FAME -Families Achieving Mathematical Excellence : the process of developing a family involvement program for a Western rural middle school serving American Indian students
Bollinger, Susan Marie
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Family is an important element in the cultural identity of this American Indian community so involving families in the education of their children is crucial. This mixed methods study documents the process of implementing a family involvement program at a rural school serving predominantly low-income families near an American Indian reservation. The results showed there is a strong sense of responsibility among the parents for the education of their children. Parents and students were found to work together to improve their learning by reviewing homework together and doing learning activities at home. Interview data stressed the importance of developing a welcoming learning environment at school and at afterschool events that is culturally sensitive. Families need to feel they are welcomed and respected. The structure of afterschool events must be flexible and familiar for continued participation. Facilitators of family involvement programs in American Indian communities need to design programs that are culturally responsive to the local tribe and community, supporting the comfort and learning of the participants, providing materials for everyone to take home, and bringing the program to the people.