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What is the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement?

Jan 6, 2015 6:09pm

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    • Jan 12, 2015 5:35am

      I've found some parents appreciate indirect updates or more universal updates that they can check in and check out at their convenience. Some schools or programs within schools use facebook pages or twitter accounts for more general output. Classroom teachers can link up to the school's main website with their own webpages and post information about the class work, home work, projects, and upon parent permission, pictures of the students (perhaps on fieldtrips or learning a new science lesson). Sometimes teachers will use googledocs or another shared online resource such as drop box for posting grades/marks, sharing documents and flyers--especially those that may need to be printed multiple times in a busy home, or updates to class schedules and calendars. It depends on the district and use of "smart" technologies but these can make access easy.

      • Jan 12, 2015 5:48am

        One of my first communications with parents include an invitation to write me a letter about their child. It includes their strengths, weaknesses, and anything they want me to know. This helps establish a partnership with parents and a relationship with the child before me.

        • Mar 15, 2015 7:25pm

          Establishing a class account on a social media platform for educators is an excellent way to encourage parents to become involved. Also, going the extra mile by keeping them up to date on their child(ren)'s performance is essential. It is important to speak highly of positive behavior and academic success while also broaching the subject of critical issues with regard to behavior and/or scholastic performance. It is important to broach the latter subject with a calm, yet firm and serious demeanor. It is never a good idea to only contact parents about the latter. No one likes a negative Nancy, and this will only cause the parents to believe that you have a low opinion and regard of their child. Consistency and frequency in communication are key.

          • Jan 7, 2015 12:48pm

            I like to include parents by offering times/days for them to come into the classroom and participate in ongoing stations or activities. I also ask parents throughout the year to "pitch" ideas to me of projects they would like to do. Last year I did a family cooking project with a parent where we had families come in once a month and teach the class how to cook a meal. Then we made a class cookbook at the end of the year.

            • Jan 12, 2015 5:50am

              I realize the suggestions don't sound like genuine, active ways parents can engage but I will say this: the more reminders and access to timely information a parent can get, the more likely it will be that they make themselves available for the school and classroom events. A sign-up sheet for volunteer reading is much easier to view and modify when shared with all individuals via googledocs than when posted on the door outside the class. The suggestions may not yield the most tangible engagement but it can be a vehicle for more active participation.

              • Jan 19, 2015 5:13pm

                I agree, ongoing shorter to digest updates are a great way to keep parents involved/engaged. One year I used a private blog with a password so that I could post pictures and info about the class while maintaining privacy.

                • Mar 12, 2015 9:54am

                  The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is obviously a clear line of communication. But how do we do that? As teachers, we should give parents multiple ways to communicate with us. One way to get a hold of one parent may not be the best way to get a hold of another; it is our job to figure this out. It is also important for parents to understand that teachers are imperfect people too. We need to ensure parents know that we are going to give 100% to their child all the time and if sometimes we don't we want parents to call us on it. If parents can trust teachers then I think there will be inevitable active engagement. I also think active parental engagement begins in the classroom with the student. If the student goes home everyday and talks positively about their teacher, the parents will be more likely to have a positive relationship with the teacher; the same goes goes with negative relationships in the classroom.

                  • Mar 13, 2015 8:18am

                    The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to make the parents feel that they have a valuable say in their child's education. There should be a very clear and established line of communication among teacher and parents. Parents should feel that the teacher is putting effort into gaining trust and respect from the parent, and making a conscious effort to include the parent. Teachers must make sure to relay all necessary information to parents as well as any information that parents might just want to know.
                    Parents should have the opportunity to engage in classroom learning throughout the year. The teacher should make it clear that a parent is welcome at all times in all areas of learning. If a teacher creates a partnership with parents, it will cause the parents to feel like they are genuinely needed, which will result in genuine engagement.

                    • Mar 14, 2015 10:38am

                      I think the best way to gain active parental engagement is to stay connected with the parents throughout each week. Rather than communicating only at conferences, teachers should provide updates on both student achievement/behavior and class progress. A class blog or website and text messaging are great ways to provide parents with class updates and assignment due dates, as well as important school-wide dates. Using an online grade book and behavior monitoring system is a great way to keep parents updated on their child. An important thing to remember is that a teacher must communicate positive notes to the parents as well as the negative ones so parents do not expect a negative piece of information every time you make contact. This continued communication allows parents to feel engaged and has knowledge of what is happening with their child. The teacher keeps the lines of communication open so if parents have any questions or concerns, they can do so.

                      • Mar 14, 2015 7:47pm

                        I believe that the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is by providing communication constantly throughout the year. I think it is important to give updates twice monthly if not more often. I think twice a month is a reasonable amount of times to give information while still being able to deal with your personal life and work life. I would, of course, let the parents know that I will always be willing to meet with them at any time during the year if they have any concerns. Keeping an open line of communication and making sure that is known up front with not only ease the parents worries but also allow them to feel as though they can contact me at anytime when needed.

                        • Mar 14, 2015 9:46pm

                          The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to keep constant contact and show genuine interest in the concerns, interests and suggestions of the parents. First, you must always be in contact with the parents of your students. This can be in the form of a class web page, a paper newsletter sent home weekly or monthly, email or text groups or any other way you prefer. Also, this means having an easy way for the parents to get in touch with you, again through comments, emails, text messages, or phone calls. Also, you have to always act interested in the parents’ concerns and suggestions. You must always do everything you can to accommodate them or explain clearly why you cannot. The parents will not care to be involved if they feel that you are not concerned with what they have to say. They need to know that you are willing to do whatever you can for the students and that you think what they have to say and have concerns about are valid and important to you.

                          • Mar 14, 2015 10:23pm

                            I feel that the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to have a brief face-to-face meeting before classes start. I believe that first impressions are everything and they are the key to a successful parent-teacher relationship. When the parent or guardian come to my class, I will make sure that my class is warm and welcoming. I want both the parent and student to feel comfortable. This is where their children will be five days out of the week so the class should have a good vibe to it.

