The data is out and parent involvement, regardless of income or background, gives students the boost they need to be successful throughout the school year. We see this over and over again in our classrooms.
Students with parent involvement display:
- a higher value on education
- improved behavior
- the ability to adapt well to their school environment
- likeliness to enroll in higher level programs
Friends, the benefits are huge when we are partnering with parents! We have to make this a priority in our classrooms! How can we do this well this year?
1. Assume the best.
Parents want the best for their children. Always assume that your classroom parents have good intentions. A wise professor once told me, “They send you the best thing they have every. single. day.” Believe that and remember that!
2. Communicate often.
Begin your school year with a reliable and consistent method of communication. Find out at meet the teacher what works best for majority of families. Communicate, and then communicate some more. Stay consistent!
3. Connect home and school together.
Get creative with homework or home projects. Send things home that are valuable to both the student and parent. Sending home family games and family reading incentives were a hit in my classroom!
4. Help them.
Provide parents with guidance. Whether it is an extra handout on how to help their child read (found HERE FREE) or instructions on a family math game they can play together. Sometimes they just need some extra information. Help them learn how to help their child learn!
5. Online presence.
Each year our classrooms are moving more towards online communication and leaving less of a paper trail. Research and find out what online method of communication you would be willing to brave. Try it out and invite parents. Post photos or classroom updates.Online is quick, and convenient. Both of which working parents need and value. Read HERE about how I used a Facebook Page to keep my parents in the loop!
6. Get creative!
Volunteering in the classroom is only one way a parent can contribute their time and abilities. Find out what they love to do and get them plugged in. It may be the library, office, or cafeteria. Anything goes!
7. Ask for help.
As teachers we like to do a lot of things ourselves. Volunteering takes extra prep and some coordinating on our part. Do the work because it’s worth it. Help your parents feel wanted and needed. You will be glad you did!
8. Remember your families.
Most families are working sun up till sun down. Volunteering is simply not in their day or their capacity. How can you partner with them? A positive note home, a phone call of praise, or a quick e-mail to check in are all simple ways to connect.
Being creative and willing to work together with your students’ families will reap huge benefits in your classroom. You will have a more cohesive, supportive school year when you include student families in your school day.
This school year brainstorm ways you can help each family feel connected. I encourage you to be willing to do one thing that may be outside of your normal comfort zone to pursue your student families.