Know, Like and Trust, The Key to Effective Parent Involvement

Family Writing Night

Family Writing Night

Increasing parent involvement in a school is a multifaceted process.
Many parents are busy, struggling, preoccupied, and distrustful of public
agencies, including schools. Despite this, they can be encouraged to be
more involved in the schools as volunteers, committee representatives, or
working with their children at home. Schools must create an environment
in which all parents know, like, and trust (KLT) the school, its policies and
practices, and the staff.

This concept is at the heart of our new Training Kit, Parent Involvement Action Packets for K-12 Schools.This Kit is all about providing the school and parent group with 20 “Done for You” Activities designed to quickly get your parent program to new height of involvement.

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Tips for Encouraging Parent Involvement

j03995041.jpgThe evidence is is pretty clear that parent involvement equals student achievement. When parents are more involved in school lots of good outcomes like better discipline, higher attendance rates and achievement can begin to happen. also setting up a volunteer program at you school can be easier than you may think.

Here are a few tips to help you make a difference in this important aspect of parent involvement in schools.

Provide training for volunteers.

  • Make sure that volunteers understand their responsibilities and role at the school. make sure that they understand the school’s discipline code

Help your valued volunteers feel special

  • Provide them a ‘volunteer of the month” parking space. Carve out a space somewhere near the school entrance. Make a special sign just for them

Recruit parents and community members by “special invitation”

  • Send them a letter and/or phone call from the principal. Parents will more readily respond positively if they know that they have been personally considered to serve the school in some capacity.

Honor you volunteers with a special breakfast or luncheon event

  • Ask you PTO or PTA for financial support. Provide certificates to all volunteers. Read tributes from the students to their volunteer tutor.

If you desire to build a truly vibrant volunteer program these tips will start you on your way.

7 Reasons Your Parent Engagement Efforts are in the Basement

Parent involvement in education is a complex task not unlike so many other facets of helping students succeed. If you want to grow the parent involvement program at you school or in your Title I program, you need to be aware of some key mistakes that are commonly made. Some of them are the result of lack of attention, but most are caused by a lack a coordinated plan.

So, here are some reasons your program is not doing very well when it comes to parent involvement in schools.

  • Your parents don’t know you or your staff
    • Parents won’t willingly become involved in the school unless they know you the principal or your teaching staff. They may feel unwelcome or just uncertain of what the school and its staff is all about. Parents need to know you and your staff and like you as people first, not just those in charge of the school. Go out of your way to meet parents, whether its in the parking lot or on the street, create a positive personal connection. It will pay benefits in greater school involvement.
  • Parent don’t like you or your school program
    • Some parents may come to the school as a last resort because they have had bad experiences in the past. You may not even be the reason but, we as people, tend to generalize negative experiences to the institution. Make sure that your school is communicating regularly with the parent community through a school newsletter (you do have one, right?), and other channels.
  • Parents don’t trust you or your schools staff
    • Developing trust with the school community takes time because parents can be distrustful of the school and its staff. The rumor mill goes into high gear every time there is some sort of negative event or incident at the school. Your best defense is to have built strong relationships with parents and community before trouble brews or incidents can be blown way out of proportion by rumors. Strong relationships build positive feelings about you and the staff.
  • Only communicating with parents when there is a problem
    • Parents will usually become agitated when they receive a call from the school that is not positive. But if you have built up strong partnerships with parents they are much more likely to approach negative issues as a partner with you, working for the achievement of their child.
  • Not forming a Parent Action Team
    • Using a team approach to parent involvement provides many benefits. A “divide and conquer” approach makes for staff and parent “buy in”. The workload decreases and ideas generated from the group give you a host of great ideas for involving parents in the life of the school.
  • Not examining the friendliness of you school
    • Taking a look at the school from the parents’ and communities’ perspective is a good way to encourage more parents to come to school. So, pretend that you are a visitor to your school. Take a walk outside and take a look at the signs on the front door. Are they parent-friendly, or are they negative, with warnings that basically scream keep out?
  • Not making it easy for parents to become involved in school
    • Like all of us, parents lead busy lives. They need a compelling reason to become more involved in school and with their children. Provide a variety of experiences and times that parents can become involved. Offer a range of opportunities from chaperoning a field trip to working in the school office a few hour a week.

    When parents know, like and trust the school they will be more inclined to support you and the staff. When they feel that there are valued and respected they will work more closely with the school as a partner in the education of their children.