Category Archives: Education

Strong leadership vital for successful parent involvement programmes

Parent Involvement 3


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.

  1. Create an Action Team – Involve parents, educators and administrators in reaching a common understanding and in setting mutual gorals to which all are committed.
  2. Evaluate Current Practice – Review the current status of parent involvement. Survey staff and parents to gain a clear understanding of the current situation.
  3. Develop a Plan of Improvement – Identify first steps and priority issues. Develop a comprehensive, well-balanced plan.
  4. Develop a Written Parent/Family Involvement Policy – A written policy establishes the vision, common mission and foundation for future plans.
  5. 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.
  6. Provide Professional Development for staff – Effective training is essential. Provide the staff with opportunities to interact with the issue, work together and monitor progress.
  7. Evaluate and Revise the Plan

A parent and family involvement programme merits a process of continuous improvement and a commitment to long-term success.


Ideas to Build Parent Involvement and Support

Parent Involvement 2
While the “ideal parent” is a rarity, schools can do much to increase parental involvement. Improving parent involvement, particularly among at-risk populations, is one of the most challenging tasks facing educators today. Here are a few thoughts and ideas to build and increase parent involvement at your local school.


  • Hold your first parent meeting at a fast-food restaurant.
  • Hold a “Parent University” programme right at your school.
  • Provide “Fact Cards” for parents with school name, address, phone number, name of principal, school secretary, school nurse, PTA president—perhaps a refrigerator magnet.
  • Establish “Take Home Friday” as day to send school papers home.
  • Send home tape recorded messages in parents’ own language.
  • Provide a short newsletter for parents—consider Parents Make the Difference!
  • Remember “30-3-30” in writing school newsletters.
  • Remember the R10 bill rule for school newsletters.
  • Write for parents at 4th to 6th grade level.
  • Try Brown Bag Seminars— parenting programme at work site during lunch hour.
  • Use the key communicator system to control the rumour mill.
  • Know THE SECRET to getting parents to attend meetings at school.
  • Remember the 3 “F”s for success—Food, Families, Fun.
  • Understand and use the 80-20 rule for parent groups.
  • Take heart from the one-third rule which research has revealed for achieving improved pupil achievement through parent involvement.
  • Use videotape to show busy parents their children in action.
  • Use refrigerator notes.
  • Encourage “Sunshine Calls,” “Thinking of You” Calls.
  • Understand the fact that teachers are more reluctant to contact parents than parents are to contact teachers. Work to overcome the problem.
  • Put up parent-friendly signs at school—directing them to the office.



5 Ways parents fail when it comes to their children’s education – Part 5

Parent Child involvement education

1. Think of yourself as the main parent involvement person at your school.

School Survey Results:

Can you give me the names of any people you know who work at your school?

  • School Secretary
  • Janitor/groundsman/caretaker
  • Lunch Supervisor/Bus Driver
  • A Veteran Teacher
  • A Music/art/specialist Teacher
  • Coach
  • The Principal


2. Think of parent involvement as something that only happens when parents are in your school building.

By Far, the Most Important Involvement Happens at Home!

  • Reading to children.
  • Being seen reading.
  • Setting an example (for better or worse).
  • Showing interest in school work.
  • And MUCH more!


3. Try to build positive attitudes among parents by just using newsletters, memos, newspaper articles, TV, other mass media.

Mass Media is Best for Providing Information.

All mass media—radio, TV, signs, bumper stickers—can do is reinforce attitudes that already exist! Use Face-to-Face Contact for Creating and Changing Attitudes:

  • Conferences.
  • Workshops.
  • Home Visits.
  • Class Visits.
  • Open House.
  • Even Phone Calls.


4. Keep on thinking that children from ‘broken’ or ‘disadvantaged’ homes do not have the  benefit of parent involvement.

The ‘Extended Family’ these children often have is amazing.

  • Mother/Father,
  • Grandparents,
  • Neighbours,
  • Sisters, Aunts, Uncles,
  • Friends.

