The ABCs of Parent Involvement
Lesson Objective: See 3 ways to empower parents to become involved
Community / Parents / Collaboration

Thought starters

  1. As an educator, how do you empower parents to become involved in your classroom or school?
  2. How can you tweak parent-teacher events at your school to make them into a shared learning opportunity?
  3. Even without a parent ed class, how could you bring this opportunity to your classroom?
4 Comments
I love the idea of this video. I feel that parent involvement is an important aspect of a child's education. If the student's feel that the parent is invested in their education then they are more likely to do better in school. Teaching a parent to be an advocate for their child is also an important step in education. In this setting they both grow and learn together.
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Parental involvement is key in a students growth. It is so very important that parents understand how important it is before they take any other action. Opening up time and better understanding the school system can not only help a parent, but can help a student as well. It is in general a good opportunity to grow as an individual if the students' parents are involved as well as school staff.
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Parental involvement is definitely one of the key elements in the success of a student. Many parents believe it is the schools' responsibility to teach their child. Parents feel they don't have time or are not sure how they can be helpful. Open communication between the schools and the community is the first step in working together for the best outcome for our children.
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I am a hard-core Conservative Republican, with a wife working in the District. I am exceptionally impressed with this initiative. Very well done. Parental involvement and accountability are key to a successful educational system. While established a "korean" support group is a great idea, cross pollinating these groups will foster better understanding and cultural acceptance. Our country, and our towns (and our schools) are only as great as the "community" that is established in support of common objectives. Again, well done.
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Transcripts

  • Transcript for The ABCs of Parent Involvement

    Narrator:
    Educators in Southern California’s ABC Unified School District believe that a
    partnership between

