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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What Are Your Best Parent-Teacher Engagement Tips?

What Are Your Best Parent-Teacher Engagement Tips?

Related Tags: Classroom Management
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We're working with GreatSchools to put together an informal guide of tips for involving parents in classrooms, and we want to hear from you!

Whether you're a parent, teacher, or school administrator, let us know your tried-and-true strategies; the things that worked, and maybe even the things that didn't but from which you learned valuable lessons.

Submit your tips as comments in this discussion.

We'll go through all the shared tips and assemble them into a free guide available for download. The guide will quote the best tips and give credit to the people who shared them, so please be sure to include your name, role (parent, 3rd grade teacher, etc.), and state in which you live.

The deadline for submitting your tips is April 25, 2014, so be sure to respond quickly.

Thanks for participating!

Comments (34)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

John R. Martinez's picture
John R. Martinez
Video Producer/ Director and Live Streaming supplier

Gwen, I agree it would be handy to have the videos for later viewing. It's really an opportunity to take advantage of, since you already have a camera pointed at the meeting.

Tiesa Graf's picture

I have found that parents love to hear from teachers! They need to hear the good as much (or more!) than the bad - and this can be a time challenge for educators. One tool that I have found helpful is remind101 - it's a free, safe online communication tool for anyone - but especially helpful for students and parents. It can really help to improve general communication to parents.
I also appreciate that where I work there is an opportunity for teachers to recognize students for excellence with a short form that is sent home. Teachers can note any type of positive action of a student and it is mailed home to parents.
I like these two examples as they show a technological approach and a snail mail approach. I think the idea of having something to 'hang on the fridge' is still a great idea in terms of being inclusive.
I do worry with the trend of connecting parent feedback to teacher evaluation - without thoughtful approach - feels threatening to educators. I hope to see ideas emerge that encourage input that leads to helpful reflection and growth - and not punitive measures.

EdCoastal's picture

Ask teachers to commit to choosing one student per day and sending a positive note home to parents with the backside of the note asking the parents to send a positive note back about their child. Even with a class of 30 that gives each child and family 6 notes or more during a school year. You would be amazed at what a little positivity will do to get parents engaged.
Dr. Kimberley Palmiotto -

Jennifer Miller's picture

If children come home and report a problem to a parent, remember that there are always two sides at least to an issue. Help your child brainstorm possible ways to make things better when they return to school. Also provide language for your child to use with his or her teacher to discuss a problem so that a power struggle does not begin that must be won by the teacher in charge. "Mrs. Smith, we had a problem yesterday. Are there ways I can make things better today?" Support your child but also support your partnership with the teacher. Empower your child to work through issues directly with the teacher if they can and then, intervene and discuss with the teacher when necessary. Kids get confused when parents promote academics and school life but then, disagree with the teacher's methods of handling challenging situations. Parents can actively be supportive of both relationships. And proactively getting to know parents and teachers from both sides is so important in establishing that foundational trust from which the partnership will grow. For more, check out "Parent-Teacher Conversations" on Confident Parents, Confident Kids, http://confidentparentsconfidentkids.org/2013/03/14/parent-teacher-conve....

Nate Nielsen's picture
Nate Nielsen
Support Representative for Memberhub.com

Tip: Conduct Workshops at Your School

Workshops are a great way to bring parents (literally) into the school community and provide them with valuable information. It's hard to get parents out of the house after hours, so make sure you ask parents what they want to learn more about. Ask them what topics would be interesting if the school were to start offering workshops. Teachers and/or outside speakers can discuss any number of topics of interest to parents, including:
* Family nutrition
* Time management
* Child development
* How to effectively communicate with children who have special needs
* Constructive - and non-constructive - ways for parents to help with kids' homework
* The importance of quality sleep for busy kids
* Ideas for active family recreation activities in your area
* Computer training
* Managing sibling rivalry
* ESL classes
* Parent orientation nights
* School library tours
* Anything else your school's parents might be interested in
Teachers and administrators are in the business of kids, so to speak, but many parents feel confused and clueless a lot of the time. So anything your school can do to become a go-to resource for them is both valued and appreciated. Plus, any time you can get parents together enhances school community.

Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Nate, we host #ParentCamp (which is a full morning of learning opps like you mentioned). You made a few topic suggestions I now want to find discussion leaders for....thank you!

Jennie W.'s picture
Jennie W.
7th grade Language Arts

Actually, I have had great success with putting Open House and Back to School announcements in the progress report comments for EVERY student. I have lines out the door. Then, I tell them to sign up for Remind101 right on the spot on that night. Everyone has a cell phone or email addy.

Joan Arbisi Little's picture
Joan Arbisi Little
Education Consultant

I enjoy working with the parents - coaching them, and guiding them through the stages their children are traveling. I am fortunate that I was a challenging child and have had children of my own (so I "get it"). The empathy I can convey is my #1 way to engage parents.

Koren's picture
Elementary and Special Ed teacher

Parents need to feel they can trust the school and the teachers. Using honest, open communication is the best way to build trust. Listening to parental concerns and being able to understand what is REALLY going on when a parent seems to always have an issue is of utmost importance. Today, many parents do not trust the system, and we need to work to help restore the trust.

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