FIP is for Families

 “In a FIP School, parents are clear about the learning targets and understand what their child should know and be able to do. As a result they can better support a child’s learning at home.”

As you prepare for upcoming PTA meetings, it is time to think about how and if you are inviting parents into your FIP world. Principal Renee Linn and her staff at Sutter Park School in Worthington City Schools did exactly that. Her team is committed to creating a culture where FIP becomes visible to all—teachers, leaders, parents, and students. What is most remarkable is that Sutter Park School exclusively serves pre-school children.

FIP Your School® was designed not only to present teachers with a new way of thinking about student learning through the lens of formative instructional practices, but to support its principles across all levels of the school community. Like many other educators, you have probably been introduced to the Foundations of FIP modules, FIP in Action modules, and the FIP Video Library. But what you may not realize is that, along with those resources, the FIP Team designed tools for leaders to help them create a school culture around the use of formative instructional practices. The diagram below illustrates what all members of the school community do to support a formative learning system.

In a FIP School….

Sutter Park School has embraced the idea of being a FIP School!  They continue to develop and refine their practices and as a result, their entire school community knows exactly where students are in their learning relative to the learning targets. Even very young students track their learning target progress!

How have they communicated this to parents?  The Sutter team was generously willing to share their Curriculum night program so that you can get some good ideas about how to use learning targets with parents. The staff aims to help parents get involved and take ownership regarding their child’s learning at the school, and what they can do to support that learning at home. Parents come to understand the meaning of learning targets, documenting evidence, effective feedback, and ownership of learning. As a result, they are be able to recognize its use in classrooms, and can understand when their child talks about the progress they are making. Below is an excerpt from the program:

I hope you find this innovative approach to curriculum night useful, and recognize its applicability beyond preschool and a single parent event. Among other useful tools in the FIP Fileroom is the The Principal’s Toolkit, which provides additional activities you can use when conducting parent meetings.

Building a formative learning system throughout your school takes time, but is made easier when you are clear about where you are going. How will you know you where you are on that journey? How will you make progress in closing gaps in your formative learning system?  What better way than to use what you have learned about FIP—establish targets, collect and document evidence of your progress, provide effective feedback based on your results—and, most importantly, cultivate ownership among all members of your school community.

Thanks to Renee Linn for sharing their FIP journey with us! Look for more entries about Sutter Park School and how they are becoming a true FIP School. Their work is nothing short of inspiring!