Supporting the development of the SEPAC involves helping members to develop skills which will allow them to leverage the beneficial aspects of conflict while still treating each other with mutual respect. At an individual level, this requires an understanding of one’s own worldview (culture) and how it is reflected in one’s own attitudes and behavior. It also necessitates that one acquires values, principles, areas of knowledge, attributes and skills in order to work in cross cultural situations in a sensitive and effective manner. These skills are sometimes referred to as cultural competence or intercultural collaboration.
To gain understanding of the team action planning process or TAPP (see description under TAPP below), all of the Institute attendees will participate in a model exercise to identify how to increase parent involvement in SEPACs. The teams will then use this TAPP process to develop a needs-driven action plan specific to their own district.
Deep listening helps us to lower our fear and discomfort level by establishing a sense of safety and trust. It is an explicit practice of bypassing stereotypes and bias by focusing on listening to another person without responding or judging. It sets the tone for building on commonalities and generates energy for change
Supporting parents to become effective and authentic contributors to your SEPAC and to quality improvement in your district is an intentional process. It requires logistical support for the participants to remove barriers to participation and assist everyone to develop the skills to participate with success. Ignoring critical issues can undermine your SEPAC and create a sense of frustration and/or failure to achieve your desired outcomes of increased parent involvement.
Family advisors are first and foremost story tellers of their own experiences. PFAC advisors are called upon to reflect and report on their personal experiences with access to healthcare and of the quality of services. Learning to tell a personal story in such a manner that creates change without embarrassment or over exposure is a critical skill.
Overview of the evolution of Parent Leadership and Involvement from 1930’s to the present time.
The ORID method can be adapted by parents or professionals for any type of meeting. This technique is useful to generate a sense of accomplishment and excitement about what has been learned. It also promotes clarity among the participants and helps to avoid misunderstandings.
Improving communication skills around respectful conversations allows diverse, and perhaps controversial, perspectives of team members to all be given consideration. Discussions, regardless of the topic sensitivity, should occur respectfully, leading to better working relationships and greater understanding of the perspective of all PFAC members. Difficult conversations are ones in which opinions differ; the stakes are high; and/or emotions run strong. Most families and professionals say situations leading to difficult conversations happen to them daily. Situations that involve children often have high stakes. Parents and professionals have strong feelings about many topics, and opinions will differ in large and small ways.
A key feature of the APPLE project is the development of a Team Action Plan by each school district team using the Team Action Planning Process (TAPP). TAPP, a consensus-driven process, leads each team through a facilitated process to create a vision, action steps and timelines. The TAPP is a method of exploring group beliefs and goals before choosing a primary event or activity to carry out. Beginning with the identification of a common goal, team members choose attainable target objectives and determine the process most likely to successfully attract collaborators and supporters. To honor the individual “personalities” of each team, TAPP is adaptable and able to be customized to meet the needs of the Team. Each team is assigned a faculty facilitator (with access to all faculty and staff as requested) to guide the Team to the completion of its unique plan.
True Colors is a highly regarded, commercially developed tool which is an adapted version of a Myers-Briggs inventory. Users complete a self-inventory tool to identify to which of four color types they belong. By identifying their type and gaining a deeper understanding of how personality impacts preferences and behaviors, it becomes easier to collaborate with others. True Colors and similar tools provide an increased understanding of self and others by expanding the appreciation for the differences among individuals. It offers a universal language that accelerates problem solving, increases trust, and reduces conflict. True Colors has been used successfully with many family-professional partnership teams to help them work collaboratively.