George Lucas Educational Foundation
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It's all too easy for parents and teachers to be portrayed as being in opposition. Parents can sometimes get involved in ways that aren't productive, and it's unfortunate when beleaguered teachers begin to think of parents as the enemy. But there are wonderful stories out there of educators and families becoming true partners to improve the educational experience for everyone. I've gathered a collection of videos with examples of the many ways schools can build these powerful partnerships. These give actionable tips for both parents and teachers about how best to work together -- a topic which I know is of perpetual interest to everyone involved in education.

Video Playlist: Building Teacher-Parent Relationships

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.


  1. Putting Parents to Work in the Classroom (02:44)

    An excellent case study from NBC's Education Nation on how the Logan Square Neighborhood Association in Chicago provided a bridge between its mostly Spanish-speaking parents and the local schools to build a parent mentoring program.

  2. Discover Today's PTA...Right Here, Right Now! (02:46)

    It's not your mother's PTA. There may still be bake sales, but this venerable 115-year-old organization is now five million members strong and continues to make a difference. Learn more about the PTA on their website.

  3. ELL Parent Involvement (03:17)

    The need for parents to take part in their child's education is magnified for English-language learners. The original video is quite long at 12 minutes. In this short segment, Spanish-speaking moms explain to other parents why getting involved with their children's schooling is so critical for success.

  4. Home Visit Blitz (04:58)

    This hilarious video was made to prep teachers in Kentucky's Henderson County Schools before they embarked on their one-day "Home Visit Blitz" to try to connect with the families of every student in their K-12 district -- that's over 7,000 kids! Learn more from a local news article.

  5. Principles of Teaching - Partnership with Parents (05:22)

    This training video from the UK shows new teachers speaking frankly about why parent-teacher communications can be challenging, and offers some thoughts on how to build productive relationships.

  6. YES Prep Cultivates Parent Engagement (05:32)

    YES Prep North Central in Houston, Texas, involves families in a variety of ways, including family nights, frequent check-ins, and learning contracts signed by the student and the parents before the kids enter sixth grade.

  7. Parent Involvement in Schools (06:00)

    I was tickled to hear fifth and sixth graders speak up about what it means for their parents to be involved in their school. This video is actually geared towards parents, and it's the second half of a longer show; check out part one here.

  8. Joe Mazza on Home & School 2.0 (18:28)

    #PTChat moderator Joe Mazza gave this presentation at the #140EDU Twitter conference. In this excerpt, he describes several ways he uses technology tools to network home to school and strengthen communications with families.

More Resources to Engage Parents

Now that you've seen the power of a strong working relationship between educators and parents or caregivers, where do you begin, if you want to build or enhance it in your school? There are loads of great resources online with tips for both teachers and families on how to make that connection. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Articles on Parent-Teacher Partnerships
Organizations that Encourage Parent Involvement
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How to Get Parents Involved

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Robert Bacal's picture

WOW. Thanks for this collection. It's the best I've seen on engaging parents, and partnering between home and school.

TODD SENTELL's picture
Author of the hilarious schoolhouse memoir, "Can't Wait to Get There. Can't Wait to Leave"


At the beginning of the spring semester one year, a helicopter parent team came to meet with all of their eighth grade son's teachers. The couple said we're tired of helicoptering and enabling and pretty much doing all of his work for him. It's sink-or-swim time, they said, and we've told him so, too. He knows we're meeting with you today.

I liked this. I liked this a lot. My fellow teachers and I winked at each other. And I liked their son, too. He was oblivious to the educational fun around him, but he had good manners and he was respectful. I just never knew he was alive some days, even though his eyes were open and I could see him breathing. I often thought about tossing a hissing firecracker at him to help increase his level of interest in what we were doing. I'm sure he would have looked at the shredded firecracker on his desk, looked at me, looked back at the shreds, and then looked at the clock on the wall to see how much longer he had to endure sitting in a class not doing or saying anything. All that without blinking.

Anyway, so we all let him sink or swim. He chose to furiously tread water. He made it out of eighth grade just fine. I don't know how the parents turned out. I'm assuming they got on with their lives and were enjoying themselves.

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