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The essence of parental involvement in achieving school goals

Search Planning for Parent Involvement Too often administrators view parent involvement programs as neglected gardens. If by chance they grow and bear fruit, terrific. If they don't, it can't be helped. But a national institute says that, with some planning, all schools can grow parent involvement programs. Tips for creating effective community outreach programs.

Is "increasing parent involvement" on your list of goals for the current school year?

  • Parent involvement activities goal 5;
  • Parental involvement in schools national goals parental involvement in school is defined as parent reported participation at least once during the school;
  • A survey of middle and high school students indicated that while they don't' want their parents on field trips, they don't mind if parents help out in class or school as long as they don't talk to them;
  • Equity issues in parental and community involvement in schools:

If so, you're in good company. Most administrators have that exact same goal, but many have little or no concrete ideas about how they might accomplish the goal.

That's because, for years, school administrators took the approach that they would encourage parent involvement and hope parents would get involved -- but not so involved that they would be underfoot.

If parents didn't respond and didn't get involved, then there was little that could be done. The new way is that it's about student success. No longer can they afford that centuries-old approach, according to Dr.

Epstein told Education World.

Planning for Parent Involvement

That leads to more consistent planning for programs to reach all parents. The ideas for articles in this series come from annual collections of Promising Partnership Practices, a resource of the National Network of Partnership Schools. Established by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, NNPS is dedicated to bringing together schools, districts, and states that are committed to developing and maintaining comprehensive programs of school-family-community partnerships. In the past, and even in the present, schools let parent involvement evolve on its own, and the disparities in participation levels among schools were viewed as a lack of interest on the part of certain communities.

But with adequate planning, all principals can have greater involvement in their schools, she said. Principals need to approach parent and community involvement the same way they do curriculum, professional development, and other areas critical to school life.

For centuries, it's happened by chance. About 1,000 schools, 100 districts, and 17 state departments of education are part of the network.

The majority of those schools are in urban areas and qualify for Title I funding. Epstein suggests that school communities form an Action Team to organize partnership programs, and provides guidelines, such as "six types of involvement" [see sidebar] schools can employ. Six Types of Parenting. Assist families with parenting and child-rearing skills. Assist schools in understanding families. Communicate with families about school programs and student progress.

Improve recruitment, training, tasks, and schedules to involve families as volunteers. Involve families with their children in learning activities at home.

Include families as participants in school decisions. Collaborating With the Community. Coordinate community, business, and the essence of parental involvement in achieving school goals resources and services for families. To learn more about the challenges and "best practices" related to the six types of involvement, see Six Types of Involvement.

Besides providing information for implementing the six types of involvement, the partnership annually recognizes schools, districts, and state agencies that have shown "excellence in developing and sustaining comprehensive, goal-oriented programs of school, family, and community partnerships. Samuel Clemons, principal of Lowndes Middle School in Valdosta, Georgia, whose school won a partnership award with special recognition in 2004, said the National Network of Partnership Schools provided the guidance his community needed to build a comprehensive community involvement program.

Academically, we needed to improve, and we were looking at all components. One of them was parental involvement. We felt we needed specialized learning. Epstein's philosophy to parent involvement about ten years ago because it's "all encompassing," according to principal Kathleen Murphy. One of the programs involves parents of third through fifth graders reading a book together. Families are invited to school one evening, and all students in the same grade are given the same book to read with their parents.

Teachers review with parents the type of higher-level thinking questions they can ask their children about the book as they read it together.

The essence of parental involvement in achieving school goals

A month later, parents and children reconvene at school to discuss the book, and perhaps present a project about the story. We try to educate parents to help kids at home. The school also has held evening workshops for parents of students in first and second grade. Staff members taught parents how to focus on reading skills such as predicting and making connections while reading with their children.

Dinner was available for parents. Another project with strong parental support is the Friday Folders. Volunteers and secretaries prepare folders every week with information about school-wide programs and forms parents need to sign.

The return rate on the forms is quite high, Murphy added. FACE staff members also oversee programs at individual schools. The district has parent-child book clubs, where parents, grandparents, or guardians come and read with children, and also book clubs for adults, so adults read and discuss books to set an example for students, said Theresa Yeldell, executive director of FACE.

Last year high school students and their parents came together in workshops to discuss The Breakable Vow, a novel that deals with date rape, after students read it. Cleveland also assigns a full-time family liaison to every K-8 school and part-time liaisons to secondary schools to engage parents at the school level. The liaisons assist parents in understanding standards, grading, and the essence of parental involvement in achieving school goals they can support their children, according to Yeldell.

They can be involved by making sure a child gets to school on time and is prepared. If the parents can't be the contact people for the school, then have them designate a surrogate adult. Membership in the National Network of Partnership Schools helped Cleveland school officials to flesh out and formalize their programs. They all have something to contribute. Educators and parents assume their children don't want them hanging around school, so there is no point in showing up.

But that is not always the case, according to Dr. A survey of middle and high school students indicated that while they don't' want their parents on field trips, they don't mind if parents help out in class or school as long as they don't talk to them.

And it's okay if it's someone else's parent volunteering, she said. High schools also have a history of parent booster clubs for athletics or music programs, and students don't mind parents being involved that way. Clemons, the Lowndes Middle School principal, agreed. They see parents of other children [in school], and want their parents there.

Parents find out their children are learning a new skill, and it allows students to apply what they learned. Lowndes is an example of the positive long-term effects of parent involvement programs.

Over a four to five year period since the school beefed-up its parent involvement program, the percentage of sixth graders passing math went from 64 percent to 81 percent, Clemons said. We wanted to do some bonding. The school also offers Wonderful Wednesdays, which give parents an opportunity to come in and talk about what they can do to help the school, as well as share problems they might be having with their the essence of parental involvement in achieving school goals school students.

Last year, the schools opened a parent resource room, where staff members conduct parent workshops, and where parents can come in between 8 a.

The school provides some computer instruction. A teacher also can work closely with a parent and child on issues such as homework strategies. Local businesses also have helped out by allowing parents to come to school when they need to. If I'm in, they don't need an appointment; they can talk to me. We try to provide a pleasant atmosphere for parents. Clemons said he understands why principals may be wary of recruiting parents, but the effort is worth it.