Parents had the opportunity to spend considerable time supporting their children at home during the pandemic, and their perspectives on teaching and learning have changed. Parent partnerships’ benefits have been shown to positively impact grades, test scores, behavior, social-emotional learning, mental health, attendance, and graduation rates.
The sad reality is that although the research is clear about parent engagement and the positive impact on student achievement, school culture and climate surveys reveal that schools are struggling to actively engage and involve parents in school activities. There must be a pivot to ensure our parents’ busy lifestyles and hectic schedules, and parents considered tier 2 or tier 3 who have so many external challenges they are the most difficult to engage and involve in their child’s school.
Are you interested in learning about parent engagement strategies proven to increase involvement?
School leaders and teachers should provide opportunities for parents to attend training that will equip them with the content and skills to support their child at home in reading, math, completion of homework assignments, and social-emotional learning. When parents are engaged in the school community, the overall impact on student achievement, school culture and climate, and relationships create an excellent, inclusive, and equitable school where everyone succeeds.
What Are the Benefits of Parent Engagement?
1. Improved Student Outcomes
School leaders and teachers should ensure that school improvement plans, professional development, and parent engagement plans are aligned and strategically focused on student performance. Parent training is differentiated and targeted on specific topics to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and resources to support their child at home.
2. Proactive and Positive Behavior and Social Emotional Learning
Parents should be provided with opportunities to learn about school-wide behavioral expectations, social-emotional learning, and mental health strategies that can be reinforced and supported at home. This approach will improve their child’s attitude toward school, school-wide behavioral expectations, motivation, engagement, self-esteem, and absenteeism.
3. Differentiated Tier 2 and Tier 3 – Improved Student Outcomes
Differentiated supports and resources for parents and students with specific risk factors such as foster care, homelessness, poverty, single parent household, minority, special education, and English Language Learners must be designed to engage and support these families. Parents and families must be provided training, information, and resources to encourage them to get involved in school activities and learn how to help their children at home to improve student achievement.
4. Positive Teacher and Parent Relationships
Most parents are eager to partner with their child’s school and teacher. Effective communication and parent-friendly activities build solid relationships with teachers. When teachers and parents work together to support their child’s interests and abilities, this creates an environment where parents feel welcomed and know they are valued and respected partners in the school’s success.
5. Communication Feedback Loop for Parents
Parent engagement must include a process for them to ask questions and be able to voice concerns that need to be addressed. The communication feedback loop allows parents, teachers, students, and community stakeholders to have an open dialogue about concerns or issues that will move the school forward in a positive direction.
Parent and family engagement is not a one-size-fits-all or one-an-done approach; it must be intentionally planned through a collaborative process that should include parent, student, and teacher surveys to gain a deeper understanding of your school’s needs. When school leaders, teachers, and parents work together over time, the quality of involvement increases, and partnerships and relationships are mutually beneficial and positive.
Most importantly, you create raving fans that sing your school’s praises in the surrounding community. Children must feel like everyone is always working to help them succeed in and outside school.