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Parent Involvement...

Tamala

There seems to be a lack in parent involvement in the classroom, it seems to get worse year after year. I provide daily opportunities for parents to volunteer, as well as monthly parent involvement activities for parents to attend & I get no interest from parents or even a response. For example, this months family involvement activity was "pizza & puzzles," the parents were invited to put together puzzles with their child & enjoy a light pizza snack. However, out of 40 enrolled students only 1 parent actually participated.
Is this happening every where (the lack of parent involvement)? Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to promote more parent involvement in the classroom?

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back to school night

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Hi Lynne,

I know it is very frustrating. How ever, my school is a program improvement school and parental involvement is a stretch, but I was able to get a pretty good number of parents to show up by making a back to school dvd. Most importantly, I made sure I had parents permission to put the student in the video. The parents were very eager to show up and try to win a dvd for back to school in the raffle.So now every year I try to take video or pictures of students engaged in their daily activities and so on to put in a video.

It is so awesome to hear that

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It is so awesome to hear that the teachers of older children want parent involvement. My son is in 6th grade this year and although I filled out a form on what I could do for the classes my son was in, I have never been asked to do anything. As early as 4th grade my son's teacher made it clear(by her actions) to me that she did not want any involvement from the parents. His 5th grade teacher, however, let me help in the classroom once a week and teach a reading group. I am also very discouraged by the fact that there is no communication with the parents once the children get into middle school.

I love it!

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So many of the comments that I have received those far are simply wonderful. It is a problem that we all, as educators, are facing, but the ideas that we are sharing are great. Thank You

Brianna, that is wonderful!

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I love this idea and I am so glad that you do this with your students. This gives the parents a window into their world and their classroom. This idea is very beneficial to those parents who have to work and just cannot come in and be an active participate in their child's schooling.

First grade teacher

At the beginning of the year

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At the beginning of the year my school sends out a letter to every parent in the school giving them the opportunity to volunteer in the school. I had a parent come in once a week last year and read with my students. The students loved that one on one time that I was unfortunately not able to always give them.

Preschool teacher from Irvington

Unfortunately, there is a

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Unfortunately, there is a lack of parent involvement everywhere. My school does monthly parent involvement activities where parents come to the class to work on a project or to do an activity with their children. This gives parents an opportunity to attend to at least one throughout the year. Even so, I have not had a parent this year joining us. Many of my parents cannot take a day off from work. Therefore, I give out projects for students and parents to do at home, such as planning a beam and recording its growth. In addition, I give out stickers, and make a big deal about it when students bring it to the class to encourage those who did not. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. However, this is something that we cannot control. We can only keep trying and continue searching for new practices that can develop parents’ involvement.

Former Social Media Marketing Assistant at Edutopia

Responses from Twitter

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Hi Tamala -

I think this is common challenge that teachers face, I decided to pose the question to our Twitter followers and get their input. Here are some of their responses:

Chris C: Invite parents to "stay on and play, read, write, do maths, construct" for fifteen minutes one morning.

Michele: Ask them to help cover books, make display material, listen to reading, look after lost property. Makes them feel valued.

Heruy: Survey parents to get a sense of their expertise/talent & tap into that, so they feel comfortable/confident contributing to class.

Chris: Consider upskilling parents in specifics, eg reading, so they can better support at home and in school.

I hope these ideas are helpful. Good luck!

I am of the belief that many

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I am of the belief that many parents are apprehensive in coming to the school to take part in activities because of lack of education and fear of being perceived as uneducated and dumb by teachers.

I love this topic and I feel

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I love this topic and I feel that the parental involvement is less and less each year. I currently teach in a title 1 school and we are trying so many avenues to get the parents involved with the school functions. We have planned SOL review night for the parents to see what information parents will need to help their child, family movie night, breakfast with Santa, Harvest party night, and many, many more events for the parent and students to participate in. What I have noticed is that the parents are afraid to attend the school functions and well as they are too busy to come. I try my very best to reach out to all my parents each year and encourage them to attend a few of the school sponsored events. We can't give up on parents we must keep trying.

Specialized Preschool Teacher from Pennsylvania

Accommodating Diverse Families

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Families are so different for this generation of students than any before. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, demographic regions, and I understand how difficult it is to accommodate every family who has a child in school. Some students are raised by one parent, two parents, have blended families, live with foster parents, live with older relatives, or could even be homeless. It is important for schools to offer several activities during different times of the day and evening, to invite as many families as possible. It is also important for the activities to be culturally diverse. I honestly feel parent involvement begins with the rapport created between a parent and teacher, and then extends outward. A parent may have a not-so-good relationship with a teacher one year and consume a negative attitude toward all teachers. It is the responsibility of the child’s teacher each year and all year long, to make the student and families feel welcome. When this happens, the family is more likely to participate in extra activities if the time is right.

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