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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Parent Involvement...

Parent Involvement...

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142 2011 Views

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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Pamela Hill's picture

Parent involvement is essential to student success. Being a parent of a 9th grader I speak from personal experience. I talk to my daughter's teachers, I check on her grades, I want to know what projects or homework assignments she has daily. The most effective parent involvement has to come from within the home. Education has to be important in the home.

Tamala's picture

Katie your comment just gave me the idea of giving out some type of monthly recognition or award for parents that participate in any classroom activities. Thank You

Dona Fraas's picture

You are not alone when it comes to the lack of parent involvement in your classroom. As a school we have grade level family nights, we invite all the parents to come to school after hours, to play math and reading games that will help their child be more successful. Last year we had 80 first grade students, and out of those students 4 families showed up. At our school in most cases, you have to feed them, give them something for free in order for them to come and spend an hour with their child. I wonder why all the time, we are told to hype the night up, get the kids really wanting to come, and have them beg their parents to bring them. Today I told my students, that as of today only one of our friends will be winning a prize at family night, while I think I sparked some light bulbs, so hopefully more of my students families sign up to come.. I love the idea to give a monthly recognition award for parents that participate in school or classroom activities, I am going to share this idea with our school's climate commitee, they are always trying to find new ways to get our parents more involved with our school.

Brandy G's picture

I think it is a growing trend. Parent involvement in schools is decreasing across the board. However, many families are overextended. With both parents working, many grandparents raising grandchildren, and worries greater than school, as teachers we need to be more creative. I have volunteers that work from home. I send home bags of cutting, book binding,etc... and have parents send it back. Parents have the opportunity to be involved, without having to come to school. I thank the parent volunteers in my weekly newsletter. We also do family literacy nights with door prizes to entice them in. Another idea are workshops for children to boost literacy skills and parents help their child.

Lauri83's picture

I agree that parent involvement in their child's education has decreased even from when I was in school which was about ten years ago. I have Parent/Teacher conferences this coming week. Out of fifteen students in my class, I have one parent who wanted a conference(conferences are optional in my school). I also give very little homework during the week and sometimes, I either do not get it back the next day or I can tell the child does not get any help with the homework. I do send home parent news letter each week with all the homework, lessons, and activities that we will be working on that week. Our school does have a fall and spring festival where parents are welcomed to attend with their child and for this, there is great attendance.

Sandy Stevens's picture

Lauren,
I am always amazed at the number of families that come to "fun fair" as well, but won't come to something educational even when food is being offered such as Tamala's pizza and puzzles night.

Lauri83's picture

Sandy,
I know that food is always used as a lure too! I hate to say that, but it is true!

Moses M.'s picture

I think that many parents still view school as the "the factory design" for schools is still being implemented. Many students really do not like nor look forward to coming to school and as they grow the feeling that they have toward schools I feel is the same or possibly compounded. We as educators have to change this perception and make parents and students look at school in a new light. When this is achieved, I believe parents involvement will increase.

Jana R's picture

I believe this is the way it is everywhere. I have thought of many things to incorporate parental involvement to no avail. When I make any parent contact to inform them of new things going on in my classroom, they act like I am invading their space. I wonder if starting a blog for parents would give some insight to this problem?

Becci Tatum's picture
Becci Tatum
High School English teacher

I agree with many of you that parent involvement is on the decline. When I taught first and second grade I saw a huge amount of parent involvement, especially among parents who were sending their first-born child. However, as time goes on parents become less enthusiastic about their children's education. I saw far fewer parents to my third and fifth graders than what I saw for first and second graders. There were even fewer for my middle school kids in later years. Now that I teach high school it is really difficult to get parents involved. Many won't even come to the school to see their children receive special awards. The only parents you see on Parent/Teacher Conference Nights are the ones you don't really need to see (ie, the top students' parents!). I have had to beg parents to come in for a conference about their failing child. I have modified how I do things, and now I send a certified letter home with my concerns about their children, asking them to work with me to ensure their child's success. This has helped. Parents respond that they are working two jobs and don't have the time to come in, or their bosses won't let them off to come in. I think we have to realize that our economic down-turn has affected many of our families and they are just struggling to get by. Pressure from the school may be adding even more stress to their lives. Perhaps sending things home is the answer, rather than asking them to come to us.

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