This is an important issue to me. We have parents who WANT to be involved in their child’s education, but they don’t know how. Every year I have students who do well on Spelling tests and that’s about it. Parents know HOW to help their students in Spelling. Many really don’t know how to help in other areas.
PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNICATION:
When Dr. Cooter worked with kindergarten, we had EXTREMELY well-attended “Million Dollar” nights (one night a year). At those programs, Dr. Cooter presented the kindergarten parents with important information about how success in school translates into $$$$$$$$$$. Additionally, she presented demonstrations of how to work/interact with a child to improve their reading. Kindergarten teachers were on hand to demonstrate with students and parents followed suit. The Imagination Library also took part in this event. I’d like to see more of this. It would be great to have a Math activity night and a Reading activity night each year – something MUCH more than an AR night. Parents WANT to contribute, they just don’t know exactly how.
Also, regarding community involvement: I know of a company that decided to get involved in education in Lauderdale County. They had a factory wide meeting where all of the employees were derided for their lack of education. It sounded insulting and counter-productive.
I wish we could have a poster contest – DID YOU CHECK MY BACKPACK? I’ve always felt that if every parent checked backpacks daily they would get better information but MORE IMPORTANTLY STUDENTS WOULD KNOW THAT THEIR PARENTS CARE ABOUT THEIR EDUCATION. Of course, once puberty hits, the whole backpack thing goes out the window (voice of experience), but by then the kids have gotten the message.
Volunteers: Our current PTO tries, but they shut out a lot of parents. I’d like to have a volunteer coordinator. I have a project right now that I’d like done and I know who to call to do it. I just haven’t found the time to get it organized.
Teacher websites – these are becoming a more and more effective tool. I’ve actually got parents who check my website this year. In order for this to work, there needs to be MUCH MORE PD AND MUCH BETTER PD IN THIS AREA. ADDITIONALLY YOU CAN’T EXPECT TEACHERS TO GO TO ALL THE WORK OF PUTTING A SITE TOGETHER AND THEN COMPLETELY CHANGE THE FORMAT. I’d rather get the job done with a blog where parents can leave comments and questions. That’s what Marzano says is more effective (interactive media that is, not necessarily blogging).
A survey “found litte interest in decisions regarding the hiring and firing of teachers or principals. However, parents were very interested in decision regarding programs and practices that bore directly on the achievement of their children.” (p. 49)
There you go, time for some “Million Dollar Math and Reading” nights!
1. Establish communications vehicles between school and parents/community.
Phone calls – YES they are time consuming
Auto phone calls – we have the technology – why isn’t it used more often? Half day, photos, PTO meeting, PAS tests, have a great week!
Internet – see above
Home Visits – I’m proud that Pre-K does these
PT Conferences – I make appointments – MY parents are MUCH happier. I’m ashamed and embarrassed at how badly some schools handle these – long lines – panels of 3 or 4 teachers versus a parent – I’VE HEARD TONS OF COMPLAINTS every year ABOUT THESE – PARENTS ARE ANGRY AND FEEL LIKE THEY ARE BEING GANGED UP ON. This needs re-thinking.
2. Multiple ways for parents/ community to be involved day-to-day in running of school
I WISH WE COULD GET THEM TO MONITOR LUNCH INSTEAD OF AIDS! (Train them and don’t them monitor their own child’s lunch.)
HOW ABOUT EARLY DUTY? or LATE DUTY?
Whatever happened to Adopt-a-School?
I’d love to hear more about the programs mentioned on P. 50.
3. Governance vehicles that allow for parent/community participation.
SIP and SACS are lip service only.
I think it’s difficult to involve parents and not end up with a gripe session. It would be cool if there were a Superintendents/Principals/Parents Study Council sometime. Parents would feel like they have an opportunity to learn and give positive input.
We have various booster clubs which struggle with getting parent involvement. This might improve if they also received some recognition from superintendent and principals and teachers. Dutch Treat appreciation dinner at the beginning of the year – communicate some budgeting tips and requirements, line up some info on fundraising, allow for parents and groups to network better.