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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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Heidi Fritz's picture

Actually Tamala your pizza and puzzle idea is a great idea! That is too bad that it had poor turnout. My suggestion would be to keep trying, maybe somebody will get the message. I am fortunate at my school to have great involvement. We just had a math night, where children came with their parents and played math games and learned about certain math sites online.

cbkinder's picture

I also see this as a huge issue. I have tried so many various ways to get parents to be involved. It always seems like the same parents are willing to participate. This then upsets the other students because they feel left out when their parents do not come into the classroom to participate in various events. I always feel bad for the ones whose parents never attend events.

Jill Powers's picture
Jill Powers
7th/8th grade English teacher with 2 of 5 classes being inclusion from TN

I agree with you cbkinder. I always feel sorry for the students whose parents never get involved in their child's education especially when it is something that is fun. These parents are not teaching their children to be involved in various activities. They probably are going to follow in their parents footsteps and one day not be involved in their child's childs education just because no one was ever involved in theirs. It seems to be an never ending cycle, but what do we do?

jamie mesman-davis's picture

Tamala- I loved your idea of having a pizza and puzzle night for students and their parents. I teach high school and find it very hard to get parents involved with their students. Unless a student is failing terribly I rarely hear from their parents. I know your P&P activity was elementary based but I think I will try and propose it to my high schoolers and see what kind of response we can get. It may prove to be an opportunity for parents and kids to hang out and allow me to share with them the happenings in our classroom. We will see what the verdict is! One can always try. I guess that is all part of teaching- try something, if it works great! If it doesn't, then move on and try something else.

Krishona McCoy's picture

Yes, this is definitely an issue at most schools. We have had staff development on how to get parents involved and we have tried several things, like the ones you mentioned. One thing that we have noticed to work a little better is phone calls. We have been finding that a phone call to parents works really well. My principal suggested that all teachers try to call all of their parents for a family night idea we were having. The teachers that actually took the time, calling a hand full of parents each night, up to the date for the event, had a much greater number of participants than the ones that did not call. The teachers that called their parents even said that they got alot out of the calls, getting to know the parent and just talking to them, as well as the parents did. This sounds like an old idea, but when you use it, I think that it really works well.

Michelle H.'s picture

I am sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with parent involvement. I too have little to no support from parents in my area. Our school buts on a few larger events throughout the year for parents to bring their students and I will usually have 1-3 students from my class show up. Even though your pizza and puzzle activity did not go so well for you, I want to thank you for the idea and I am going to give that a try in my classroom. I feel that the school wide programs are cheesy and my school is almost just going through the motions when putting these events on. I think in my situation a smaller and more directed program for "just my students" may be an answer in my situation. While I would love to have suggestions for you, my only advice is don't give up. Just how our students are very different every year, so are their families and one year pizza and puzzles may be a success in your classroom.

Hannah V.'s picture

I have been teaching for 7 years and I was seeing the same trend when I first started to teach. The parents were not interested in becoming involved in school activities. I could not even get them to do activities at home. Through a lot of trails I have found a way that works extremely well in my school. I have a parent activity once a month. Each Month it is at different time, this way, if a parent cannot make it in the morning, they may be available in the afternoon. During the parent activity, we take a lot of pictures that are then displayed inside and outside the classroom and are also included in the school newsletter. The parents see the children really enjoying working with the parents and they will work hard to make it to at least one parent activity. I also find that once they come to one of our activities they become much more involved in their child's education. I have gotten a great response with my activities from the parents and the children.

susan's picture

Hello Tamala
It seems that sometimes with parent involvement - it's either feast or famine. I do think we need to keep trying. Parents are extremely busy and it's hard sometimes to fit it all in. At the school I work at we offer supper and have drawings (food, books, gas cards etc.) The school is approximately 18 miles from town so I think that helps with attendance for these functions.

Andrea Hall's picture

I think that because many parents these days are both working during the hours of school. We as teachers need to be flexible and plan events not only during the day but also at night. I know that in first grade where I teach our students make a non-fiction book, on an aniamls and when they finish publishing them we have an authors night. We invite parents and have pizza and drinks (which always helps with the attendance). The students can share their books with thier parents and we go over the writing process and what their students did to make thier books. It is always a great night! I know that being a teacher and having my husband work all day, it will be hard for us when my son gets to school to come in and help out in the classroom. I know that this year I have parents that are willing to do things at home also. We had parents cut decodable books out and staple them which was a huge time saver for myself. I think we as teachers need to remember that parents can help not only during the school day but after school and on weekends.

Paul T. Moon's picture

I share the same frustrations you have with your parents. I teach HS and it seems as though most parents drop their kids off and do not want to hear anything until the semester is over. If they are passing the class it is all good. If they are failinf the class it is always "what happened", "why was I not informed", etc... Every once in a whilr it seems like all the effort we put in pays off. I guess you just have to weigh if it is worth it to you or not.

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