We Need to Enlist Their Support! Children often have many people who can and will help if we will invite them to get involved—and help them know what to do.


5. Write parents off as apathetic & uninterested after you repeatedly provide programmes for them and invite them to come to school, but they don’t show up! The Vast Majority of parents want to help their children.

We need to:

  • Walk a Mile’ in their shoes.
  • Respect what they now do to help their children.
  • Issue ‘genuine invitations.

In conclusion, getting parents involved in their children’s education is not just a ‘nice idea’ we can’t DO OUR JOB without parents’ help!

We know how to make parent involvement work:

  • In ANY school . . .
  • With very LITTLE MONEY . . .

The fact is . . . A New Day is Dawning! It is the day of parent involvement. It will help every child, in every school, everywhere . . . and we are exactly the ones who can make it happen!


10 Things Any School Can Do to Build Parent Involvement – Part 4

Parent Teacher Success


10 Things Any School Can Do to Build Parent Involvement . . . Plus Five Great Ways to Fail!

1.Help parents understand why they are so important to their children’s school success.

Point out to parents how much time children spend at home vs. at school (birth to H.S. graduation 15% at school, 85% home & other). Remind parents that they are their children’s first & most influential teachers—and that education training is unnecessary. Remind parents how well children mimic them, even when parents don’t want them to. Help parents understand how to model the behaviours they want.

Discuss in parent meetings, newsletters:

  • How soon children start learning.
  • How children copy parents.
  • How parents can set an example.
  • How to make use of “bits and pieces” of time with children.
  • Why parents really are children’s first & most influential teachers


2. Give parents specific things they can do to help their children.

  • Parents say they don’t know what to do.
  • Parents say they don’t have time.
  • Specific suggestions help.

Practical Strategies:

Class by class, or school wide, decide on 3 to 5 specific things you would like parents to do at home:

  • Read to your child every day.
  • Ask about school work every day.
  • Tell your child ‘I love you’ every day.
  • Talk with your child and listen to what she has to say every day.

Be Specific With Parents. Provide specific ideas in many ways:

  • Tell parents face to face.
  • Give them handouts.
  • Show them videos.
  • Demonstrate ideas at meetings.

Parents have as many learning styles as their children. When we specifically target what we want, we often get it!


3. Work to win parents’ endorsement of your school’s educational programme.

Parents and educators are often different—and always will be. We share a common interest in the well-being of the children. We should respect parents’ expertise. We can build respect for school expertise. Win Parents’ Endorsement:

Parents and schools each bring unique strengths to the education of children. •We are a TEAM. We each have strengths, weaknesses—neither of us can do the job alone.

Respect must be the basis of our relationship.

Practical Strategies:

  • Discuss each other’s strengths at parent and staff meetings.
  • Discuss how we can support each other.
  • Share your school’s educational goals—and how you plan to accomplish them.


4. Give parents the specific information they want.

Do you know parents’ top concerns?

  • How can you find out?
  • How can you stay up to date?

Here are the results of over 100 opinion polls – Questions parents always wanted answered:

  • What is being taught?
  • How is it being taught?
  • How are school funds spent?
  • How are school policies formed?

How would parents at your school rank these topics?

  • Discipline
  • Peer pressure
  • Motivation
  • Self-esteem
  • Inclusion
  • ADD & ADHD


5. Know how to get parents to READ what you send home.

  • One sheet of paper is best.
  • Use 4th to 6th grade reading level.
  • Know the 30-3-30 Rule: 80% of the people will spend just 30 seconds reading what you send home; 19% will spend just 3 minutes; 1% will spend 30 minutes.

Use the R10  test: A 10 Rand bill, placed any direction, should touch some graphic element—such as:

a bullet, rule, picture, screen, boldface type, underline, different colour, etc.

Practical Strategies:

  • Learn what parents want to know.
  • Provide it very briefly.
  • Provide it frequently.
  • Remember—you are not talking to an audience, but a parade!


6. Provide staff training and support for parent involvement.

  • Most educators have had no such training.
  • Many fear parents and avoid them.
  • Training and support build understanding—which overcomes fear.

