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If you do a search here under your key words you will get a lot. Here's a thread that may help https://www.teachingchannel.org/questions/how-can-a-new-teacher-promote-parental-engagement
We've found that using technology helps parents get involved in classroom activities. Check out Bloomz (www.bloomz.net) which can help save time while improving parental engagement!
It may seem obvious, but the first and most basic step is simply to keep the parents informed. Students are often uncommunicative when their parents ask "How was school?", and so many parents do not have a good idea what is going on in their child's classroom. It is on us as teachers to keep them in the loop, whether through classswide newsletters, a class Twitter account, personal emails and phone calls, or any number of other methods.
Communication, while essential, is not enough by itself. Explicitly asking for parent participation in activities and assignments can yield positive results. Organizing school activities that parents and children can attend together, while difficult during school hours, can pay dividends in increased parent involvement and interest.
Finally, the most important thing to be communicated to parents is that you, the teacher, are their ally. Communication and engagement cannot take place if the teacher and parents have an adversarial relationship.
It is important to start off on the right foot at the beginning of the school year with parents/guardians in order to gain genuine parental engagement. Parents need to know right off the bat that you are committed to the success of the student and are here to help them make that happen. They need to know that you are accessible and how to do so, i.e. email, call, text, etc. Options are key. Each family brings about various situations. What might work for one parent, might not work for another. Technology allows for multiple avenues such as remind app, email blasts, websites, twitter, blogs, Today Meet, etc. However, other alternatives need to be available. Written communication or phone calls can also be effective in communicating with parents.
Options are important in engaging parents in school/classroom activities. Surveying parents to find out the best options for availability and areas of interest can help determine parental engagement efforts. Occasions like family nights (science night, technology night, reading night, etc.), assemblies, extra curricular activities, school expos, etc. provide various opportunities for parents to become involved in the school. It is important to communicate opportunities for participation such as projects, sending supplies, volunteer options in the classroom and school, etc. There will always be some parents who are unable and/or refuse to become engaged. While it may be frustrating, never stop trying to achieve parental engagement.
I think that the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is by simply engaging the parent personally in some way within the first 2-3 weeks of school. There may be other ways to do this, but I think that the most effective ways to engage a parent personally during this time is by making a home visit, calling the parent, or at the very least, sending them an individualized email. I think this personal touch is important because, just as students are much more likely to learn from a teacher they know, parents are much more likely to stay in meaningful contact with a teacher that they at least feel they know.
I feel as if I am doing some echoing here, but you all have made excellent points. The best way to gain active and genuine parental involvement is to constantly let them know that you want the best for their child. By constantly reaching out and being available to the parents, they will begin see you as a valuable resource in their child's education. Often times, like Will mentioned, children don't care to keep their parents informed about whats going on in school. Parent's can ask daily about what was learned only to hear "nothing." I can only imagine how frustrating that would be as a parent. When the parent knows you genuinely care and want to keep them updated, they in turn will be genuine with you. Knowing that you are both advocates for the same team will make your relationship much stronger. If you can show that you are there for them, they will be there for you.
One way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to set a warm and welcoming tone in your letter to parents (sent home on the first day of school). The letter should show that you are enthusiastic about the school year and it should explain your expectations for the students and how you plan to keep in contact with the parents (phone, email, progress notes, social media, etc). Also, teachers should provide parents with a calendar for class and school wide events. Some parents do not have flexible work schedules but if given adequate notification, parents can possibly make arrangements at work so they can participate in school functions.
Teachers should be in constant communication with parents about their child's progress. If teachers only contact parents when something is wrong, parents will be less likely wiling to cooperate or engage with teachers. Teachers should be mindful that students and their families have individual needs. Just because something works for one student does not mean it will work for another student. When parents see that a teacher will go the extra mile for their child, they will want to stay in connection with that teacher.
Finally, even when parents are hard to reach, teachers should continue to try. It may be challenging, but don't give up! Some parents are not intentionally disengaging. They may need extra support and resources.
Setting the tone at the beginning of the year will be key in gaining genuine, active parental engagement. You could do this through a parent letter or parent gathering during the first week of school. Teachers should let the parents know the commitment they have to their student’s education and their plan to drive success. The letter can also be used to let them know about big events, trips, projects, etc. that will be taking place during the school year. This will allow parents to plan, keep students on track and even attend events their child will be involved in.
Being in such a technology driven society these days, connecting with parents through the use of email newsletters or apps such as ‘Remind’ will help keep parents engaged all year long. This method will allow you to keep parents up to date with student progress, as well as events or large assignments going on.
Some of this may be reiteration, but I feel all of the points established are extremely important. I believe first impressions when you meet the parents lay the groundwork for a positive teacher, parent, and student relationship. The teacher having and portraying a welcoming and united front with the parents is critical. Share that you have similar goals for the student’s success, and you only want the best for the students. Additionally, have multiple ways that the parents can contact you if there is a problem. Having various means of communication will show the parents that your door is always open for communication. I would send the contact information home with the student on the first day with the letter introducing yourself. Encourage parent participation throughout the year (parties, events etc.). Finally, I would send weekly reports to parents (via remind, FB, twitter, email etc.), but I would also send notes home with the kids that praise good work. I believe that positive praises sent to parents about their child go so far in establishing open and genuine parent involvement.
