Why Does the TIPS Process
How to Implement a TIPS
Interactive Homework and the Six Types of Involvement
Educators are increasingly aware of the importance of involving parents
in the education of their children. Research shows that parent involvement
improves student achievement. When parents are involved, children do better
in school. Parental encouragement and assistance contribute to students'
higher achievement, report card grades, better attitudes, and higher aspirations.
Some families already are partners with their children's schools and encourage
their children to work hard as students. However, most families say that
they need more information and guidance from schools in order to know
how to help their children at home. As children move from one grade to
the next, families need information and assistance to understand the schools
and to know how to talk with, monitor, encourage, and guide their children
Teachers play a critical role in whether families are involved in their
children's education each year. By providing useful information and skills
on how to help at home, teachers can encourage parents to talk with and
work with their children. When parents are assisted in this way, they
become more aware of their children's school program, interact with their
children more, and reinforce the teacher's goals for better schoolwork.
When parents are knowledgeable partners, students see that their teachers
and parents are communicating about schoolwork, and they become more aware
of their parents' abilities to talk about schoolwork and school decisions
Teachers have helped design, implement,
and test a teacher-parent partnership process called Teachers
Involve Parents in Schoolwork (TIPS) Interactive Homework. With
TIPS, any teacher can regularly, and relatively easily, help all
families stay informed and involved in their children's learning
activities at home, and help all students complete homework that
should promote greater success in school.
TIPS features homework assignments that require students to talk
to someone at home about something interesting that they are learning
in class. TIPS helps solve some important problems with homework:
- It helps all families become
involved, not just the few who know how to discuss math or science
or other subjects.
- It makes homework the student's
responsibility and does not ask parents to "teach" subjects
or skills that they are not prepared to teach.
- It asks students to share and
enjoy their work, ideas, and progress with their families.
It allows families
to comment and request other information from teachers in
a section for home-to-school communication.
With TIPS, homework becomes a three-way partnership involving
students, families, and teachers at the elementary, middle,
or high school levels. Families immediately recognize and
appreciate the efforts of teachers to keep them informed and
involved. The TIPS activities keep school on the agenda at
home so that children know that their families believe schoolwork
is important and worth talking about. Students need as much
guidance as parents about how to keep their families aware
of and involved in the work they do in school. Over time,
as TIPS activities are used each year, students get the idea
that their teachers want their families to know about what
they are learning and participate in homework.
for TIPS Interactive Homework2
- Build students' confidence by
requiring them to show their work, share ideas, gather reactions,
interview parents, or conduct other interactions with a family
- Link schoolwork with real-life
- Help parents understand more
about what their children are learning in school.
- Encourage parents and children
to talk regularly about schoolwork and progress.
- Enable parents and teachers
to frequently communicate about children's work, progress, or
Does the TIPS Process Work?
- Can be used with any text or
- Helps teachers organize homework
into manageable, focused segments.
- Emphasizes connections between
school and home.
- Involves the child as an active
learner and guides students to share and demonstrate their skills
to show parents what they are learning.
- Offers opportunities to link
homework to the real world experiences of children and families.
- Provides families with the information
they ask for on how to help at home each year.
- Emphasizes mastery of basic
and advanced skills.
There are a few key steps to develop
a TIPS Interactive Homework program.
to Implement a TIPS Program?
- Teachers should examine existing
TIPS manuals and prototype activities
to see how the program works. Teachers must decide which of
the available assignments are useful to them, or whether to
design new interactive homework to match their own curriculum.
- Teachers must explain the TIPS
process and purposes to students and to their parents (family
partners). This may be done in letters to the home, discussions
with students in class, presentations at parent meetings, and
in other ways. Special attention is needed to inform and involve
parents with limited English or reading proficiency.
- Teachers assign the activities
to students weekly or every other week. Students follow directions
in sharing their skills and activities with their parents or
another family partner.
- Family partners provide feedback
to their children's teachers in a section for "home-to-school
communication" that is included in every TIPS activity. (See
the Sample TIPS prototypes
(Link to Sample TIPS activities) for an example of a home-to-school
- Teachers evaluate their students'
work and family comments, and design new or adapt and improve
existing activities as needed.
J. L., Salinas, K. C., Jackson, V. E., and educators in Baltimore
City Public School System, (1995). TIPS (Teachers Involve Parents
in Schoolwork) manual for teachers: Language arts, science/health,
and math interactive homework in the middle grades. Baltimore,
MD: Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Johns
J. L., Van Voorhis, F. E., & Salinas, K. C. (2000). TIPS Development
Guidelines. Baltimore: Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships,
Johns Hopkins University.
of SIX Types of Involvement
A framework of six major
types of involvement has evolved from many studies and from many years
of work by educators and families in elementary, middle, and high schools.
The framework helps educators develop more comprehensive programs of school,
family, and community partnerships and also helps researchers locate their
questions and results in ways that inform and improve practice.1
TIPS Interactive Homework is an example of a Type 4 (Learning at Home)
all families establish home environments to support children as
effective forms of school-to-home communications about school
programs and children's progress.
and organize parent help and support.
information and ideas to families about how to help students at
home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions,
parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives.
and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen
school programs, family practices, and student learning and development.
For more information about
developing a comprehensive program of school, family, and community
partnerships, visit the National
Network of Partnership Schools.
to Overview of TIPS Interactive Homework
Epstein, J. L.
(1995). School/family/community partnerships: Caring for the
children we share. Phi Delta Kappan. (May), 701-712.