                            Also, another way to save face is to keep regular contact with the parent or guardian. I will make time to call parents and tell them how well their child is doing and that I am so glad they are in my class. Parents will see that I am truly dedicated to my job and that I care about each and every student's well-being.

                            • Mar 15, 2015 12:33pm

                              I think the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to keep an open line of communication with the parents. Let them know what is going on in the classroom by keeping a blog or website they can check at their own leisure. When they see what their children are working on in class, and how it is benefiting the child’s well-being, it will encourage the parents to support their child's education. Another way to do this is by making yourself appropriately available to the parents. When they see that you make a conscious effort to do what it takes for their child’s success by being available for them, I believe it motivates them to get on board the success ship as well. When parents and educators are on the same page and the child is experiencing the continuity between the school and home, the likelihood of the child’s success is much higher.

                              • Mar 15, 2015 1:12pm

                                The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to offer multiple ways of communication whether it be a classroom website, a newsletter, a blog, face to face communication, phone calls, etc. What works for one parent may not work for another. Teachers should connect with parents all through out the year, not just at parent teacher conferences. Most schools offer classroom websites. The teacher should keep the website up to date so that parents and students can look on the site for information. A classroom blog or text messaging is a good way for parents and teachers to communicate. Teachers should make themselves available for face to face communication. Remember to send positive notes home, not just negative notes. Continuous parent communication keeps parents involved and shows them that you truly care about their child and his/her education.

                                • Mar 15, 2015 1:48pm

                                  I believe to gain genuine, active parental engagement you must show the parents how invested you are in their child. One way is by showing up to their child's (your student's) extra curricular activities, such as ball games, choir concerts, band concerts, drama club plays, and quiz bowl tournaments. Just this past year of teaching I have shown up to many of those things and I have gotten to talk with many parents that I normally would not see at all. This has opened the line of communication, that was not previously there.
                                  Another way to gain active parental engagement is to invite them to observe your classroom. I have actually had a few take me up on that offer (I'm in secondary education) and I have loved those times when parents are in my classroom. It has made class time run more smoothly, probably because of the extra pair of eyes that are watching them. By inviting parents into the classroom, it shows that you have nothing to hide and you are comfortable in your teaching capabilities.

                                  • Mar 15, 2015 3:54pm

                                    I believe that the best way to gain genuine and active parental engagement is to provide an open line of communication from the teacher to the parents. I do not have not own classroom at this time so I have not had any experience in this, but in my opinion parents will probably not be the first to initiate communication. The teacher should provide parents with information regarding volunteer activities within and outside of the classroom. This can easily be completed through email or a classroom blog.

                                    • Mar 15, 2015 7:57pm

                                      Student-teacher conferences always had a huge negative connotation when I was a kid. I usually acted out in class and did a horrible job of following the rules. Because of this, my parents were always frustrated to be hearing from a teacher. This meant that something bad had happened. I feel like many times parents and teachers become disconnected because they can feel like they’re just keeping their kids busy during the day. This is particularly unfortunate, but parents automatically react negatively if they get a phone call or email from a teacher one evening. I’d like to call parents to notify them of positive things, I want to make an open blog for students and parents alike, I want to make my email address readily accessible for anyone to contact me, I want to open up a dialogue of support and camaraderie. I feel like these are necessary steps, and with a little bit of tweaking and experimentation, parents will reach out and close the circle of engagement.

                                      • Mar 17, 2015 2:57pm

                                        The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement falls under one word: Communication. I think the first key to parental engagement is establishing from the beginning that you are very willing to keep the lines of communication open concerning their child. The opportunity comes with the welcome letter you send at the beginning of the school year. In this letter, you establish your expectations concerning their child and you also provide all the ways a parent can keep in contact with you. Utilization of something innovative such as a google + group or a texting service can keep the lines of communication open. A parent doesn't have to take off work or schedule a parent teacher conference with you. They are free to contact you because you are right there at the tip of their fingertips. Sending out those weekly grade reports and updating parents on the progress of their child or the behavior of their child are all things that help keep parents engaged.

                                        • Mar 17, 2015 8:56pm

                                          You must show parents that you genuinely want their active involvement. Many parents are very willing to jump in and help out but may not want to make the first move or may not know how to help. You want to always send a newsletter at the beginning of the year explaining what you expect of the students AND of the parents and continue with weekly or monthly newsletters. Let them know what they can do to help. Give them a list and let them sign up for things. Invite them to the classroom. You can also make home visits and give parents a call with good news about their children throughout the year. You can hold a parent meeting during the first month of school. Show your genuine interest in learning at home and provide assistance where you can. Involve the parents in reading groups, remedial assistance, and always address parents concerns head on.

                                          • Mar 20, 2015 3:37pm

                                            Reading through this amazing thread, I thought of another thing I've done to include parents in the classroom. At the beginning of the school year, I offer a home visit to each family. This allows me a glimpse into each child's life and a chance to chat with their parents one on one. This could be something you offer and schedule throughout the school year. It is definitely a time investment, but it is so worth it!

                                            • Jun 15, 2015 9:35pm

                                              In my opinion, the best way to gain active parental engagement is to capture parent buy-in at your very first opportunity and continue doing so. This can be done in a variety of ways. For me, I think it would include sending a letter home to parents on the first day of school, stating that you are looking forward to working with their child and getting to meet the parent. First day letters should be followed up with a phone call home. Convey to parents that you truly care about each of your students' success and make it a habit to call parents for positive behavior, instead of only when the child has acted up. This small act shows parents that you care about their child and the parent will likely be more willing to interact with you, while also encouraging the student as well as the teacher.

