The school-parent compact is a written agreement between teachers and parents. It is a document that clarifies what families and schools can do to help children reach high academic standards. Every school receiving Title I funds must develop a compact. The compact serves as a clear reminder of everybody's responsibility to take action at school and at home so that children can learn what is required of them. It is a written commitment indicating how all members of a school community -- parents, teachers, principals, students, and concerned community members -- agree to share responsibility for student learning.
The purpose of this agreement is to help parents and teachers come to a consensus on the responsibilities of the individuals influencing student's achievement. However, the underlying assumption is that a student's academic success will improve when the home and school work together. Overall, if the compact is taken seriously and implemented effectively it will assure that there will be support for the academic success of the student by enhancing effective communications between school and the home.
To ensure that the compact is understood by all parties involved, many parents and teachers will need new skills to bridge language, cultural, economic, and social barriers and to build trust relationships between home and school. Parents and teachers need to communicate in a language they both understand in order that compacts reflect the needs and culture of the home as well as those of the student. In addition, meetings should be scheduled at times and places sensitive to work requirements.
If written effectively and with the input of all concerned parties, the compact can serve as a valuable tool to effectively and meaningfully engage the school and the home in supporting the academic development and needs of the students. The process involved in the development of the compact is its real strength. When parents and school officials sit down and discuss issues related to student success, parents are given a sense of voice and time to think about their responsibilities, while schools are given a strong starting point at developing and sustaining momentum around communicating with families and developing relationships.