I think a great way to gain parental engagement initially is through open house. Open house should be a time to get to know each parent and share with them what you have planned for the year. This is also a time to give parents ideas of what they can help with throughout the year. Inviting parents to help with activities in class, as well as asking for volunteers for field trips is a great way to get them involved. Keeping each parent informed and reaching out to parents individually is very important in keeping them involved. Keeping them informed can be done several ways including emailing them to check in with them, a class blog or twitter, as well as text reminders for things going on with their child. I really like the idea of having weekly parent volunteers for younger grades. This could be done every Friday and a fun way for parents to be involved in activity or snack time.
Like others said, I strongly believe the first impression is the most important and sets a tone for the relationship between parent and teach for the remainder of the year. If a parent sees a genuine, exciting teacher , they are likely to be engaged. Including a multitude of ways parents can be involved also helps to engage parents. If parents understand what's happening in the classroom, they'll want to be a part of the transformational learning that's happening. Technology is such an asset to use to engage parents, because it's a part of their lives anyways. Getting to know the parents is just as important as getting to know your students, in my opinion.
Once again, the posts on this question are great, and I agree with the suggestions completely. I think first impressions and setting the tone at the beginning of the year help gain genuine parental engagement! I think it is important to have several different options of communication open for parents through out the school year. Everyone's schedule is different and home situations are never the same for each student/parent. I think by activity trying to stay in contact with each parent through email, applications (such as Remind), conferences, phone calls, and letters weekly will help parental engagement. I feel that by being flexible on the different ways to communicate will help a parents feel that their envelopment is truly wanted/needed. I think Michelle made a really good point on her post when she said, "If you can show that you are there for them, they will be there for you." I think this statement says a lot about parent/teacher relationships. Knowing not only your student's background but also their family's background can help you build a solid relationship.
I feel the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is communication and interaction. When reading the different articles on parental engagement, it made me think...what if I made a 15-30 minute home visit to each of my students houses the first week of school. First, I would discuss with them the expectations for their child and expectations for them. Second, I would ask them what they need from me in order for them to become more engaged with their child and at the school. Third, I would ask them their 3 means of communication they would want to use.
I know that seems very time consuming and maybe not even legal in a way, but I feel it is necessary to let the parents know how important their involvement is in their children's lives. Also, if I were a parent and a teacher wanted to come to my house to meet, I would appreciate that teacher even more because he/she made the effort to come when they didn't have to and even ask me what I need from them to become more involved. It's genuine and personal, and builds rapport as well.
While I'm not sure just how I am going to gain genuine, active parental engagement, I realize without it, there isn't much hope for my students to succeed. In every study I have seen regarding parental involvement and student success, there's no doubt that students perform better when their parents/guardians are involved in their education.
I believe we must get these parents right away. We can't wait until the student is failing to reach out to them. We have to make the effort to get them to open house and then keep them involved throughout the school year. I plan to use the students to help me with this. If the students are asking them to come to various functions and then I follow up with a phone call, we are more likely to get them there.
I think this partnership between teacher and parent is important. Teachers need to make the parents feel that we are on their team and willing to work with them to help their child. If the parent doesn't feel threatened, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Like the other posts, I think having a great first impression is the first step to gaining genuine, active parental engagement. Most parents have great instincts, so it important that this is done correctly. Communication with parents is key. They are busy just like everyone else, so keeping them up to date will help them stay involved. I am a very big believer that having early communication can help resolve future problems that may occur. It is also important to give parents options to reach you. This way each parent can communicate with you in his or her most comfortable form. Let them know that you will be available. If it is necessary, don’t hesitate to make a home visit if the parent approves it. In my opinion, this may actually be the best way to gain parents trust and get them even more involved.
Again, all of the post to this question offers some great suggestions. As humans beings we want to be in an environment where we are valued. Just as students want to feel like they matter, parents do as well. For the most part parents have some idea as to how their involvement benefits their child, but many are unaware of how their engagement directly impacts them as parents, the educators and administration in their child’s school, the school, and the community. By informing parents of how the benefits of their involvement extend far beyond their child, it can motivate them to take an active interest in their child’s school.
Educators can sometimes assume parents already know why it is important for them to be involved, but that is not always the case. Teachers can send this information to parents at the beginning of the school year along with their welcome letter as a “Did You Know” flyer. They can also post the information in main office, on the class Facebook page, school website, emailed, and hand it out at school events. Teachers can also make periodic phone calls to parents that have not participated in school events and encourage them to participate and thank those who have participated. Teachers can also send hand written thank you notes to parents. This gives the teacher an opportunity to build and maintain a positive rapport with parents.
In my opinion, the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to start off on day one reaching out to each individual parent. First, find out what means of communication will work best for each individual parent and do your best to communicate on this level with the parent. If a parent does not have access to the internet, your class twitter page or blog page will be of no use to this parent. So, knowing what limitations a parent may have will establish rapport between the teacher and parent. The parent will feel valued and important in their child's academic success. Speak to your students. Ask the students what the best means of communication might be for their parent or guardian. Keep in mind not all students want their parent or guardian involved. In these cases, always take an initiative to reach out personally by mailed letter to the home address on file or a phone call when applicable. Sending home a print monthly newsletter in addition to a social media info page, are great methods of communication, but not all parents will be able to use these venues. Whatever your avenue of communication may be, be sure it is one which is accommodating for each parent. This may be time consuming at first, but in the end well worth the effort.
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