                                              • Jun 17, 2015 8:26am

                                                Starting the year off positively with each parent is very important. Taking some time to call each parent shows that you care about their student and that you are more than willing to help the child in any way that you can. Establishing open communication from the very start will let parents know that you are passionate about their child's education. Gaining this trust from parents at the beginning of the year is an excellent start to getting parents actively involved. Setting up a way to stay in contact with parents whether it be through sending a newsletter every week or two through email or sending a hard copy home with the students, setting up a Remind101, or even a Pinterest account just for that class. Setting up times for parents to come in throughout the school year for show and tell, or Reading Time, or even a career day. Allowing parents to come on field trips or to classroom parties is a good way to get them to the school and involved. At the beginning of the year you could send home a sheet "Homework Tips for Parents" so they know their involvement is crucial for helping their child succeed.

                                                • Jun 17, 2015 11:02pm

                                                  One of the keys to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to be proactive about it. Being the first one to reach out to them at the beginning of the year and letting them know that you expect open communication is a great way to let them know "I'm here for you whenever you need me."

                                                  Another way to ensure the parents continued engagement is by giving them multiple channels to engage with. Don't just give them an email address or phone number to contact you. Give them an email address, phone number, blog, Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, whatever it takes. The more ways they have available to communicate and interact with you the more likely they are to do it. Just be open and inviting, personable. Let them know that their child's success is a team effort. Invite them to engage in the classroom, give them a list of "parental duties" that you will need help with throughout the year and let them choose what they feel most comfortable doing. This way their interactions with you are not just limited to "online." They can be engaged face to face with you and their child.

                                                  • Jun 18, 2015 5:03am

                                                    I think the best way to gain genuine parental involvement is to actually be genuine. I like to communicate to the parents of my students that we are a team in this process. If we can work together, we really can do more for their child. I have found that by letting them know that you view this relationship as a partnership they are usually more likely to be more active in the process.

                                                    Once you have communicated this with parents, it is important to then provide them with opportunities to be involved more than just at parent teacher conferences. Letting them help you when possible is a great way to partner with them. Some parents may be intimidated by the parent-teacher relationship for various reasons. By letting them know you value their opinion and help, this could help to make that relationship more comfortable.

                                                    Just like with the teacher/student relationship, it is important to be warm, friendly and inviting when building the teacher/parent relationship. When they can feel that you genuinely care, I think this leads to greater parental engagement in the classroom and educational process.

                                                    • Jun 18, 2015 11:25am

                                                      I believe, simply put, that the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to genuinely, and actively engage the parents. When people are engaging, it invites engagement. A teacher needs to take some time and effort to draw the parents' interest to what they're trying to do. They need to take the initiative. Part of this draw is that it needs to demand little from the parent. So many things vie for parents' time from work to personal problems; that means it needs to be fast and simple for the parent to do. Give the parent easy options for contact. Make it easy for them to see what's happening in their child's class. Also, show the parents' that they are appreciated and important in their child's education. All of these things can be accomplished through webpages, emails, texts, chats, or whatever. I believe the key is accessibility and ease with a good helping of genuine care.

                                                      • Jun 18, 2015 1:35pm

                                                        The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to convey a positive interest in their child's success from the beginning. Share teaching philosophy, goals, and expectations with parents so that all parties involved will understand the end game of this relationship. Not only is it important to share your perspective, but it is just as important to listen to parents and find out the environment these students are coming from. Knowledge of the student/parent's condition can add a level of understanding when situations occur. Another tactic for parental engagement is to maintain communication, even if that's only a weekly email. Share with parents about class and their child's participation or behavior and also invite parents to come observe and/or participate in class activities.

                                                        • Jun 18, 2015 2:26pm

                                                          My parents loved coming to school events. I believe school events is a relaxed environment and parents get a chance to see the classroom and see what the kids are learning. I also think keeping in contact with parents about lesson plans of the future. If parents know what the child is learning they can formulate better questions than "how was your day" or "what did you learn about today." Constant contact with the parents are very key to the parent/teacher relationship. I will probably try a weekly email to tell what kids did the last week and tell them what is coming up for the next week.

                                                          • Jun 20, 2015 12:46pm

                                                            To gain genuine, active parental engagement, I believe the teacher has to initiate communication. If a parent knows you are available for emails, texts, and phone calls, they are more likely to take advantage of that. I believe it is also a good plan to have consistent communication. Sending out a weekly email or text message to parents for announcements and assignments helps them to feel involved in their child's education. Now, there will also be those parents that was to know every aspect of their child's education, and I could see it would be easy to ignore them sometimes. But if you want genuine parental engagement, you have to address every question and concern quickly and thoroughly.

                                                            • Oct 20, 2015 11:28am

                                                              I think one thing that Dr. Mills has helped us to see is that in order to maintain active parental engagement one must have good communication with the parents of your students. There are many ways of doing this, but one of the best ways of setting this up is by giving a positive phone call home to your students' parents after the first day or two of school. Once you have done this it paves the way for all future communication to build upon. It is important to have weekly communication home to your parents. This can be done through blogs, email, twitter, facebook, and a variety of other apps and technology. Just as students need to feel welcome and comfortable in your classroom to aide their learning parents need to feel welcome and comfortable in your classroom in order for them to participate. Consistent, positive communication with parents will help them feel invited and welcome to participate in your classroom activities.

                                                              • Mar 21, 2015 10:27am

                                                                i like to give teachers comfrenceing

                                                                • Mar 21, 2015 10:27am

                                                                  continued with parents

                                                                  • Jun 19, 2015 12:55pm

                                                                    The best way to gain genuine parental engagement is by making the parent feel important in their child’s learning process. Most people like to feel important to begin with but when you allow a parent to feel like they have a say in their child’s success, it really catches their attention. Teachers need to make the parent feel welcomed to provide feedback and make it easy for the parent to get in contact with the teacher.

