Parental Engagement

schoolHundreds of articles, books, studies explore the subject of parental involvement and its effect on students’ academic success. Schools offer suggestions listed on the website for parents choosing or use as guidelines. One aspect of this complex affair is the school district’s philosophy that may differ from a parent perspective. Typical parental engagement frames like classroom volunteering still recommended, although several studies show the lack of positive impact on children’s learning, don’t fit the 21st-century parent lifestyle. Parent’s critical voice and involvement are most effective outside the classroom. Be your children’s learning coach, help them enrich their educational life, utilizing available resources, develop strategies with the teacher’s help and guidance to improve performance in struggling subject areas. All essential for student’s academic success and attainable with parent’s help at home. We must collaborate with teachers consistently, beyond the teacher-parent conference. Dinner table conversations are routine in our household. “How was your day in school?” and “What did you learn today?”. The revealing answers may surprise you.

I attend meetings on the district level, participate in school events, activities and both of us, [parents] are present for the teacher-parent conference.

Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) another form of engagement, and a place for parents express themselves, but, its scope narrowly focused on pecuniary achievement and contribution to the school in my experience. There are PTO’s with a much broader range, that empower parents with information, resources concerning education policies, developing educational materials, and answering questions tailored to individual family necessity. A PTO I prefer.
Regardless the involvement we choose as part of students’ education, we cannot succeed alone. The emphasis often falls on parent commitment in children’s educational achievement, but, an effective parental engagement happens with teachers’ and administrators’. We have a shared responsibility in students intellectual development, therefore, building a strong partnership is a key element to fulfill the common goal.

School website’s uneasy browsing to obtain information in the era of abundant technology is unacceptable. Communicating upcoming events, meetings to local “printed” media’s classified section is as passe as the corded home telephone. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a printed newspaper or magazine. Social media platforms offer an unequivocal access to connect and communicate with parents, through chats, (#AskMe), share information, and resources. For example, a recent report finds many Americans get their news from social media, even though they don’t consider it a news source, yet news outlets use it to extend reader’s reach. A preferred approach of social media compared to an advertising slot for school sponsors. Families, parents want to feel welcome in the school and in the decision process. Discussion of students’ development beyond the report card or the teacher-parent conference raises awareness, giving parents a chance to assist. School work, assessments is the window into our children’s continuous academic learning, so it’s imperative those papers reach us consistently and promptly for real-time feedback.
District administrators cannot isolate themselves as the impervious body of our education system in the parent’s eyes. Nothing eliminates the inauspicious inception of granting undeniable influence and access of businesses, community partners ahead of parents’ opinion. School administrators’ unremitting allegiance to parents’ valued input and engagement along with adequate communication, interaction is the fundamental source for an efficacious parental involvement and partnership.