Welcome to the Bellingham Family Partnership Program
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We promise to inspire learning and support families because together we achieve more!
Welcome to the Family Partnership Program Library!
How much time are FPP students and families required to be on site?
This program is intended to be supplementary to home-based instruction, therefore the majority of time should be at home honoring that time. Your family will get to pick what courses to enroll in and therefore determine your schedule. We expect about 3-4 classes for the youngest students, 4-6 for mid-level students and 6-8 for our older students as a maximum. You are not required to enroll for that many, but that would probably be considered the maximum in order to maintain the balance for home-based instruction. Our hope is that families won’t feel that they need to be on campus any more than they want to, while also maintaining an open, accessible campus.
What is required to be enrolled?
As a public school program, we have two major requirements regarding time. Our staff must make weekly contact and hold a monthly review with families. We are also required to develop a written student learning plan (WSLP).
Weekly contact is a requirement by the state to ensure the family partnership program is maintaining contact with families and claiming funding for actively enrolled families. Weekly contact can be accomplished several ways. For example, your child attending a class with a certificated teacher is contact. If for some reason your child misses a class, we can meet the requirement through a simple email, phone call or even Skype. For this reason we would like to have students enrolled for a minimum of one course. However, if your family wants to participate in FPP but not attend regular courses, we have other means of meeting the weekly contact.
Monthly reviews are not intended to be a significant reporting session. They are an opportunity for the families to share what they have been working on, bounce ideas off another adult and receive support, if needed. The review is a chance for us to make adjustments to the WSLP. The WSLP is a fluid document that should be flexible and adjusted regularly to reflect your child’s current learning. This will not be a time where we question, judge or look for check boxes to be filled. Rather, it is a time to reflect, share and honor the hard work you are doing. We prefer that most of these occur in person, but other arrangements can be made if/when necessary.
What about other community activities and clubs not related to the courses?
We are planning to not have courses on Fridays. We would prefer to leave it open for reviews, meetings and other community opportunities. For example, families may want to organize clubs, reading groups, learning co-ops, excursions, field trips, community meals or other community gathering opportunities. We would also like to include other homeschool families in these activities, even if they are not enrolled in the program.
Do we have access to the building outside of our class time?
The campus is open to families for use outside of their class time. You should feel welcome on campus to meet with others, gather for activities, come for study time and resources, etc. We will be open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Family spaces include the family lounge, multi-purpose room, curriculum library and library. There are also outdoor spaces like the playground, gym, garden and gazebo. We ask that you supervise your children if you use these spaces.
What is required with the written student learning plan (WSLP)?
Every WSLP is individualized to each learner; families work with teachers to develop a WSLP. Teachers are the primary author, as required by the state, but it is a collaborative endeavor to develop the WSLP. We are not requiring that you have a WSLP for every area you are instructing at home or for every content area. We will develop them for the areas in which you would like to receive support in (support being purchasing curriculum and monthly review with a certificated teacher) and for the courses you’re enrolling in. WSLPs for on-site courses are very similar to a course syllabus including a course description, learning goals and objectives, timeline of activities, materials used and progress assessment. All of these elements are included for home-based instruction WSLPs too.
What about a WSLP for other topics of interest?
We can also develop WSLPs for individual studies. For example, one family wanted to study the development of time around the world after visiting Greenwich and discussing Greenwich Mean Time. We collaboratively developed a learning plan that included the materials, experiments and activities the family and student wanted to include and identified the standards in science, social studies and English language arts what would be covered by the course.
We do not need to include every standard in every content area on the WSLP. They are to be individualized. That means every student’s learning pace and needs can be reflected in the plan. Further, they are reviewed every month and can be changed to continue to reflect and meet your student’s learning needs.
How do I access curriculum materials?
Enrollment in the partnership provides curriculum materials support. Once a learning plan is developed, support materials and curriculum will be identified to support the learning goals and objectives. We buy/access needed materials, and families will check them out. We can also provide workbooks (consumables) that are in support of the learning goals. Those are used by students and do not need to be returned. We have a recommended curriculum list and other materials for check out such as manipulatives and science supplies. Materials must be non-biased and free of religious content for us to purchase them.
How does assessment work at the program?
Yes, all homeschool families are required to do some type of assessment, even if not participating in the program. There are several options for families. We will be offering seats for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Families may also work with other local home-school agencies that offer other assessments to meet the requirement. If you enroll less than 80% you are not required to participate in the state assessment (SBAC), however you must complete some other type of assessment as outlined in the state law. We will also be looking into a portfolio option that is offered by the state, along with other supports to assist families regarding assessment.
Choice and flexibility are important to our family. How does the program support that?
The Family Partnership Program offers a lot of choice and flexibility. As a family you may choose to enroll in the program as an option with in the Bellingham Public Schools. You also have flexibility in determining the level of enrollment (see part time or dual enrollment section), the areas you wish to have support in and the courses you would like to experience.
How will you meet my child’s individual learning needs?
We are committed to focusing on your child’s learning level and needs. While we may ask about “grade level” to help with context, we believe that every student has a range and pace of learning that is to each his/her own. A benefit to enrolling in our program is that families are partners in determining what that looks like and in fact they are both the architect and builder. Developing a WSLP collaboratively allows us to individualize the learning plans. Every student in the program has a path specific to them; no two learning plans are exactly alike. We will go through standards and learning activities and decide together what the plan looks like. We do not need to include every standard, but we’ll focus on standards that make the most sense for your learner.
What is part-time or dual enrollment?
We can offer dual enrollment if your student has a course or service that they would access at their neighborhood school. For example, as a middle school student you may want to access the Washington State History course that is required for graduation or an advance math class for high school credit. We can also share enrollment if your student receives services through our Special Education department.
The level of enrollment is also up to you. Your family chooses whether to enroll full-time or part-time. We work on the level of enrollment through the WSLP development. The number of courses or home-based instruction hours will determine your level of enrollment (ex: kindergarten, up to 10 hours per week; first to third grades, 20 hours per week; and for fourth to eighth grades, 25-30 per week). Please note that these numbers are flexible and subject to change based on state requirements.
What do the courses look like?
Families have asked for courses that are hands-on, interdisciplinary and highly engaging. They have also asked that we offer activities that are “hard to do in the kitchen sink” and better done with a group. We are building course offerings that fit those requests. We hope to provide the hands-on application of course work in order to honor home-based instruction (where the core instruction likely occurs).
How will the program develop?
We will grow with lots of support and input from our families! Growing a program is a wonderful opportunity for the Bellingham community, and it’s exciting for families to get in at the ground level to help build a program that reflects the wants, needs and hopes for the Bellingham homeschool community. We can’t promise everything, but we can promise that this will be a community that honors families as the primary instructors of their children; offers a place to gather, share and care one another; lends resources and support at the level families request it; and is a great place for learning. There will be some bumps along the way (as there are with most great adventures!).
Our beginning vision statement is, “We promise to INSPIRE learning and SUPPORT families, because TOGETHER we ACHIEVE more!”