                                                                    Ways to make parents feel welcome to provide feedback are sending home a note at the beginning of the year letting them know that they can contact you with concerns, be open to the feedback when they give it, be positive, and be respectful even if they are not. Providing several options to communicate with the teacher allows parents to communicate in the way they feel most comfortable. For example, some parents may feel more comfortable sending the teacher an email than meeting the teacher face to face. The parent may also work during school hours and only have time in the evening to express their concerns.

                                                                    • Jun 20, 2015 3:08pm

                                                                      The best way to gain genuine active parental engagement is to first figure out how the parents in general would like to be contacted. I think that an online presence is crucial. I would want to make class website that has all of the information that the student and parents will need to be able to succeed. For example the syllabus, assignments and even some of the worksheets and power points presented in the class. From past research in class, I noticed that planning events for the parents to express concerns and ideas but also to see what their children are doing in the classroom. Some parents will be very busy so to have the website consistently updated and a few emails sent out, it will still keep them in the loop but won't necessarily bombard them with too much information.

                                                                      • Jun 20, 2015 3:55pm

                                                                        Honestly, I think so many parents today are as consumed as their children by technology. I see numerous parents every day who are so engrossed in their cell phones that they can hardly hear their children speaking to them. I think the best way to keep parental contact and to notify them of important information is by: text, a website, or a blog site. People are so obsessed with social media, and most people get notified throughout the day if any little thing happens on their pages. Phones get checked so often that it is almost guaranteed that choosing to communicate through that medium is nearly foolproof. Parents can respond to you as the teacher, but they can also share thoughts with one another. No one has to be dependent on a newsletter or an email anymore; important reminders and issues can be right at their fingertips. Videos can even be shared with them of their child's progress, so that evidence of learning is more sound.

                                                                        • Jun 20, 2015 9:00pm

                                                                          It is important to engage in communication with parents early and often. It begins in the first week of class. I believe that teachers should give the parents of each student a courtesy call. This lets the parents know that you actually care about the success of their student. If they feel that you are invest in their child, they may be more likely to assist you and the student if problems arise in the future. Also, send out frequent progress reports to parents, in order to keep them in the know. At the first sign of trouble, call the parents and make them aware of your concerns. A final way to keep the parents engaged is through social media. It is not difficult to create a facebook group or a google plus community for your class. Here you can post assignments, class updates, and general info to keep your parents 'in the know'. Not only will the parents appreciate your effort, but keeping them involved will almost assuredly lead to increased success of your students in the classroom. At the end of the day that is what really matters!

                                                                          • Jun 21, 2015 3:36pm

                                                                            For one, gaining parental engagement is not easy and will require much more work on the part of the teacher than the parent. Communicating with parents is also not so easy, especially in areas of lower SES. I think a teacher needs to get the parents hooked in that first week of school. Hopefully the office will have updated charts with home phone numbers since it is the beginning of the year and the parents are excited that their kids are back in school after a summer off at home. Get a hold of the parents then and invite them to be a part of their child’s learning. Let them know what the best way is to contact you, and also let them know how much you want their child to succeed. This is also the time to let them know if you are doing a monthly newsletter or whatever. Don’t just start sending a monthly newsletter home without the parents knowing ahead of time. It may just rot in the child’s backpack if the parent has no idea of its existence. In short, hook them in the beginning.

                                                                            • Jun 21, 2015 3:51pm

                                                                              I like the suggestion of establishing contact with parents early in a positive way. I loved the article on our community page about calling home at the beginning of the year and calling with encouragement. I know in my home a teacher's call was a REALLY bad thing and would be followed by a good butt whooping.

                                                                              I really don't approve of the assume-they-have-to-do-it methods that I see, especially at the elementary level. As a parent, I don't like being "appointed" to anything, even snack duty. I do like to be involved, but it would be great if I could sign up, rather than being notified. Some parents can donate time, some money, some neither. It does not necessarily mean that a parent doesn't care if they can't do a book fair. I think the more parents feel pushed, the less likely they are to participate, not more so.

                                                                              I also love the idea of community pages. Sometimes the only free time I have is late at night and this would be a perfect time to check a page and read or comment.

                                                                              I think that making parents feel valued, but not put-upon, and definitely not looked down on is key.

                                                                              • Jun 21, 2015 8:39pm

                                                                                Genuine and active parent engagement is not only the ongoing, two-way communication between educators and parents. Genuine engagement implies a sense of sincerity and openness, providing both parent and educators to form a partnership in the communication process. Schools seeking improve upon their parent engagement efforts should start with the parents, creating opportunities to discuss that they want to do for the school and what they want from the school. The school community should reflect on their perceptions about parent engagement. How can a school work to develop genuine and active parent engagement when many staff feel hindered by parent contact? Staff reflection meetings can signal the need for professional development. The school community should also consider the current activities they are doing. Are the current opportunities provided to parents more informative (i.e.transmitting information) or collaborative (i.e. parents are involved as partners in planning groups involved in school-based decision making)?

                                                                                • Jun 21, 2015 9:25pm

                                                                                  I feel the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to simply ask parents and get them involved. Teachers can not engage a parent if he or she is not involved. One way a teacher can engage a parent is have him or her fill out a parent interest survey on the first day of school. By having the parents complete the survey it allow the teacher to see the various areas of interest the parents are interested in. The teacher can utilize this information through out the school year. By knowing what parents are interested in gives the teacher an opportunity to encourage the parents to become more involved by concentrating on their interests. Parents will be more engaged when it is something that he or she wants to do. Another way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is the "old fashion way," through phone calls, emails, and letter home. These methods allow you to still communicate with parents and engage them about different aspects of his or her child or events happening in the school.

                                                                                  • Jun 25, 2015 8:24pm

                                                                                    Meeting face to face is probably the best way to gain genuine parental engagement, it is hard in our busy world, but we should try by inviting parents to even small events at the school throughout the year. Another one of the best ways to gain parental engagement is to have information available to them. Having assignments, due dates, school events, and classroom needs in a format where it can be referenced easily is what works for me a parent, either a weekly newsletter, a Facebook page, or both. I believe parents are more inclined to be involved if they know what is going on and how they can help. I also think you should frequently remind parents of how and when is the best way to contact you, not just in the beginning of the year.

