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Bill Would Label Welcoming Schools “Family Friendly”

The bill's author says schools may use the designation as a recruiting tool.

Students getting off a bus

Photo: Bil Shaw/WTIU News

How parents are treated at a school will affect whether it's labeled "family friendly".

A bill that aims to create “family friendly” schools in Indiana is headed to the full House for consideration after earning the endorsement of the chamber‘s education committee. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Mary Ann Sullivan (D-Indianapolis), says it would require the Indiana Department of Education to invite community organizations that promote parental involvement to assess factors such as how parents are greeted at a school’s front desk

“The purpose of the program is to create a designation for Indiana schools, [the] Indiana Family Friendly Schools designation, that would recognize and honor really excellent practice with engaging families in school life,” Sullivan says.

Sullivan believes schools will want to seek the designation in order to attract students.

“In an environment of increasing choice in public education, I think that it‘s really great to be able to help families have a shorthand version, a quick way of knowing which schools are welcoming to them,” she says.

Schools could voluntarily ask for the assessment in hopes of winning a “family friendly” seal of approval. Sullivan says it is part of an effort to bridge the gap between poor communication with teachers and parental disinterest.

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