Supporting Decision Making and Advocacy

Supporting Decision Making and Advocacy

The tools and resources in this module support programs that are committed to shared decision making and advocacy. Empowering families to help solve problems, discuss program effectiveness, prioritize spending, spending priorities, and develop policies, sends a powerful message about collaboration, equity and access.

The findings presented by Henderson and Mapp have shown that schools with parents who are involved in decision making and advocacy have higher levels of student achievement and public support. Effective partnerships develop when each partner is respected and empowered to fully participate in the decision-making process.

Resources ToolsResources / Recursos

Decision Making at the School Level


Use this checklist to determine how decisions are made at your school.

Does our school SHARE POWER?

Our school:




opens up the decision making process so that families have a voice;

gives parents a role in selecting administrators, including the principal;

respectfully acknowledges and recognizes all parents - including elected parent leaders, not just parents hand-picked by the school administration; and

makes an effort to learn about the concerns of different groups of families in the school community and reaches out to diverse families.

Is our school ACCESSIBLE?

Our school:

sets a regular schedule for classroom observations;

gives families full access to the school building;

makes sure that administration and teachers set regular office hours to meet with families; and

holds frequent and open meetings that support parent schedules.


Our school:

provides workshops to help parents understand the data on school performance;

provides training for teachers and other school staff about how to communicate more effectively with parents and families and includes parents and family members;

provides training for parents on the school’s annual report card every year and how to interpret the results; and

provides information on the school’s test results and report cards and how to analyze them.


Our school:

recognizes a variety of groups, not just the “official” parent advisory group;

provides information and the use of facilities and office supplies and machines such as the copier and fax;

helps arrange for food, activities for younger children and transportation; and

encourages teachers and administrators to speak at meetings.

1.)        Identify the activities from the list that you agree should be implemented at your school.


2.)        How can you demonstrate leadership to model practices which change the attitudes and behaviors to support decision making and advocacy by parents?