                                                                                    • Jul 18, 2015 7:07pm

                                                                                      I think that the key to active parental engagement is continuous communication with all of the parents. If parents had a continuous doorway to communication with their child’s teacher, they might be more active in the class because they know what is going on and what they are needed for. Having a weekly newsletter sent home each week would help keep that line of communication open. Another easy way would be to have a website that is updated daily for the parents. I think other than communication, having parents come help out with activities during the day would work really well. That way they would have a chance to take part in the child’s education.

                                                                                      • Jul 21, 2015 10:57am

                                                                                        There are a couple ways to gain genuine, active parental involvement in your classroom. The most basic way is to find out what your parents need from you to feel encouraged to be involved. Parents need very different things and can contribute in very different ways. Finding out how they can help is the first thing you need to do for your classroom. An easy way to do this is to send out a survey to your parents and get direct responses from them to meet their needs. Once you've found out the needs, you can choose to address them individually or to group them. Another resource is to use a monthly newsletter. In these newsletters, you could express when you need help or have ways for parents to get involved. The best thing to do when thinking about parent involvement is to remain open minded about the differences in parents. Include all of your parents in involvement and your class will reap the rewards.

                                                                                        • Jul 21, 2015 12:57pm

                                                                                          I think the best way to achieve truly interactive parental communication and involvement is to use a variety of communication mediums. Today, everyone is expected to have a smartphone, unlimited internet access, and a variety of technologically advanced gadgets and apps to stay connected; sometimes paper is necessary. Another consideration is the language barrier with parents that may be severely limited or non-existent English proficiency when the students are classified as ESL or ELL. Teachers in this situation should take the extra step and use an online translator to communicate with parents in their native language. Instructions can be translated and posted in the volunteer workroom for parents who wish to assist in that capacity. Imagine the cultural experiences that could be part of a diversity unit or celebration. Imagine reading a "good news" note about your child. Imagine not relying on student communication of a problem note that was somehow lost in translation. The onus is on the teacher to create open and welcome, two-way communication.

                                                                                          • Jul 22, 2015 11:27am

                                                                                            Engagement (both parental and students) is one of the most important challenges that a new teacher can face. A key element to engagement is communication. There are several ways in which teachers can communicate and gain parental engagement. I think the most effective ways are technology-based. Emails, facebook, blogging, twitter, and text messaging are all ways in which the lines of communication can be opened and remain open. The use of email is a tremendous tool that can be used to keep parents updated and engaged. Facebook has also been a great tool to use, as a teacher can set up pages (and send notifications) for specific classes. Another useful tool to encourage parent engagement is blogs. Many schools have foregone the traditional newsletter in favor of a blog that is updated on a regular basis. Twitter is also another method by which parents can stay updated and informed on what is going on their child's school and class. One of my favorite methods to keep parents engaged is the use of SMS app. This is an application that allows teachers to send out text messages to specific parents of specific classes at one time. This allows teachers to update parents on activities, class projects, and any other important activity that might be going on in relation to that class. This can all be done at the push of a button, with little effort required of the teacher. Engagement, although a very important (and sometimes challenging) topic, doesn't have to be difficult. By using the multiple forms of technology available, any teacher can work to keep parents engaged.

                                                                                            • Jul 22, 2015 12:33pm

                                                                                              I think one of the most difficult aspects of gaining parental engagement is that what works best is unique to each parent. Therefore, multiple approaches are required in order to reach, or at least attempt to reach, everyone. I think parents tend to pay more attention to notes concerning only their child. When it is a classroom newsletter, for example, they may not give it as much attention. A personal note concerning their child goes a long way to involving the parent. Also, if parents know to be looking for communication updates, through newsletter or website or blog, then they will be able to get into the habit of looking at it. For instance, my daughter's teachers in middle school sent out an e-mail newsletter every Friday. So, I got in the habit of knowing over the weekend to read the email about what was going on in her classes. If sometimes they sent it, sometimes they didn't, I would probably not have developed the habit of looking for communication and reading it. Consistency in communication of that nature is important.

                                                                                              • Jul 22, 2015 11:39pm

                                                                                                The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to earn their trust and communicate well. The foundation and support of most relationships is communication and trust. Guardians must first trust that the educator is providing a safe environment for their students. To earn trust, the guardian must understand from the reputation of the teacher or through personal experience with the teacher that students will be safe in the classroom and maintain respectful communication with each other. The educator must be clear about expectations and give accessible outlets of communication. Approachable teachers with good boundaries can more easily gain trust and ultimately real engagement with their students' guardians. It is unlikely that a guardian will be likely to be motivated to engage with a student if there is distrust or strained communication with the educator.

                                                                                                • Jul 23, 2015 10:25am

                                                                                                  Genuine and active involvement from parents must start with the teacher initiating a relationship and keep building it throughout the school year. Many parents have had bad experiences with things such as parent teacher conferences. It is our job to change the parent's experience around. We can do this in many different ways. This includes having open honest communication throughout the school year. Parents want to be updated about both the positives and the negatives. It is essential to update parents about the positives instead of always talking about the negatives. By updating the parents they will feel as if they are involved. I think one key aspect in creating this involvement includes inviting the parents to be involved in the classroom. This can include everything from letting them observe the class to baking treats for students. Teachers should encourage any type of participation from parents. They should also remain understanding that not all parents are going to be able to participate as much due to work schedules. Making this clear is very important. Teachers should try to involve all parents not just the stay at home parents. Much like with students, parents need to grow rapport with the teacher. This can be attained by being consistent, providing open communication and being genuine. Parents will provide the same respect to the teacher once that relationship is built. By simply building these relationships, providing open and honest communication and being consistent I believe you can easily gain genuine, active parental relationships.

