Matthew R. Stover
3 Ways Educators Can Increase Parental Involvement
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
Research tells us over and over again parents and caregivers are key to student engagement and success. We also know many parents experienced a school system that could not respond to their needs. As a result, they do not know how to help their child succeed.
The number one thing we can do to help our parents understand the educational system and beat their anxiety is to get them physically to the school site. Consider these three ideas for involving parents.
Before we continue, the following ideas will take a reimagination of school resources and budgets, but we believe they can be done.
Monthly Parent Night. The middle and high school levels require all clubs to host one (or more if they are a large club) parent night. The club is to organize activities for parents and host the event. It could be family game night, a painting class, cooking class, yoga/meditation, all with free child care. Parents are asked to bring a snack or beverage to share. Teachers who volunteer to help out can be paid or earn flex time.
Student-run classes for parents. Students who want teaching experience, want to gain credit or use advanced skills, can prepare and offer free classes to parents. Some examples may be cooking, child development, weight training or robotics. Teachers who offer to supervise these courses could do so for pay or flex time.
"State of the School" event. Once a semester student leadership could hold a “state of the school” presentation. This event invites parents to hear students share the last semester's success and challenges. After the presentation, parents could be broken into groups to brainstorm ways to expand on successes and overcome challenges. These ideas could then be collected and analyzed. Parental committees could be formed to pursue viable options.
Parents who feel comfortable in school are better equipped to encourage their students. It’s vital for districts to start getting creative to help parents go back to school.