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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Parent Involvement...

Parent Involvement...

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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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carolynt's picture

Getting parents involved is quickly becoming a major issue in my school. A group of teachers met to try and brainstorm solutions, it was decided that maybe instead of hosting it at the school maybe we could host it in the neighborhhod where the least amount of parents came to school activities. One particular apartment complex had a community room onsite. We called the complex explained who we were and asked if we could borrow their room. They allowed us to and we were able to get many parents to attend. We have also decided to hold a parent-teacher conference night at this particular complex and two other complexes as well.

Tonya Walton's picture

From my experience, parent involvement should be in the home. Parents should assist students with homework and social concerns as much as possible. I disagree with having parent volunteers. At a previous school corporation, I had parent volunteers come into the building. They are not teachers, and I had a hard time finding things that I trusted they could do. I didn't want them copying tests and homework for the obvious reason of cheating to help their child. I couldn't send them to help other students because they had to have a school employee with them. So, I found it much easier to limit their involvement to holiday parties and field trips.

Tonya Walton's picture

From my experience, parent involvement should be in the home. Parents should assist students with homework and social concerns as much as possible. I disagree with having parent volunteers. At a previous school corporation, I had parent volunteers come into the building. They are not teachers, and I had a hard time finding things that I trusted they could do. I didn't want them copying tests and homework for the obvious reason of cheating to help their child. I couldn't send them to help other students because they had to have a school employee with them. So, I found it much easier to limit their involvement to holiday parties and field trips.

Brandi Washington's picture

I am required to host different parental activities throughout the year as well. However, i strongely recommend that all teachers have a parent liason. A parent liason is a parent of a student, who takes time out to volunteer and assist with different activities. I am very very big on volunteer work, so when i need assistance, i contact my parent liason, she contacts the parents, and i have an excellent turnout!! (Not always, but most of the time.) I am a firm believer in parental involvement both inside and outside of the classroom and my liason has made much of this possible.
Also, the blog and a classroom website works well. You can post homework, your syllabus, activities you have planned, etc.

April's picture

I believe the parental involvement in my school is declining as well. We have the same parents that do everything every year. It is wonderful that they are so willing to help out, but it would also be wonderful to see some new parents come into the picture.

One thing that I do in my classroom at the beginning of the year is to give the parents a "homework" assignment. This assignment is to tell me about their child. I ask for interests, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Anything and everything they want me to know about their child. I get a great response to this exercise! Parents love talking about their children and I love reading about them!

Jamie Kessen's picture
Jamie Kessen
3-5 Grade Special Education Teacher from Indiana

I think my opinion of parent involvement changes from year to year. I've been teaching for 5 years and not every year would I say I encouraged parents to volunteer within the classroom. During Open House activities at the beginning of each school year I am able to meet a lot of the parents. Also, by teaching within the county I grew up in, I already know a lot of the parents. Some of my classes have had great support at home and have very trustworthy and genuinely respectful parents. On the other hand, I have had parents who are not the best role models even within the classroom environment. Parent volunteers can have a very positive impact on students. I just feel that the teacher must, in a way, interview these parents to see which ones would provide the best example and leadership to the students. I feel like the "parent" to my students during the school hours. And as their "school parent" I need to make sure that I am doing everything I can to make their experiences at school ones that will help them develop into well-rounded individuals. Outside sources can provide different perspectives, as well as enlighten my students on different jobs and opportunities they will have after graduation.

Jillian's picture

This is my first year teaching and as the year is progressing my parent involvement seems to be declining. At the beginning of the year, I had parents sending in items to donate, volunteering, working with their children, and reading my newsletters. I was amazed at how much participation I had in my class. Now I can barely get them to read my newsletters. It is very aggervating to spend time letting them know what is going on and them not even take the time to read it. I feel that parents are not taking their child's education as seriously as they should be taking it. I guess I was just spoiled at the beginning of the year. I plan on trying a few ideas I have read on here and hopefully they will respond.

Mrs. Greer's picture

Don't give up. It took for me to contact my students parents every week before I started to see the parents getting involved. Now I have parents calling me everyday checking on their childs progress as well as for assisting them so that they can help their child with homework.

Eric's picture

I agree with many of the comments. In my position I do home visits and to walk into a house or apartment where there are generations of a family represented and no high school diploma earned by anyone it is not surprising that there is no support from home.

We have students that talk about turning sixteen just so they can drop out of high shool because its what an aunt, uncle, mom, or dad did. It is a hard battle to fight.

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