                                                                                                  • Jul 23, 2015 12:40pm

                                                                                                    Teachers have to remember parents are partners in education. Communication is key. Being informative of what's going on in the classroom on a regular basis is important, but also allowing parents to send feedback. Teachers Are responsible for making sure the communication is clear and understandable, which may require a translator for parents who may only speak Spanish. Teachers also need to remain professional by adressing questions and concerns calmly and respectfully in a timely manner to ensure parents know you care. Being proactive and teaching parents how to take part in their child's education is one of the main goals in engagement. If they see your involvement then they are more likely to stay involved.

                                                                                                    • Jul 23, 2015 12:53pm

                                                                                                      In order to gain parental engagement, teachers have to have a good line of communication with the parents. Parents need to be well informed of activities going on inside and outside of the classroom that could benefit their child. Inviting parents to school functions, parent teacher conferences are a good way to keep them involved as well. I would say giving the parents the opportunity to sit in on their child's class or coming and doing an activity with their child's class would be great ways to engage and include parents in their child's education.

                                                                                                      • Jul 23, 2015 3:06pm

                                                                                                        I believe that positive communication is the key to gain genuine, active parental engagement. Having been working in childcare for seven years, I often hear parents say that they do not feel welcomed by their child's teacher. Positive communication is the best way to bridge this gap. As teachers our first contact with parents should be positive. Our communication must also be straightforward with parents. We as teachers must take into consideration that parental engagement is an important aspect of our students' academic success. Therefore, we want to keep a positive communication line open with the parents of our students. If the parents are comfortable with you and know that you have their child's best interest at hand, then they will be more acceptable to work with their children at home. And, encourage their children to do their best. Also, let the parents know that it is okay to voice their concerns and/or opinions about the class. Then, address their concerns. This will let the parents know that you take your job seriously. You want their children to succeed.
                                                                                                        ~Byeicha Elliott~

                                                                                                        • Jul 23, 2015 4:41pm

                                                                                                          For a teacher to gain genuine, active parental engagement, the first (and maybe most crucial) step is to make a good first impression. Reaching out to parents is critically important in forging a positive bond between a teacher and student and their families. A teacher's first communication with parents will hopefully leave a positive impression, and it should express that you welcome feedback since effective communication in any relationship goes both ways.

                                                                                                          Along with traditional means of communication, such phone calls, emails, and parent-teacher conferences, teachers can use alternative methods to connect with caregivers. Newsletters can be used to send out general class information from time to time, but it is important to also send personal messages to specific parents when their child should be commended for a job well done, either behaviorally or academically. Also, social media can give parents a glimpse into the classroom and chances to engage on their own time.

                                                                                                          • Jul 23, 2015 6:25pm

                                                                                                            Parents want communication with their children's teachers. Easy ways to do this are newsletters, classroom twitter accounts, email updates to parents who wish to have them, and notes sent out to parents on a regular basis. The twitter account is a very good idea though as not only can the teacher post updates about what is going on during class and at school, he or she could also tweet or retweet any interesting articles found on the internet. Another thing with parents is if you want engagement, most parents would love to help out, you just have to ask, and they will be right on it. If you need help with a project or supplies, just send a note out. Parents to young students especially tend to like to be interacted with and engaged with the student's education.

                                                                                                            • Jul 23, 2015 8:48pm

                                                                                                              I think that the best way to get active parental engagement is just tons of communication. The great thing about today's world is that we can use technology and not have to send papers home with kids and never know if it actually made it into the parent's hands. I think that genuine engagement is tricky because it's going to be harder to find in lower SES areas, parents who work 2 jobs are going to put their child's teacher on the back burner. I think that relaying how much you care about the students will resonate to the parents, when they see that you put time and effort into their kids they will become more engaged. Websites where you can post lessons and assignments would be a great way to engage parents as well.

                                                                                                              • Jul 24, 2015 11:06am

                                                                                                                This is a tough question, because active parental engagement is probably one of the most important steps that you can take as an educator in ensuring the success of your students. I think the first step to take is to just TRY something. Any effort in this area is better than no effort. You won't be able to get involvement from every parent, and some helicopter parents won't need your help to get involved. However, just reaching out and creating resources that parents can use and making yourself open and available to communication is a gigantic step that can bring in quite a few parents who wouldn't normally take the initiative to do so. One way that I feel makes sense is to create a spreadsheet of parents emails (provide some incentive to the students to get them to ask their parents for their information), so that you can create a mailing list to send information to, as well as be able to get in touch with a particular parent if need be. I have read quite a bit about this online, and many parents comment just on the effort that some teachers are taking to stay in touch, that hasn't been present in a student's prior teachers. That's why I say just try something; anything can help, and any effort will be seen both by the parents and the students, and can help to build rapport.

                                                                                                                • Jul 24, 2015 8:09pm

                                                                                                                  The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to let the parents know you are on the same team. If you can get the parents to see that you are working as a teammate to them in their journey to raise an educated child you will make it an easier process for you, the student, and the parents. As a teammate to the parents let them know what you are doing on your end of the deal. Keep them up to date on any assignments or projects they would need to give extra attention to. No one likes to be surprised by something they feel they should have been responsible for doing. Keep them in the loop on both the positive and negative points of their child’s progress so they will be able to tell when more encouragement may be needed or praise should be awarded. As always, good communication will allow the parents to take advantage of any opportunities they may have to make their child’s education more of a success.

                                                                                                                  • Jul 24, 2015 8:49pm

                                                                                                                    One of the best ways to engage parents is to get their children involved in extra-curricular activities that the parents can be involved in. Career and Technical student organizations, such as FFA, DECA, and FBLA help students develop through various activities. Parents who were also a part of these organizations while in school, generally are more apt to contribute their time to the activities which require more parental involvement. For the younger kids, a great way to get parents involved is to invite them to chaperone their kids on field trips and other school activities. The more the parent is involved in their child's education, the more successful the student.