Staff Training and Support:

  • Share research findings.
  • Jointly develop ideas the whole school can implement.
  • Jointly develop ideas individual staff members can implement.
  • Provide a steady drip of parent involvement information.
  • Spotlight successful staff practice.
  • Provide non-threatening social activities so staff can meet parents.

More Strategies:

  • Ask staff with successful experience to talk with others.
  • Invite speakers to staff meetings.
  • Hold school workshops.
  • Make telephones and note cards available to staff.


7. Provide training and support for parents.

  • Most parents have had no involvement in training.
  • Many fear educators and avoid them.
  • Training and support builds understanding—which overcomes fear.
  • Share research findings—parents are interested, too.
  • Help parents share ideas with each other (network).
  • Jointly develop a list of important topics.
  • Provide non-threatening social activities so parents and staff can meet.
  • Stress the importance of what parents do every day at home.


8. Recognize and Reward Exemplary Parent Involvement Practice.

Most parents and staff are starved for recognition and encouragement. A little makes a big difference!

Recognize Exemplary Practice of Staff:

  • The most parent phone calls.
  • The most home visits to sick children.
  • The most notes to parents.
  • The best idea to involve parents.
  • The most parent visits to class.
  • The most parent group members.

Recognize Exemplary Practice of Parents:

  • The most books read aloud.
  • The most improved grades.
  • The most class visits.
  • The most help to teachers.
  • The best idea to help their child.
  • The most help to your parent group.


9. Ensure Your Success by Making a Plan

  • Specifically, how will you get staff involved?
  • Specifically, what will you ask parents to do?
  • We Must Have a Plan
  • Having a plan does not guarantee success.
  • Not having a plan does guarantee failure!


10. Adapt Ideas That Have Worked for Others.

Why try to reinvent the wheel?

There are lots of proven ideas ready for you to use:

  • Remember the 3 Fs for success: 1) Food, 2) Families, 3) Fun.
  • Establish a friendly contact early in the year—In Time of Peace!
  • Remember to stress Two-Way communication


Standards for Parent and Family Involvement Programmes – Part 3

parent involvement


The term “parent involvement” is used to describe participation by a child’s primary caretaker(s) – whether that is a single mom, two parents, grandparents, foster parents, or an older sibling. More broadly, many parent involvement programs also address the needs of the entire family and include younger siblings and others’ roles in creating school success.

Standard I Communication between home and school is regular, ensure it is two-way and meaningful.

•    Use a variety of communication tools on a regular basis, seeking to facilitate two-way interaction.
•    Communicate with parents regarding positive pupil behaviour and achievement, not just misbehaviour. Is essential.
•    Disseminate information on school policies, procedures & goals and include parents in decision-making process.

Standard II Parenting skills are promoted and supported.

Provide accessible parenting information and provide training and support to families.
Encourage staff members to demonstrate respect for families and recognize the family’s primary role in the education of children.

Standard III Parents play an integral role in assisting pupil learning.

Involve parents in setting pupil goals each year. Encourage the development of a personalised education plan for each pupil, where parents are full partners.
Provide information regarding how parents can foster learning at home and inform parents of expectations at each grade level.

Standard IV Parents are welcome in the school, and their support and assistance are sought.

Create a climate in which parents feel valued and welcome.
Organize an easy, accessible programme for utilising parent volunteers, providing ample training.
Ensure that volunteer activities are meaningful and built on volunteer interests and abilities.
Educate teachers in effectively utilising volunteers.
Show appreciation for parent’s participation and value their diverse contributions.

Standard V Parents are full partners in the decisions that affect children and families.

Provide accessible processes for influencing decisions, raising concerns and resolving problems.
Treat parent concerns with respect.
Include parents in all decision-making and advisory committees and ensure adequate training.
Provide parents with current information regarding school policies, practices and performance data.

Standard VI Community resources are used to strengthen schools, families and pupil learning.

Foster pupil participation in community service.
Develop a community relations committee that offers parents opportunities to develop partnerships with local business and service groups.