Home to School Connection: H2SC Series – Parental Involvement

 

Parental-involvement-in-education-leads-to-successful-students-stronger-schoolsEveryone; parent & schools alike talks about the importance of including families in students’ school lives, but most school, either through neglect or a sense of being overwhelmed—relegate it to only 2 major events

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTA)
  • Parents’ evenings.

That is just not enough; all schools can improve on this vital relationship by strengthening its communication with parents.

There are ways to make parents feel included in their child’s school life, and it’s always good to start at the very beginning, at the start of the school year; this will go a long way toward building positive relationships which will have a positive  knock on effect and will immensely benefit your students in particular and the school in general.

Building a positive relationship with families takes forethought and energy, but the payoff is enormous. It generates positive benefits for their own children and for the school environment at large. Parents who feel comfortable and included in their child’s education will be a bonus to everyone: you, the school, and, most important, the child.parent-teacher-conference

Some ways to improve parental involvements:

Customer Service in Schools: Schools like any other business needs to adopt a friendly and supported customer service model, which is welcoming and relaxing. So how can school adopt and communicate a customer-friendly atmosphere? This we agree could be challenging since not every “customer” comes to the school, but it is not impossible. It starts, with the little things perhaps, in the car park, security guards/personnel’s, the front desk, and these progresses outward to those who do not come to the school.

Make the initial contact positive. Your first direct communication with a family should be 100% positive. It’s not advisable to have the 1st contact a negative one, don’t wait for a problem to arise before reaching out. First impression they say…….

Whether it’s to welcome parents to school, share a positive anecdote, or simply say it’s a pleasure to have their child in class, you want to start on an optimistic note. Especially with students who seem to be struggling academically or behaviorally, it’s crucial the first contact is encouraging as this will help build a trusting relationship with families, because your next conversation with the parents may not be as sunny, grab the opportunity as early as possible.

Keep parents updated on classroom life. School can be downright mysterious to parents because so many kids return home with few details. The simple question from parent to child “How was school today?” is often met with the most unrevealing answers, namely, “Okay”, or a list of playground activities. Encourage parents to ask open ended questions – send them a list of leading questions; some examples of questiona for parents to ask their children, which stimulates conversation

  • What was the best part of the day?
  • Who did you play with today?
    1. Leading on to the next question why did you play with the child (make a note of who your kids play with week on week) show me your friend and I will tell you who you are.
  • What was the worst part of the day?
    1. And Why (helps catch bullying on time)
  • Best subject for the day
    1. Celebrate that achievment
  • Rank each subject 1best 5 not so good (see how many times a particular subject comes up and you know where your child is struggling)
  • Awards – Talk about it no matter how small – a sticker or compliment

Information overload: The Information Age has brought with it a lot more options for communication or lack of communication amongst parent and child too. Teachers and schools now more than ever, have more avenues to communicate and connect with parents. Are you using the available platforms?

You can help parents by sharing details about classroom life that will jump-start end-of-day conversations. This information must be clear, concise and educating. Schools should have a parent communication strategy, is it weekly, monthly or half termly?  What’s the content?  – Fund raising only or other educational aspect

If you have a class blog or website, let parents know how to access it and encourage them to use it by creating a platform for them to interact. This will help them feel more involved and encourage them to ask direct questions about goings-on in the classroom.

Not too late to review, implement or enhance your parent involvement strategy this school year.

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In this complex world, it takes more than a good school to educate children. And it takes more than a good home. It takes these two major educational institutions working together”. Dorothy Rich

Teachers, Even Superhero Teachers Can’t Do It All!

We all believe in the power of teachers, both positive and negative, on their students. I do think that teachers make a difference – but I cannot put all of my faith in these “superstar teachers” to reform the education system the way that is truly needed, or be the sole reason for my child’s performance this new school year and here’s why:
1.    Limited superhero teachers for the growing number of kids and schools.
The schools that desperately need some sort of superstar superheroes are often unable to pay them and cannot attract the skills into the areas they are needed most to make the change. If with some stroke of luck they do find this superhuman, they do not last and school cannot retain quality, teachers.
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2.    Superhero Teachers can fix most problems, but poverty is not one. Location! Location!! Location!!!.
Schools located in poverty and less access to basic amenities, have higher percentages of students living in poverty and have fewer resources available for teaching. They often have a persistent achievement gap and cannot afford superhero teachers to help bridge this cycle, cache 22 situation.
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3.    Teachers are normally only temporary fixtures at a school.
All good things must come to an end and superhero teachers are no exception. Teachers good or bad come and go, moving from school to school or on to different careers. As with all things in life they will be at various stages of their teaching career (early years of teaching or nearing retirement) and that do have an influence either directly or indirectly on student’s performance.
teaching is a work of the heart
4.    First teachers; should not be last teachers; parents need to become more involved.
 Parents are key to supporting, if not inspiring, life-long learning. When parents get involved with their children’s education, they tend to succeed academically and perform better on exams. Conversely, children, whose families are not as involved in their school experiences, are often unable to compete academically with peers.
Parents as partner

Superhero teacher or not, I think it is unfair to blame teachers solely for the performance of their students. I agree they play a critical role in shaping the young minds in their classrooms and should they be held accountable for that  O yes! But so as long as some children are routinely assigned the least-prepared teachers, attend schools in disrepair, make do with outdated technology and instructional materials, and have limited access to a broad and rich curriculum, our nation is still at risk.

However, it seems to me that the root of issues in classrooms that tend to cause the most problems for students failure (like poverty and ill-equipped or uninvolved parents) should be the target of any true reform.
Teachers cannot do this alone, there is a lot all parties involved (Government, Parents, School educators/ owner, teachers) can do to help eradicate the profound inequities among schools and students and to fulfill our great country deep need for reform. Are you working at this for this new school year?

Leaving you with this question? I TEACH SO WHAT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER?
Have a Happy new school year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!