                                                                                                                    • Jul 24, 2015 9:12pm

                                                                                                                      In the technological age we live in, it is easier to keep in touch with parents. This isn't always going to keep them engaged you, or their children's grades. To get maximum involvement from the parents, you have to have multiple avenues they can choose from. We have to differentiate for the students, to engage the different types of learners. Why wouldn't the parents be the same way? Students and parents need to be entertained. The more interactive and up to date you can keep your website (or whatever avenue you choose), the better your chances of keeping the parents involved. The more you are involved in the students education, the more the parents will be.

                                                                                                                      • Oct 12, 2015 10:32am

                                                                                                                        In whichever formal method a teacher decides to use to connect to parents, an authentic voice of caring and enthusiasm must be conveyed. Newsletters, videos, or emails are great ways to establish general communication. Informal and spontaneous methods of communication like texts and tweets might be perceived as the teacher being more invested in an individual student. When a parent feels like their child is a priority to a teacher, they will make that teacher a priority. For a teacher to gain genuine and active parental engagement, a teacher must show an understanding of the parents’ circumstances and strengths, and then cater requests for involvement to that parent. If a teacher hosts a community meal night or cooking lesson, he or she needs to send individualized emails in addition to a general all-call for volunteers. The same approaches to student/teacher rapport are applicable to constructing parent/teacher engagement.

                                                                                                                        • Oct 27, 2015 11:27am

                                                                                                                          Through my experiences, I have found that creating a classroom website or even a private Facebook group for parents only has helped and been the best tool for me. It allows parents to know what we are learning, fun activities, or those happy/cool moments at school that parents don't get to see. It is also a resource for parents to stay connect with work assignments, agenda/calendar, and upcoming events. It easy to say that I think most 2015 parents are much likely to read something on their phones, laptops, ipads rather than notes being sent home. Another great way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is starting from the beginning. If parents and children know you have their child and his/her learning at your best interest this is the foundation to a smooth year.

                                                                                                                          • Oct 28, 2015 9:13am

                                                                                                                            I have learned that there are so many different ways that a teacher can gain genuine, active parental engagement. They most important key to gaining parental engagement is communication with no blurred lines. If you are active in letting your parents know exactly what is going on in your classroom, whether that be through newsletters, parent lunches, parent information nights, etc., they will respond in positive ways. It you are clear and concise about when certain activities and projects are happening, they will feel connected to what their child is doing. I also believe that if you are in communication with how their child is doing along with what the classroom is doing, they will feel comfortable with their child being successful in your classroom.

                                                                                                                            • Oct 28, 2015 6:19pm

                                                                                                                              One way I have actually witnessed a way to get parents involved is having a program set up for parents to come in and help teachers during the day. Not just during special events or holidays and parties, but just a normal everyday class. I recently substituted for a school that has a program set up like this. The school called it M.A.S.H. Moms (Moms Are Super Heroes) and Watch D.O.G.S (Dads Of Great Students). The school had t-shirts and everything for these volunteers. Whenever a parent is available and signed up through the program they are able to come to school and help teachers with daily tasks. I had a dad come in one day and help me with some math questions the students were working on. This gave the students more one on one time for questions they struggled with and it helped me out tremendously. The dad just walked up and down the halls checking with teachers for a couple hours that day. the dad would make copies, join in readings, walk students to the nurse if needed, and help out in any way he was able to. At first it threw me off because I had no warning and all of a sudden there was a random dad at my door. But after getting the okay and explanation I realized this was a really good idea. It gets the parents involved 100%. Not only that but they actually get to sit in or help with the students so they know exactly what their children are learning and for some parents this can be very comforting. If you work at a school that doesn't have this program but think it's a good idea for your classroom you could check with your administration to see if you could do this with your students. Send out a letter to the parents at the beginning of the year and see what kind of response you get back. But again... I would make sure it is okay with the school before doing anything.

                                                                                                                              • Oct 29, 2015 10:14am

                                                                                                                                Basic communication is the key to gain genuine, active parental involvement. I have found that parents really just appreciate a phone call home, especially when it is a positive phone call. I feel that this creates a respectful relationship and lets parents know that you are involved in their child's growth and education. I also think a newsletter is a great idea, as it keeps parents in the loop and lets them know what their child is learning. There are also plenty of apps that are available now that enable teachers and parents to keep in touch. I currently use Class Dojo and I have parents that message me to ask me how their child has been doing and to double check the points. Just showing parents that you care about their child is usually a great way to gain parental involvement.

                                                                                                                                • Oct 29, 2015 2:20pm

                                                                                                                                  I think the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to use a variety of communication techniques. Parents and families are so diverse and so many have different abilities, styles, etc. that if you really want it to be genuine and active, you need to give options. Have an electronic, interactive way for the parents who need quick, constant, access and feedback. Have monthly newsletters that go home for the parents who don't need/want anything daily, or even weekly, but want to stay in the know. Have an email address where parents can contact you in private and have your one-on-one attention. And, of course, in all of your communication, make sure it's clear to the parents that you know and care about their kid. Overall, I think the key is to have a variety so that parents of different communication styles can all feel comfortable and have a chance to be successful in their communication.

                                                                                                                                  • Oct 29, 2015 4:06pm

                                                                                                                                    In order to gain genuine, active parental engagement, educators must reach out to parents through multiple means of communication, and stay proactive. This can be done through newsletters, weekly e-mails/google drive messages sent individually that mark the progress of their child, or class dojo. Another important component of parental engagement, is creating a reason for parents to stay involved. This includes educators viewing the parent-teacher relationship as a collaboration, not just one-way, and making a great first impression. However, not all parents make the effort to stay involved, or are not able to be as involved due to a language barrier. It is the educators job to encourage any kind of involvement from the parent, thinking of ways to help from home, and being persistent.

