November 3, 2015

Revving Up Parental Engagement

When buzzwords like “parental engagement”, “parent and community engagement”, “parental involvement”, and “parent-school partnership” are used in the media or by education professionals, what is your first thought?

Do you think...
  • I'm already an involved parent?
  • I'm doing the best I can?
  • I’m not sure where to start?
Photo by Stockimages. Published 10/15/13.
Stockimages. Published 10/15/13.
Parent Support: 30Ways to Support Your Child’s Education is a resource that offers strategies to help parents increase engagement in learning processes. The take-home message is that parents get involved – and stay involved. 

The term "engaged parent" is not synonymous with educated parent, stay-at-home parent, home school parent, or grade school parent.  All parents should persistently and consistently pursue engagement opportunities.

Not sure where to start?
  1. Begin with the end in mind. If we want to improve achievement, awareness of learning goals is imperative. For parents of public or private school children, attention to graded work and homework assignments is the surest way to discover learning goals. Home school parents are tasked to identify the best curricula for children; typically, learning goals are clearer for this group. Also, educators are tasked to disseminate information timely and invite parents to join efforts early on.
  2. Infuse learning goals into your lifestyle. After identifying learning goals, it’s time to implement your version of Parent Support’s Lesson Twenty, Gardening is Educational. In this lesson, readers learn how to merge an everyday activity for many families, gardening, with science learning objectives to increase student engagement and motivation to learn. The strategy is applicable to other subject areas as well. One suggestion: look for ways that students will implement learning goals in real-world settings. We leverage literacy learning goals to make decisions about voting behaviors. We also leverage math learning goals each time there's a sale in our favorite boutique.
  3. Encourage disciplined innovation. A third strategy offered in Lesson Two of Parent Support, involves establishing a balance between teaching children to follow directions and encouraging innovation. As shared with readers of Parent Support: 30 Ways to Support Your Child’sEducation, creativity and innovation drive our economy. We want to actively prepare children to meet academic standards without sacrificing individuality and ingenuity. For instance, children often rebel when asked to complete tasks a certain way. Observing the child before intervening may reveal a new way to skin the proverbial cat!

Photo by Stockimages. Published 07/14/14.
Stockimages. Published 07/14/14.

Already highly engaged?
Great! You’re likely aware of the strategies offered to this point.  There’s still more to do. Highly engaged parents are challenged to show others the way. How do you balance family and work life? How are you successfully communicating with education professionals?

Answers to these questions reveal ways that highly engaged parents can build more vibrant learning communities. We know that sharing wisdom with parents increases student performance. More important, stronger readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists are better equipped to improve society.

Facts to consider
Consider the following facts as you work to develop parent-school partnerships.
  • Engaging with families is not always intuitive for teachers and school leaders... Their comfort and skill levels often need to be developed.
  • Discussing children's readiness skills can open dialogue about strengths and areas of concern for families and educators.
  • Student benefits associated with effective family engagement include improved school readiness, higher student achievement, better social skills and behavior, and increased likelihood of high school graduation.
As parents embrace their ability to positively influence children’s academic performance, desired outcomes are realized. Explore Parent Support to learn ways leverage parental engagement opportunities.

Free consultation with a support professional may be scheduled by visiting Specialty subject areas include literacy, math, and science. Learn more about options for individuals and organizations by exploring the website or give us a call (1.601.724.2152).