Simply put, students succeed when families are engaged. There are tons of ideas to increase parent involvement out there, but how effective are they?
While students benefit from family engagement so to do teachers and schools. Researchers tell us that when parents are engaged in their student’s education, students complete more homework, score higher on tests and in grades, and graduate at higher rates. The monkey in the wrench is how to engage families.
Parent engagement should be considered a collaboration between school and parents. As a parent, I have often been intimidated by teachers or by principals, even with all of my experience in schools. I remember encouraging one of my sons to strive to reading level G in first grade. His teacher took me to task for making academics a competitive sport. I felt embarrassed and chastised. I certainly did not feel that I was collaborating with the teacher or school for my son to succeed.
While I will share several suggestions for actions that schools can take to engage parents, the critical factor to parent engagement is often the personal factor.
Does the parent feel welcome, supported and celebrated in the school? So as you build a parent engagement strategy, emphasize often, to all involved, that it is the personal moments with parents that will bring them in or push them out of school involvement. We all need parents to be involved to succeed!
Practical Ideas to Increase Parent Involvement in Schools
- Provide parents with an explanation and several examples of one reading and one math strategy each month that they can use consistently with their children.
- Start the school year with a positive note to parents about their student’s performance in school.
- Send personal invitations to parents to attend assemblies that celebrate learning and recognize student achievement.
- Showcase parent engagement participation in school newsletters following each event.