Involving Parents

Communication Notebook 
Submitted by: Kim Bodenstab
Parent provides a spiral notebook that goes back and forth from home and school daily in the child’s backpack. This provides an easy way to write a note to a parent and to make sure that they know to look for it. The parent can write info to the teacher and this saves lots of time spent on phone calls. I provide a basket for the kids to place their notebooks in each morning. The students also look in the basket at the end of the day when their notebook is ready to be sent home.

Encouraging and Tracking Parental Involvement 
Submitted by: Norma Tabayoyong, Principal

Parent involvement continues to be our target goal for the next 3-5 years under Effective Schools Practices. This can help teachers or school leaders track how much parental involvement is being provided by our parents:

  • Maintain a Parent Sign-in Folder for each teacher. There should be at least 7-10 sign-in sheets in each folder. Any activity such as Parent-Teacher Conferences, PTA, Programs, etc. parents will have to sign in and the school team can monitor via each teacher what percentage of parents give their time to their child’s school. A 5-15 minutes visit can constitute as parent involvement!
  • Newsletters going home should have a section that parents can cut off and acknowledge that they received their newsletters and return them back to the teacher via their child. The school team can also monitor the percentage of returned slips. Notes can go home to “remind” parents to look into their child’s book bag every day for newsletters.
  • I use a Congratulations! You have been selected to__________. This type of opening will make parents feel welcomed and actually feel a part of the school community. A letter with this opening goes a long way for parental self-esteem. This trick actually increased parental involvement in my school by 87%! Try it out, it works!
  • We use Contracts for each family to provide at least 2 hours per quarter toward any parent involvement activity. Schools may choose to send out newsletters congratulating families or individual’s of their standing and support for their child’s education!

HOME VOLUNTEER PACKETS 
Submitted by: Jacklyn Probert

Many parents want to help, but are unable to come to the school during the day. At the beginning of the year, I ask for 5 “Home Volunteers.”

I prepare a 5 large clasped envelopes with teacher name, classroom number, and the words HOME VOLUNTEER written on each. I write the name of each of the days of the week (Mon- Friday), one day on each envelope. I also write the volunteer’s family name on the envelope. I then laminate the envelope so it will last the full year.

The day of the week on the envelope is the day of the week the parent can expect the volunteer packet to come home with their child. This helps the parent to know when to look for it, and gives them the opportunity to pick the best volunteer night of the week.

Some of the ideas for using the packets could be: 1) placing stickers on papers–include stickers, 2) homework pages to compile–include stapler, 3) things to cut out, 4) things to put together, 5) phone calls to make, 6)letters/notes to mail and send, etc.

If you don’t have anything to send home that night, send the envelope with a thank you note and candy bar included! My parents have loved helping at home, and students enjoy seeing their parent(s) helping!

Let your parents know what to do 
Submitted by: Unknown
This year for the first time I had an after school meeting with the parent’s that signed up to volunteer. I told them exactly what they would be doing in the room, who would be working with the children directly and who would be doing prep work. I also took them to our workroom and showed them how to use our xerox machine, the ditto machine and the book binding machine. While we were there I showed them where all the supplies were. I’m hoping now I won’t be spending so much class time telling the parents what to do.

Maintaining an email list for each subject 
Submitted by: Jeff Ciaccio, Grade Level(s): 9-12

During the first week of the semester, I create an email list with all of the parents’ addresses for each different subject (prep) I have. I then send out communication about once a week to let them know about upcoming tests, projects, etc. I also send out study guides for each test, and this really improved the involvement because it gave the parents something tangible to use.

Another tool that worked was sending out email when poor performance was observed and giving the teacher’s side. For example, I send out tests with detailed solutions and where the information can be found. This opened many eyes to poor study skills and work ethic, and really deflates the students’ argument that “everybody failed, so it must have been too hard”!

Sending email when most or all of the class fails to do a particular assignment also helps open eyes and allows the parents to get involved with encouragement and rewards/consequences.

Parent Involvement 
Submitted by: DeeGee, 3rd

Before the school year begins I hold a Parent Orientation get together in my classroom. Each family is required to send at least one parent to attend the meeting. At this meeting I go over all the expectations for the coming school year. One area of concern is get the parents involved. Too many times it is the same parents all the time. One way I found that parents saw as a simple way to get involved is “Mystery Reader”. Parents sign up to come in on a Friday morning during the course of the school year. They select a book of their choice and come to class to read to the students for 15-30 minutes depending on the length of the book. Some parents bring in more than one book. The children enjoy the selections and the child of the parent is thrilled to have their parent come to school. This is an especially good way to get dads involved.

Several Ideas 
Submitted by: Cate

Getting parents involved can be tricky and hard. I am currently working at a school in the NT and parent involvement is poor.

  1. We have had a meet the teacher night – Parents and their child can come and meet you, check out the school etc.
  2. We do student-led conferences – which requires 100% parent involvement.
  3. We also send out class letters asking for parent help, in the classroom and on excursions and sporting events etc.
  4. And last but not least we are starting up a parent help hour in the school library.
Hope this helps someone.

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