It's all too easy for parents and teachers to be portrayed as being in opposition. Parents can sometimes get involved in ways that aren't productive, and it's unfortunate when beleaguered teachers begin to think of parents as the enemy. But there are wonderful stories out there of educators and families becoming true partners to improve the educational experience for everyone. I've gathered a collection of videos with examples of the many ways schools can build these powerful partnerships. These give actionable tips for both parents and teachers about how best to work together -- a topic which I know is of perpetual interest to everyone involved in education.
Video Playlist: Building Teacher-Parent Relationships
Keep watching the player below to see the rest of the playlist, or view it on YouTube.
- Putting Parents to Work in the Classroom (02:44)
An excellent case study from NBC's Education Nation on how the Logan Square Neighborhood Association in Chicago provided a bridge between its mostly Spanish-speaking parents and the local schools to build a parent mentoring program.
- Discover Today's PTA...Right Here, Right Now! (02:46)
It's not your mother's PTA. There may still be bake sales, but this venerable 115-year-old organization is now five million members strong and continues to make a difference. Learn more about the PTA on their website.
- ELL Parent Involvement (03:17)
The need for parents to take part in their child's education is magnified for English-language learners. The original video is quite long at 12 minutes. In this short segment, Spanish-speaking moms explain to other parents why getting involved with their children's schooling is so critical for success.
- Home Visit Blitz (04:58)
This hilarious video was made to prep teachers in Kentucky's Henderson County Schools before they embarked on their one-day "Home Visit Blitz" to try to connect with the families of every student in their K-12 district -- that's over 7,000 kids! Learn more from a local news article.
- The ABCs of Parent Involvement (14:48)
I know it's nearly 15 minutes, but this is a worthwhile in-depth profile of a district in Southern California that has been committed to deeply involving parents for more than two decades. The Teaching Channel shows us the breadth of their programs.
- Principles of Teaching - Partnership with Parents (05:22)
This training video from the UK shows new teachers speaking frankly about why parent-teacher communications can be challenging, and offers some thoughts on how to build productive relationships.
- YES Prep Cultivates Parent Engagement (05:32)
YES Prep North Central in Houston, Texas, involves families in a variety of ways, including family nights, frequent check-ins, and learning contracts signed by the student and the parents before the kids enter sixth grade.
- Parent Involvement in Schools (06:00)
I was tickled to hear fifth and sixth graders speak up about what it means for their parents to be involved in their school. This video is actually geared towards parents, and it's the second half of a longer show; check out part one here.
- Family Reading Night - Tales from a Teacher's Heart (04:36)
Yes, the narration here is a little saccharine, but I love the idea of family reading nights for elementary schools. You can even find a free Family Reading Night planning kit from PTO Today.
- Joe Mazza on Home & School 2.0 (18:28)
#PTChat moderator Joe Mazza gave this presentation at the #140EDU Twitter conference. In this excerpt, he describes several ways he uses technology tools to network home to school and strengthen communications with families. You can see the accompanying slides here.
More Resources to Engage Parents
Now that you've seen the power of a strong working relationship between educators and parents or caregivers, where do you begin, if you want to build or enhance it in your school? There are loads of great resources online with tips for both teachers and families on how to make that connection. Here are just a few of my favorites.
Articles on Parent-Teacher Partnerships
- More Edutopia Blogs on Creating a Home-to-School Connection
- "9 Techniques for Building Solid Parent-Teacher Relationships," by Kechia Williams, from Scholastic
- "Building Parent-Teacher Partnerships," from the National Association for the Education of Young Children
- "Seven Effective Parent Teacher Communication Tips," by John Halloran, from TeachHub
- "The Power of the Positive Phone Call Home," from Edutopia
- "Building Parent-Teacher Partnerships," from the American Federation of Teachers
- Teacher-Parent Collaboration Printables, Articles, and Resources from TeacherVision
- Engaging Parents In School Blog
- 19 Proven Tips for Getting Parents Involved at School, from the Edutopia Community
- "New Teacher Academy: How to Work with Parents," from Edutopia
- PBS Guide to the Parent-Teacher Partnership (for parents)
Organizations that Encourage Parent Involvement
- #ptchat on Twitter (Wednesdays, 6 p.m. PST / 9 p.m. EST)
- National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education
- National Parent Teacher Association
- The Parent Institute
- Department of Education's Parent Landing Page
- Project Appleseed
- Parent Involvement Matters from the National ParentNet Association
- National Education Association's Spotlight on Parental Involvement Research
- Parent Institute for Quality Education
- The Parent Teacher Home Visit Project
- National ParentNet Association