                                                                                                                                    • Oct 31, 2015 10:14am

                                                                                                                                      Speaking from the perspective of a parent, I can say that the teachers that make the most effort to communicate directly with the parent get the most respect, which many times translates into parental effort. Facilitating multiple means of communicating with the teacher is the most effective way of connecting with parents. By doing this, you eliminate all the "I couldn't get hold of you" excuses. The other key to this is actually staying on top of the parental messages that comes in through these avenues of communication. Answer texts, voice mails, IM's and Emails promptly. Don't create these forms of communication if you don't plan of checking them daily or at least every other day. When you do communicate, use language that is appropriate. Just like your relationship with the student, you must not try to be the parent's "friend" but their student's teacher. Be friendly, use positive language, and try not to be offensive. Parents are on the defense when it comes to their children, so be nice, but firm. Finally, when you find that a parent has not kept in communication with you on their own, it is your job as the teacher to call, text, or communicate with them as often as you can to keep them apprised to their students progress or lack thereof.

                                                                                                                                      • Nov 1, 2015 9:19am

                                                                                                                                        The best way to gain engagement from anybody is to let them know that what they share will be valued and reflected upon. At the very beginning of the year, ask parents to tell you about their students. Ask for information that a file can't give you such as what are the student's greatest strengths? Another way to show that input is valued is by giving parents plenty of opportunities throughout the year to share their opinion. You can send out an online survey asking parents what they thought went well for their student and what didn't (assuming you've kept them up to date about what's going on in the classroom). Ask for their recommendations. This last tip is simple: do your best to learn the parents' names. While you will probably not be 100% successful at this, learning the names of the parents you regularly interact with will go a long way to making them feel as if you are paying attention to them.

                                                                                                                                        • Nov 1, 2015 1:23pm

                                                                                                                                          I really like the idea of using smart phone applications to keep the lines of communication open between teacher and parent. It gives them the opportunity to keep up with their student's education at their convenience, and is also convenient for the teacher as it enables us to send us basic communication en masse. Communication between teacher and parent is crucial to getting them involved in their student's learning, but convenience is crucial to KEEPING them involved.

                                                                                                                                          • Nov 1, 2015 1:31pm

                                                                                                                                            Social media, involving the parents in classroom activities, social media, newsletters, social media, and, did I mention social media? This generation is always involved with some kind of social media. Find out what is the best way to connect with the parents. Create a classroom Twitter and update it with information about what the class is doing each week. Invite the parents to come in and get involved with one of the lessons. My friend's dad is an astronomer, and he came and taught our science class for a few days and did activities with us. The teacher worked with him and came up with a great lesson, and I still remember the activities we did with him. Include them in their child's education. Communicate with them.

                                                                                                                                            • Nov 1, 2015 3:13pm

                                                                                                                                              The best way to have genuine parental engagement is to start the beginning of the school year with open communication. At the beginning of the year have a parent fill out a form about their child. The parent can list goals and dreams that they have for their child. This lets you as the teacher connect with the parents on a personal level about their child. At some point during the beginning of the school year you can contact the parent by email or by letter and touch base with them concerning their goals and dreams for their child and how you as the teacher are going to partner with the parent to help reach that goal. This contact will let the parent know that you genuinely care about their student, which in return will gain you the parent’s engagement in your classroom.

                                                                                                                                              • Nov 1, 2015 5:12pm

                                                                                                                                                I think that the best way to get parents active in their child’s education is to make it easy for them to participate. Finding you as much as you can about your students and their family situation is essential to this. Once you have more information about the student’s parents then you can tailor your methods of communicating with them and getting them involved in a way that is both easy and feasible for them. Some parents are extremely busy or impoverished and feel like their child’s teachers may not care. Reaching out to these parents and finding out how they would like to communicate and the ways that they can be involved, when they can, is a great way to establish a relationship with them. Some parents may prefer technological means of communication and engagement, whereas, others may not even have a computer. Some students are adopted by grandparents or great-grandparents who may not be able to operate even standard technology. If a teacher goes out of their way to find out about these parents and then find ways for all types of parents to be involved in different ways then I think parents will appreciate the effort and be more engaged.

                                                                                                                                                • Nov 1, 2015 7:05pm

                                                                                                                                                  A new teacher can build a rapport with their students by creating consistency in the classroom. If students know what to expect they will be comfortable in your classroom. Student’s like to know what to expect when they come into a classroom. From the rules to the routine they like to know what is going to happen. The students will respond with friendliness and respect. Once you have created this kind of environment for the students they will begin to open up to you. Learning about the student’s interests and hobbies is a great way for the students to know that you care about them. This allows you to get to know your students on a friendly but professional level.

                                                                                                                                                  • Nov 4, 2015 9:38am

                                                                                                                                                    I believe the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to continually keep parents updated and in-the-loop as to what their children are learning in school. Parent-teacher conferences once or twice a year are not frequent enough methods of communication between teachers and parents. It can also be inconvenient for some parents to attend parent-teacher conferences. To reiterate, communication should be continuous and convenient to encourage active and genuine parental engagement. Simple tools such as social media, newsletters, and email blasts would be perfect for parents because these tools are easy-to-use and convenient for parents to check on-the-go or at home.

                                                                                                                                                    Furthermore, it's important for teachers to take steps to establish a positive rapport with parents as soon as possible. Teachers should reach out to parents at the beginning of the year to introduce themselves and the course material, and offer contact information in case there are any questions or concerns. It is important to make sure that parents understand that as a teacher you genuinely care about their child's well-being.

                                                                                                                                                    All in all, I believe that establishing a positive rapport from the beginning and maintaining continuous and convenient forms of communication are the best ways to engage and encourage active parental environment.

                                                                                                                                                    • Feb 14, 2016 3:43pm

                                                                                                                                                      Love and Logic; make connections early to introduce yourself before bad things happen. Then often or regularly (maybe send monthly emails, weekly emails, or notes home). When bad time come or students are not meeting expectation, you are not the bad guy. Focus on the curriculum, not the student.