Strong administrative leadership is vital to the development of an effective parent involvement programme.
- One of the most significant challenges to conducting an effective parent involvement programme is the lack of instruction on parent involvement that educators and administrators receive in their professional training.
- The principal or programme director plays a critical role in making parent and family involvement a reality. The climate of the school is created, to a large extent, by the tone set in the office of administration. If principals collaborate with parents, educators will be more likely to follow suit.
- Often there is a misperception that partnering with parents, particularly in the decision-making process, will diminish the principal’s authority. Yet, the top management models in America are open and collaborative, encouraging subordinates to share their concerns and engaging workers in cooperative problem solving. Such an approach will not erode the principal’s authority, but can lead to better decisions in schools.
- Long-term progress in family-school partnerships requires systematic, all-inclusive solutions and consistent leadership support.
- When parent involvement becomes a mutual programme goal, and parents, educators and administrators work together as a team to develop a plan for reaching the standards, substantial progress results. The principal provides the leadership; the programme standards provide the vision.
How to Begin
Belief in the importance of parent involvement is a necessary foundation, but the following steps outline a process for developing and maintaining growth in this vital component of education.
- Create an Action Team – Involve parents, educators and administrators in reaching a common understanding and in setting mutual gorals to which all are committed.
- Evaluate Current Practice – Review the current status of parent involvement. Survey staff and parents to gain a clear understanding of the current situation.
- Develop a Plan of Improvement – Identify first steps and priority issues. Develop a comprehensive, well-balanced plan.
- Develop a Written Parent/Family Involvement Policy – A written policy establishes the vision, common mission and foundation for future plans.
- Secure Support – For optimal success, keep stakeholders aware of the plan and willing to lend support to its success. Stakeholders are those responsible for implementation, those who will be affected, and those outside the programme who have influence over the outcome.
- Provide Professional Development for staff – Effective training is essential. Provide the staff with opportunities to interact with the issue, work together and monitor progress.
- Evaluate and Revise the Plan
A parent and family involvement programme merits a process of continuous improvement and a commitment to long-term success.