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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Parent Involvement...

Parent Involvement...

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142 Replies 2258 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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Rosetta Pewitte's picture

As I read the concerns posted about family involvement, I noticed that many of us have something in common. I wonder, are any of you teaching in a title 1 schoo? What population of students do you have? Our school seems to have the same problem. We are a Reading First school, therefore, once a month we have parent involvement activities. These activities are different strategies or games that parents can do with their child to increase reading skills for grades 1-4. Sadly, only about 5 families attend. Food is always offered because of the time of day we have the meetings.

Athena's picture

I feel getting parents involved is tough. I am a preschool teacher and I send out a monthly news letter with the events. I send it to try to give parents enough notice to attend our events. Majority of the families are low income so it is hard for them to take a day off. We have started a parent & teacher comity which allows the parents to give there input on events. Since we have started the meetings each time we get one more parent. We have made the meetings after hours to give them a chance to attend. I hope as the meetings go on we will get more involvement and input from parents. I think little things like that will help to get more involvement.

Rosetta Pewitte's picture

Our school does parent surveys at the beginning of each year. We do this to see what areas parents might need help. One of the parents concerns was being able to come to school after hours for meetings and bringing their child(ren). So, we decided to have some teachers provided activities for school age children while parents attend meetings. That worked one time.

Hollie Gebhardt's picture

At our school, we also honor our parent volunteers at the end of the year. We have an all school assembly and our principal honors them with recognition and a little gift. We also have a day where they come in for a special "reception." We generally have coffee/tea and cookies. When the teachers don't have their students they can stop in and visit and say thanks.

BrittanyWarren's picture

I agree that in today's society there is a lack of parental involvement. I do agree with Katie's comment that parents in the current economy are getting really busy with their jobs, and other children, along with other priorities. I feel this is not an excuse though; parents should make it a point to show their children education is one of the most important things in their lives. Once children see that parents are involved and concerned with their schooling and future the kids will take on those feelings. Unfortunately, I think some parents do not value their child's education as importantly as they should. I find this especially apparent in the class of 9th grade repeating students I currently have. I hear many horror stories directly from my students about their home lives when the subject comes up. I also teach 7th grade math and I am finding even less parental involvement as the age in the students increase from elementary to middle and junior high schools. Since the year started off, I have had maybe 5 total 7th grade parents out of 80 contact me to show an interest in their child's grades or feelings. This disappoints me quite a bit. As a great author Jeffery Kottler stated, communicating with parents and guardians is an ongoing activity (Kottler, Zehm, and Kottler 2005).I have always believed as a teacher to keep communicating with parents as open as possible through ways that parents can keep up with easiest. I have done so thus far through monthly newsletters, 5 week signed progress reports, a website in which I update every day, and phone calls both positive and negative. I really make it a point to keep my website full of resources such as the nightly homework, important dates, study guides, games, and other various tips for success. I really enjoyed this idea because I know technology is up and coming and many parents are using computers with their jobs these days so my hope was to keep them informed through this website. I am finding that not as many of my students or parents are using this as much as I would like. I find this frustrating because I put so much time and effort it keeping it up to date. Does anyone have any advice in other ways to get feedback either positive or negative? I would just like to hear more from my parents to know they are supporting my students. I would appreciate any comments.

Resources
Kottler, J. A., Zehm, S. J., & Kottler, E. (2005). On being a teacher. The human dimension (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

BrittanyWarren's picture

I agree that in today's society there is a lack of parental involvement. I do agree with Katie's comment that parents in the current economy are getting really busy with their jobs, and other children, along with other priorities. I feel this is not an excuse though; parents should make it a point to show their children education is one of the most important things in their lives. Once children see that parents are involved and concerned with their schooling and future the kids will take on those feelings. Unfortunately, I think some parents do not value their child's education as importantly as they should. I find this especially apparent in the class of 9th grade repeating students I currently have. I hear many horror stories directly from my students about their home lives when the subject comes up. I also teach 7th grade math and I am finding even less parental involvement as the age in the students increase from elementary to middle and junior high schools. Since the year started off, I have had maybe 5 total 7th grade parents out of 80 contact me to show an interest in their child's grades or feelings. This disappoints me quite a bit. As a great author Jeffery Kottler stated, communicating with parents and guardians is an ongoing activity (Kottler, Zehm, and Kottler 2005).I have always believed as a teacher to keep communicating with parents as open as possible through ways that parents can keep up with easiest. I have done so thus far through monthly newsletters, 5 week signed progress reports, a website in which I update every day, and phone calls both positive and negative. I really make it a point to keep my website full of resources such as the nightly homework, important dates, study guides, games, and other various tips for success. I really enjoyed this idea because I know technology is up and coming and many parents are using computers with their jobs these days so my hope was to keep them informed through this website. I am finding that not as many of my students or parents are using this as much as I would like. I find this frustrating because I put so much time and effort it keeping it up to date. Does anyone have any advice in other ways to get feedback either positive or negative? I would just like to hear more from my parents to know they are supporting my students. I would appreciate any comments.

Resources
Kottler, J. A., Zehm, S. J., & Kottler, E. (2005). On being a teacher. The human dimension (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Tamala's picture

At first I didn't think that I would get any responses, but all of the comments have been so insightful. I appreciate every comment & idea given. I have implemented some of the ideas into my classroom, although the parent involvement is not where I would like it to be, I have seen it improve. Just recently I conducted parent-teacher conferences & out of 20 children only 2 did not attend for a conference. Moving in the right direction!!! Again thank you for all of the comments.

mariena's picture

I dont think parents dont want to be involved, I just think many parents work and just dont have the time. Many parents are single parents and the sole provider of their households. Try sending activities home that the child and the parent can work on.

mariena's picture

I don't think parents don't want to get involved, I just think that most parents work or they are single parents. Try sending home activities that the student and the parent can work on together.

WakeStudent11's picture

I must disclose that I'm simply a college student (majoring in political science, minoring in Spanish and entrepreneurship) BUT I have been organizing extracurricular events at public schools for the past two years. My suggestion would be to approach parental involvement like you would a school play. Nobody wants to go see a boring play - so give parents a reason for why they should find interest in taking time out of their busy schedules to come in and volunteer or attend a meeting (other than the fact that their child's education is quite possibly one of the single most important factors of his/her life). Jazz things up in the classroom with a nontraditional approach (teaching through sports, or by using the Socratic method in high school). Even if your approach causes some sort of controversy, it will still get parents' attention and get them interested and talking. If they're discussing what you're doing outside of the classroom they are more likely to come in and talk to you (make sure your "play" has some sort of dramatic climax, if you will). Also, when trying to figure out who will come to your "play" (whatever event you have set up), you must cater to the individuals you want to show up. Remember that some parents (although it is rare) still don't have internet access. A blog would more than likely reach the majority of parents, but not all. Plus, telephone calls are more personable. Text messaging is coming about pretty rapidly. Most people have cellular devices - perhaps obtaining all parents' cell phone numbers and generating group text messages whenever important events (such as final examinations, school plays, banquets, etc..) are coming about could be another option.

Hopefully I haven't stepped on any toes...in a nutshell, draw in your crowd with a zinger, and keep them coming back for more.

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