As mentioned in previous posts, many of the hardest to involve parents are distrustful of the school and its staff. Schools need to work proactively toward building trust with families if they want the parents/guardians to be more involved. Trust building is a critical step in getting parents more involved in the life of the school.
There are some ways for teachers to build trust:
1. Send parents an introductory letter at the beginning of the year
2. Talk to parents outside of school and arrival and departure times
3. Do not sit behind your desk at conference time. Sit face-to-face with the parent
4. Pay attention to your body language. Begin the conference with positive statements about the student
5. Make good news telephone calls and send weekly written and oral communications to parents about positive classroom activities
6. Listen to what parents have to say before you make your point to ensure that they feel understood
7. Tell parents about yourself and your interests
Building trust with hard to involve parents may take a year or more of constant effort. But stick with it. It can pay off with increased parent involvement, communications, and understanding of the school as well as the needs of students.