, which shall be made available to families and the community.
B. A family and community engagement program may include any of the following:
(1) a plan to encourage participation by families from diverse cultures;
(2) a program that builds on parenting strengths, that helps families develop the skills that they desire and that facilitates networks to support families in effectively nurturing their children;
(3) a communication element that provides an effective two-way communication process to enable school staff to reach families, both individually and collectively, and to ensure that families and school staff communicate back and forth about their children;
(4) a home learning element that provides for families and school staff to work together in developing learning goals and that offers opportunities for learning activities at home and in the community;
(5) a volunteer element that recruits and organizes volunteer participation from families and the community at large;
(6) a governance and advocacy element that provides a democratic governance structure that ensures that families are partners in policymaking about school programs and that family representatives are elected to act as advocates or decision-makers for other parents and families;
(7) a community outreach element that establishes partnerships with individuals and organizations in the community; or
(8) a plan to encourage parents to visit schools, which may include an area in each school designated as a family center."
SECTION 4. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] STATEWIDE INFRASTRUCTURE--CREATION.--In order to institutionalize family and community engagement programs across the state, the department shall establish structures and positions with well-defined responsibilities and accountability to promote genuine family and community engagement."
SECTION 5. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SIX STANDARDS FOR FAMILY-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIPS.--The six standards for family-school partnerships are:
A. welcoming all families. Families shall be active participants in the life of the school and feel welcomed, valued and connected to each other, to school staff and to what students are learning and doing in school;
B. communicating effectively. Families and schools shall engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning;
C. supporting student success. Families and school staff shall continuously collaborate and support students' learning and healthy development both at home and at school and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively;
D. speaking up for every child. Families shall be advocates for their own and other children to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success;
E. sharing power. Families and school staff shall be equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence and create policies, practices and programs; and
F. collaborating with the community. Families and school staff shall collaborate with community members to connect students, families and staff to expand learning opportunities, community services and civic participation."
SECTION 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2015.
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