Getting Parents More Involved in Your School
In a recent Public Agenda survey, 78% of teachers responding reported that “too many parents don’t know what is going on with their child’s education.” Most teachers report that parental participation drops greatly with each year a child attends, starting in the elementary grades. While the reasons for decreased participation vary tremendously, most teachers agree that more parental involvement would help children succeed in school. This week, we provide five ways to increase a parent’s interest or participation in their child’s schooling.
This Week's Tips
Include Parent Information in Your Newsletter (Monday)
Create a permanent spot on the front page of your newsletter or Web page specifically for notes to parents. Here you can include event dates, classroom needs, and acknowledgments of parents who have volunteered. If you have a Web site, be sure to regularly update the parent page or section. This simple act sends an important message to parents that you value (and expect) their participation.
Create a Homework Help Sheet for Parents (Tuesday)
Provide parents with suggestions for giving effective homework support to middle or secondary students. Many parents have a difficult time knowing how to support a child trying to complete academic work at home. For many parents, the subject matter their child is studying may be unfamiliar, and parents may feel inadequate when trying to help with or check their child’s homework. You can help parents be more effective by providing a list of specific actions a parent can take to support students when completing homework.
Give Parents Ideas for Getting Involved (Wednesday)
Suggest ways parents can get involved in school activities. Ideas should be broad, such as volunteering in the classroom, organizing a fundraiser for a piece of equipment or materials you wish to purchase for the class, or having parents work as liaisons with community businesses or organizations to collaborate on school projects. Remember to suggest both small and big ways a parent can become involved in their child’s class. Give parents specific information they need to get involved, such as the phone number of an involved parent or actions to take to get a project rolling. Point out the numerous benefits that parents can reap from getting involved.
Organize a Culminating Event for the Course (Thursday)
Design and organize a culminating event to rally student interest and parent involvement in your classes. Consider putting on a benefit event, competition, or performance to highlight the achievements your students have made over the year. Tie the event to the curriculum your students are studying. Create specific jobs for parents and then post them in your newsletter. Start early enough in the year to generate interest and to enlist support from parents for the event.
Market Your School to Increase Parental Participation (Friday)
Consider creating a marketing or public relations campaign for your school to increase parental participation. Work together with other teachers or administrators to design the campaign. Clearly define your goals for the campaign and then formulate the message you want to send. Focus not only on the school’s achievements and direction, but also emphasize it’s importance and place in the community. Parents are more likely to become involved in their child’s school if they get positive messages about it and see it as a welcoming environment to community members.