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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Parent Involvement...

Parent Involvement...

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142 Replies 2275 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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Linda's picture

That would pose more of a challenge...having to plan an activity for an entire grade level. Middle school is really out of my expertise area but maybe you could try (with the assistance of your fellow grade level teachers) a spring/fall carnival (with games created by the kids for their younger siblings?). Students would be in charge of decorations, activities, maybe they could bring baked goods to sell and their parents could volunteer to bake with them. The students could create tickets to be sold to their families (maybe $1 each to offset the cost of materials needed for games, decorations and prizes?).

Or, a family movie night? Again, students could design tickets to get into the show. If your school PTO has a popcorn machine maybe they could donate it along with popcorn supplies. Your students could design popcorn tickets too. Perhaps there could be a contest between the classes (whichever class has the highest scores on week X spelling test...or whatever class wins the spelling bee) to determine which class would choose the movie.

These are just two ideas I came up with on the spur of the moment...not sure if they're age/grade appropriate or not but maybe you could meet with your co-workers and build on them?

Good luck and have fun!

Erinn's picture

I find it interesting that many of my parents always seem to ask when we are celebrating our holiday parties so they can attend, but when it comes to a conference or an educational event they don't show. I understand that parents work and have other children but if they can attend the "fun" events at school why can't they make the time to discuss with me their child's education?

Stacy Hetzel's picture

One thing that a district I worked in did to increase parent involvement was to have the band or chorus perform on PTA night. I teach in a middle school and a large number of the students are in either one of those classes or both. Having a mini concert got parents to come and see their children play or sing and increased parent involvement at my school. Oh, by the way you have to have the PTA meeting first and the children perform second-more people stay that way:) Hope this helps! Good luck:)

Stacy Hetzel's picture

A district that I taught in started having the band or chorus perform on PTA night to increase parental involvement. This really helps with the turn out! Have the students perform after the meeting and you will see great results! Hope this helps:)

Jamie Sappenfield's picture
Jamie Sappenfield
Fourth grade math, science, and social studies teacher from Savannah, GA

Hi Tamala!

That is terrible that only 1 parent showed up at the party. Sometimes I think people just don't understand how much time, effort, and money actually goes into planning and hosting these "parties." You know, one of my theories is that both parents hold jobs now, and during this crazy time in society money is much tighter and time is limited. Of course, this leads to a lot of stress, and the last thing some think about is coming to spend time in our classrooms. It doesn't make it right, but these could be reasons.

I don't even have a room mom at this point. I teach at a school with 850 4th and 5th grade students ONLY. We have 30 children per classroom with no paras. So, we are responsible for doing everything ourselves. It would be nice if some my students' parents would volunteer their time to work on bulletin boards, read with the children, work on math facts, etc.

Don't worry, you are not alone in this. Hang in there, it does mean a lot to the kids that you are trying! :)

Amy Hunt's picture

Parental involvement, over the years, has decreased. I remember my parents coming to everything when I was in school. My son was in kindergarten last year and I couldn't believe that there were mothers who didn't show up for the annual Muffins for Moms. It was heartbreaking to see the five year olds of the missing moms devestated. On the flip side, as a working parent, I know it is difficult to make it to every event. I also know for parents of some children, it is intimidating for them to come to school. I have had parents who had traumatic school experiences themselves, as children, and dread the day they have to walk into the school building. I agree with everyone else who said an open line of communication is so important. Parents need to feel welcome in the classroom. I send out a parent survey at the beginning of the year to find out what their strengths are, as well as their child's. That way I can call upon them when I know there is a time where parental involvement is key.

Sara P's picture

Parent involvement is always a concern for us at our school. A lot of our kids are living with someone other than their parents which is sad. Most of the caregivers are forced into the situation. They do not feel it is part of their job to participate in their schooling since they are providing food and a home for them. I wish that students felt more wanted than they do. Family nights would be wonderful if parents/caregivers showed up. And like others on the blog, I wish we didn't have to bribe parents with food.

Melissa's picture

I feel that most parents would like to be involved in their childs school activities however, some parents feel that involvement is simply attending sports events or annual concerts. I am surprised at how many of my students parents just don't know how to help. When I specifically request something they will gladly jump at the opportunity. What works for me is keeping requests minimal and really praising them when they do come through for their child.

Maria Mena's picture

I attended the 2009 STATEWIDE NCLB PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. It gave great suggestions for getting parent involved. In the conference many people brought up the lack of parent involvement. Do not get discouraged it is happening every where. Just remember that out of those 40 , 1 parent is being impacted to participate, and spend time with his/her child.

Feedlebaum's picture

I think that parent involvement is on the decline. We held parent conferences on 11/17 and I had the lowest turnout ever in 9 years of teaching. We hold conferences in the afternoon and that same evening. This is the first year I was not booked solid in the evening. In fact, I did not have even one conference scheduled. I was extremely disappointed. I had only 5 afternoon conferences. This is out of 90 students. How can this be?

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