The main purpose of this project is to help instructors tie the Crossroads Café Curriculum to school involvement, in order to make it more useful for parent programs and family literacy programs.  By doing this, we hope to accomplish the following objectives:

1.  Increase parents’ involvement in their children’s schools.

2.  Increase parents’ understanding of their local school systems.

3.  Increase literacy and communication in the home.

4.  Increase understanding of the needs of LEP students and their families by school personnel.

5.  Increase interaction between LEP and non-LEP families, leading to a better appreciation of diversity in the community.

This is not intended to be a curriculum or a series of lesson plans.  These are suggestions for activities that can be implemented with the Crossroads Café curriculum to help promote school involvement.  In some cases, tying school involvement was easy, such as Unit 2, which deals with permission slips and work study programs, and Unit 21, which deals with study techniques and school assessment.  In some cases, it was a bit of a stretch, but we attempted to include as many pertinent facets of the school system as possible.

The articles and Internet sites are suggestions only, and it is expected that these will change over time.  They are really meant to be resources and examples, and it is hoped that individual teachers will collect other articles from a variety of different sources, such as magazines and newspapers, which tie into the subject matter of Crossroads Café.  Many of these articles have a low reading level, and can be read by intermediate ESL students.  In multi-level classes, more advanced students can read the articles and then present the information to the beginning students.  Other articles and websites are intended as resource material for the teacher and may be used as background material or may be summarized or simplified for the students to read.

Since the authors of this project come from a background of Family Literacy, it was natural to want to include children’s literature in this project.  We have suggested at least one children’s picture book that ties into the theme or themes of each Crossroads Café unit.  Many of these come from our personal backgrounds of rearing and teaching young children over a period of thirty years.  In doing this project, we found a wonderful resource, The Children’s Picture Book Database at Miami University: http://www.lib.muohio.edu/pictbks/    We also made use of reviews found on Amazon.com.  Another resource was the Jim Trelease Read Aloud Handbook.  Jim Trelease has a website at http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/, which you might find useful.

In most of the units, we suggest using school forms and documents that pertain to the lesson.  To make things easier, the teacher might want to visit local schools and obtain documents and information on school policies before starting the program.  Following are some of the suggested items to use with Crossroads Café lessons:

Document                                                                                                       Episode

Emergency Contact Card                                                                                         1

Permission Slips                                                                                                       2

Information on district work experience program                                                      2

Policy on parent volunteers in the school                                                                   2

School career day, job shadowing programs, and career counseling                           3

Bilingual Education programs                                                                                    4

School discipline policy                                                                                             5

Schedules for typical school days at local schools                                                      6

Computer use agreement/School computer policy                                                      8

After-school programs                                                                                               8

School personnel--names and pictures, if possible                                                      9

Consumer Economics Curriculum                                                                              10

Policies on gangs and vandalism                                                                                 12

Kindergarten readiness test                                                                                        13

Policy on make-up work                                                                                           14

Policy on absences (excused and unexcused), and illness (short and long-term)           14

School policies on public displays of affection and school dances                                15

District specialists for learning disabilities and other special needs,                               16

Also Early Intervention programs.

Bond issues, school building improvements                                                                 17

Warnings found in the school building                                                                         17

Policy/Rules on playground safety                                                                               18

School implementation of No Child Left Behind Law                                                  19

            Required standardized testing

Samples of report cards, information on the grading system                                        21

Information on parent/teacher conferences, sample of appointment slip                       22

School policy regarding birthday parties and bringing treats to school                         23

Applications for colleges and other educational programs                                           25        Information on SAT, ACT, and college placement tests                 

Each unit contains several sections including a brief synopsis of the Crossroads Cafe episode, field trips, guest speakers, web sites, discussion topics, school information or forms, family activity, research topic, and classroom activities.  Each section is designated by an icon and not all units include all sections.  A legend of the icons and what they represent is on the following page. 

We hope this handbook will inspire you to incorporate school activities in your program with your Crossroads Cafe curriculum