Strategies to Make the Vision a Reality
Parents have chances to connect with their children’s schools, classrooms, and other learning opportunities. Educators can include parents as content experts for learning activities at school and can provide parents with activities so students can extend their learning at home. Listen to families first rather than developing and sending messages that don’t resonate or motivate. Effective parent involvement programs include activities that are addressed by the following National PTA Standards:
- Collaborating with the community – Community resources are used to strengthen schools, families, and student learning.
- Communicating – Communication between home and school is regular, two-way, and meaningful.
- Parenting – Parenting skills are promoted and supported.
- School decision-making and advocacy – Parents are full partners in the decisions that affect children and families.
- Student Learning – Parents play an integral role in assisting student learning.
- Volunteering – Parents are welcome in the school, and their support and assistance are sought
Schools and districts offer classes for parents so they better understand the school’s expectations for students, the transformed opportunities for learning, and know how to access information about their students’ progress towards mastery of standards. Focus on building relationships with families, rather than only providing programs.
To be active partners in their children’s education, parents need access to current information about their students’ learning and achievement. Technology can provide ready access to up-to-date information about students’ learning activities, their mastery of standards, and resources to help students make progress.
Educators need training and support to understand how to best to reach parents, to solicit information from parents to better tailor learning opportunities for each student, and to leverage the strengths of parents from every background. It is the education system’s responsibility to find the key adult in the life of each student and create and sustain a meaningful relationship with that adult.
Providing students with the opportunity to lead and the responsibility to learn, will put students in a very good position to master standards. Broaden coalitions of families that are focused on students’ success as a focal point for strengthening developmental relationships.
School Governance Councils:
Several districts have determined that half the membership of their governance council will include parents of students at that school; with the other members coming from the school (including students,) community, or other partners.
Some schools pilot student led conferences during which students review their portfolio and discuss their progress toward mastering standards with their parents. The teacher is present and acts as a guide and support to the students.
There are a few school districts that have a program of classes for parents such as: “The Roadmap to Graduation”; “I’m Glad I Am Me: Developing Self-Esteem”; and “Monitoring Your Child’s Progress – What Are Assessments?”