    Transcript for The ABCs of Parent Involvement

    Narrator:
    Educators in Southern California’s ABC Unified School District believe that a
    partnership between parents and schools is central to the academic success of
    their children. Working from this philosophy, they’ve spent the past two decades
    striving to foster a high level of parent involvement.
    Dr. Mary Sieu (Interview):
    I think it happens at various levels: we have parent classes from pre-school to
    parent involvement programs all the way through high school. We really see
    parents now engaged with trying to lead other parents from their own
    experiences that they’ve had in our district and now wanting to help other parents
    in understanding how to figure out this maze called public school education.
    Narrator:
    Like many other school districts, ABC enjoys the support of an involved
    community through the PTA, booster organizations, and hundreds of school
    volunteers. But the district’s Parent Leadership Academy and its annual
    Conference build on this foundation by exploring educational issues important to
    parents, teachers, and the extended community.
    Louise Dodson:
    I became involved as a parent that was upset and didn’t know how to help my
    son maneuver through the educational process. Today, you parents are invited
    here so that you can get more tools so that you can empower yourselves and
    empower others.
    Louise Dodson (Interview):
    It’s my opportunity to give back to the community, and by giving of myself, when
    people need to call or talk or need to vent or what have you, I’m there for them.
    Dodson:
    We’re asking that you go out and you empower other parents. That’s what
    happened to me: another parent empowered me, and I met Dr. Sieu. So, we
    need you to get the power and go out and demonstrate it in a way that will benefit
    not only your child but all those that are involved with the ABC School District.
    Dodson (Interview):
    And teaching parents to be leaders – not to take over the school – but to become
    empowered enough to work alongside the school administration to improve the
    education for all kids.
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 2
    Sieu:
    The vision was to promote parent leadership. It was to build bridges between
    parents and the home, with the school, and with the community.
    Sieu (Interview):
    I helped to start the Parent Leadership Conference and Academy only because I
    saw a great need. And that stems also from my own personal experience as a
    daughter of an immigrant family from Mainland China, watching them trying to
    struggle through understanding what the American public education system was
    all about.
    Sieu:
    This is about creating relationships, about making connections, about seeing all
    of us as one unified school district.
    Narrator:
    A key component of the Parent Leadership Conference and the year-round
    Parent Leadership Academy are educational workshops. Not only are these
    workshops open to any parent in the district, but the topics are drawn from issues
    about which the parents themselves have expressed interest.
    “What Parents Need to Know”
    Presenter:
    …how important it is that on a daily basis, you act as a positive adult role model,
    and these are things that you can do to make that happen. Would you reflect just
    for a moment on people who have encouraged you in your life?
    [parents talk]
    Sieu (Interview):
    When we talk about building bridges, and whether it’s through the Parent
    Leadership workshops as well as the conference, we need to give opportunities
    for parents to meet each other, and that’s something that’s also very exciting for
    me.
    Presenter:
    Okay, everyone, why don’t we come back? And let’s talk a minute. Is there
    anybody willing to share who you talked about who was encouraging?
    Parent:
    The main who encouraged me was my grandmother. No matter what I was
    doing, whether I was, you know, doing good in school or bad in school, whatever
    it was, she was still standing behind me, cheering me on to either do more, or do
    better, whichever the case was at the time.
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 3
    Parent:
    I guess I would see other parents that provided for their children, and that’s what
    I wanted to become for mine, so I would say it was those parents that were
    involved in their children’s lives that I saw, and I wanted to duplicate that as a
    parent myself.
    Dodson (Interview):
    We offer different classes for the parents such as: How to help my child with
    homework… How to prepare more nutritious meals, Cyberbullying – since, you
    know, bullying is one of the #1 excitements right now.
    Presenter:
    Every student in our schools today is bilingual. They speak a language that is
    unique to the internet that oftentimes, as adults, we don’t understand. And so
    we’re going to start with a little vocabulary lesson, okay? What does this mean?
    Parents:
    “Okay.”
    Presenter:
    “Okay.” How about this?
    Parents:
    “Later.”
    Presenter:
    “Later.” “L-8-R” represents “later.” “POS,” that means a lot of things to a lot of
    people…
    Parent:
    Parents on site?
    Presenter:
    What is it?
    Parent:
    Parents on site.
    Presenter:
    “Parents on site.” It’s “parent over shoulder.” So now, we’re at: “Can’t talk now:
    parent over shoulder. Blah blah blah blah blah… Later, okay?” How about
    “TDTM”? Anyone? This is the hardest part. It is… So we have “Can’t talk now:
    parent over shoulder. Talk dirty to me later, okay?”
    [shocked gasps and exclamations from parents]
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 4
    Presenter:
    I know! Shock! Horror! If this is what you see on your child’s computer screen
    or cell phone screen and you can’t interpret it, chances are we’ll just ignore it.
    But if we have some sense of what it means, or if we go out and seek out what it
    means, then we are becoming empowered.
    Parent:
    We’re talking about passwords and stuff—us, as parents, shouldn’t we have, I
    mean—don’t we have a right to know our children’s passwords?
    Presenter:
    They’ll feel that you’re threatening them. If you have it, they’ll change it for a
    while until they know you’re gonna go back on it. Instead, you wanna be able to
    say, “At any given moment, I’m gonna ask you to log into your account and show
    me everything that’s there.” And you want to set it up as ‘we’re gonna sit
    together… log in…’
    Parent:
    So I may not be able to get their passwords, you know, but they know that I
    know. You know, you try to put the fear in your kids that you’re going to find out
    anyway. That’s what I do with mine.
    Presenter:
    That’s how I operated with my parents.
    Dodson (Interview):
    Just watching the parents take these skills and go back… if another parent’s
    having a problem in the classroom or whatever, they can offer the ideas. As
    leaders, you’re there, and you can offer the ideas of how to resolve, so that
    everyone’s a win-win situation.
    Narrator:
    One parent leader who returns to share her experience is Dr. Myeong-Hui Go.
    Twenty years ago her children were students at Cerritos High School. Now she
    returns to speak to parents of current students about cultural tendencies in
    parent/teen relationships.
    Dr. Go (Korean, with subtitles):
    All moms and dads see their kids like this, because we love them with our hearts
    and souls. So why is it that our kids… Why is it that they feel like this? Why?
    Let’s say our child says they got a 98% on a test. What is our response? Let’s
    be honest. Yeah, thank you. We say: “I wish you did a little better… Why?!
    Why did you miss two?”
    [parents laugh]
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 5
    Go (Korean, with subtitles):
    Yes, all Korean mothers have this habit.
    Sieu (Interview):
    Here were Korean parents who came to me and said, “We want to be able to be
    a network for each other, as well as work with Adult School to create workshops
    that would be beneficial to the parents, especially those who are second
    language learners.
    Dr. Go (Korean, with subtitles):
    The new generations change quickly, and it’s our responsibility to maintain good
    communication, but we don’t. And when that happens, it crushes our kids’
    spirits. In order to keep the inner self healthy, there has to be communication
    between parent and child.
    Sieu (Interview):
    So it’s just finding the need—what is the need of different groups?–and trying to
    address those needs as directly as possible.
    “Learning Together”
    Sieu (Interview):
    Events such as Parent Science Night at Leal Elementary—it’s where they’re not
    just getting information by a presenter or a workshop, but one where they’re
    actually learning something together.
    [parents and children chat]
    Parent (Interview):
    We’ve been coming since the kids have started school here. For Divya, it’s been
    5 years, and for Manoj it’s been 2 years.
    Manoj:
    Ooh! There’s another scorpion!
    Parent (Interview):
    I see what they are doing. They know that I know what they are doing, so it
    keeps us involved, and that’s what it’s about. It seems like this community is
    very close, shall we say, and we’re fortunate to be a part of it.
    Student (Interview):
    I’ve been coming to Science Night since I was in kindergarten. Actually, it’s, like,
    really fun because my parents know basically whay I’m doing so I don’t have to
    keep telling them.
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 6
    Student:
    Ma, look, there’s baby spiders!
    Parent:
    Where?
    Student:
    All those little things!
    Parent:
    Oh my goodness!
    Parent (Interview):
    Actually, this is, like, a fun thing to visit because some kids, you know, they don’t
    have an opportunity to see all this stuff, and they got to learn a lot of stuff in a fun
    way.
    Student:
    Ah! A caterpillar! Hermit crab!
    Bug Lady:
    Let’s try this big one… She’s making silk. It’s from special glands, like you know
    the saliva in your mouth comes from a special place? Her silk comes from silk
    glands in her abdomen.
    Parent:
    Can you see this one? Because it’s green. It’s in here. Can you see it?
    Student:
    Southwestern black widow spider! Oh!
    Parent (Interview):
    It’s a good thing for me to be in a learning activity with my kids mainly because
    we can have dialogue about what’s actually happening or what they’re seeing:
    “You know how he did that?” or that kind of thing. So it’s immediate reaction
    there.
    Parent (Interview):
    The programs are great. I mean, there’s a lot of effort put into it. Definitely not
    what I had when I was in school, I can tell you that.
    Presenter:
    Parents, you can relax: I did not bring anything that was large enough to eat the
    kids! So, I’m gonna go ahead and get started. There we go.
    [exclamations]
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 7
    Presenter:
    The great horned owl is obviously a North American animal. You can tell by the
    camouflage that he has: he looks a lot like the trees that he would be hanging out
    in. His vision is beyond belief. The best analogy I can give you is if I put Hooter
    on a goal post on a football field and then take a copy of the LA Times and put it
    on the other post, he would be able to read the small print. I mean, that’s how
    good their vision is.
    [applause]
    Narrator:
    But parent involvement in ABC isn’t just limited to K through 12. The district
    believes that it’s never too soon to forge the bond between schools and parents
    in a child’s education.
    “Starting Early”
    Barbara Milne (Interview):
    I teach a parent education program. We have students that are the parents, and
    then they come to school with their children. They bring their children with them,
    and it’s an ongoing process where the parent and the child are learning together.
    Student:
    It’s fun.
    Milne:
    It is kind of fun. It’s like puzzles.
    Sieu (Interview):
    Parents, by nature–I know when they have younger children, pre-school age
    children, they really want to be involved because they know that what happens
    before children turn 6 really forms their character and forms many of their traits of
    learning before they even start school.
    Milne:
    Today, when you go to the green center over there, you’re gonna have a chance
    to make one of these. Who does the painting on your paper?
    Students:
    Children!
    Milne:
    Children! Do we let mommies or daddies or grandmas do it?
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 8
    Students:
    No!
    Milne:
    No! Right. And on this one, parents, you will need to do the writing of the
    numerals for your child as they—to help them put the eggs in this activity. If you
    have a younger child, especially a boy, they may not want to do all of these
    numbers. Maybe even 6 is too high, so you adjust it to their own level, please.
    Parent:
    Okay… 2… You can do a 10. And then a 0, a 0 on this side. Good!
    Milne (Interview):
    I fyou can get parents involved in their child’s education from the time they’re
    very, very young, they feel so comfortable being a necessary part of that growth.
    Milne:
    Here, see my little pinchers here? We’re gonna pinch it like that, and then this is
    a chair. That’s a chair for the crayon. Now, that’s the right way to hold it. Look
    at you! Very, very good! So, Yenni, if you can help him do that, then he’ll
    develop the right kind of habits when he goes on into writing. That’s really, really
    important.
    Parent (Interview):
    I found out about this class when my son was 3. Now he’s 10. And then I
    continued with my daughter. She’s 5 now, and she started when she was a year
    and a half. I think it encourages the kids to have higher expectations of
    themselves than the kids who, like, “Oh, my mom’s at work,” or “She doesn’t care
    if I read or not, like, she’ll just sign the paper.” They set themselves, like, higher
    standards.
    Milne (Interview):
    The parents who are deeply involved in their child’s education will have children
    who will succeed in school. And those who are very divorced from the whole
    process are not going to have children who do as well, generally speaking. I
    mean, that’s the most important part of all of this: if parents are involved, they’re
    going to do really well.
    Milne:
    Yeah, we wanna keep that up.
    Parent:
    Thank you.
    Milne:
    Okay, you’re doing a good job.
    “The ABCs of Parent Involvement” – PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT page 9

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