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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



SA Education to focus on teachers, textbooks and time

President Jacob Zuma

The Department of Education will focus this year on the three “Ts” – teachers, textbooks and time – in its endeavors to improve as well as expand public education in South Africa.

“We reiterate our call that teachers must be at school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day,” Zuma told Parliament in Cape Town.

“The administration needs to ensure that each and every child has a textbook in a timely manner, and that we assist our teachers to produce the right working environment when it comes to quality teaching to take place.”

Zuma said that the government will continue and is committed to investing in teacher training, especially in mathematics and science. “We will pay special attention to the training of principals, particularly those in under performing schools.”

To track progress, the government this past year began annual national assessments in literacy and numeracy, that happen to be internationally benchmarked, for Grades 3, 6 and 9.

These types of assessments are going to be written at the beginning of every year to test levels of performance, based on what pupils ought to have reached at the end of the previous grade.

Through these tests, the Basic Education Department is expecting that teachers will use the individual results to inform their lessons and provide all of them with a clear picture of where each individual child needs more attention.

Previously, assessment tests were set provincially and administered at any time dutring the year. But from this year, all students within each grade are going to write the same paper countrywide in Grades 1 to 9.

Zuma said that the government would work on extending access to education and learning, particularly for the children of less fortunate parents who are unable financially to provide better education.

“This includes the conversion of loans into bursaries for qualifying final year students. Individuals in Further Education and Training Colleges who are eligble for financial aid will be exempted from paying fees,” the President said.

Additionally, Zuma urged state-owned enterprises to take on a greater role in skills development, saying this certainly will produce much-needed technical skills for the country’s economy.

Source: BuaNews, sasix.co.za, jumo.com,


Teachers welcome laptop initiative in South Africa


Teachers across the country have welcomed the roll out of the Teacher Laptop Initiative (TLI), saying they were looking forward to sharing ideas, learning from each other and improving the quality of the education system.

The initiative is focused at improving Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning and aims to ensure every teacher owns and uses a laptop, by providing them with a monthly allowance which will cover the purchase costs as well as the costs of connectivity.

The ICT package will consist of appropriate hardware and software, as well as, internet connectivity, all with prescribed minimum specifications. Teachers participating in the initiative will be required to utilize the facility in their teaching, as well as for administration.

On Thursday, teachers countrywide got a brief lesson on computer literacy, including connectivity of email, internet and the use of various software packages.

An overwhelmed Grade 8 and 9 teacher from a rural school in KwaZulu-Natal, Mkhatshwa Junior Secondary School, Mthunzi Mbewane hailed the initiative,

“It [technology] helps us to work smart. We will benefit a lot from the laptops as we will get information to assist us in improving our teaching skills.

“With this initiative, teachers will be able to share ideas and learn from each other on the methods they use in their schools to improve the standard of learning, especially for under performing schools,” Mbewane said.

The TLI forms part of the cohesive plan by the department and other stakeholders in education to improve overall quality of education by making resources available to learners and teachers in the public education sector.

As from Monday, the qualifying teachers will be able to buy laptops from suppliers accredited to participate in the initiative.

The teachers would have a choice of packages, which range from R250 and R390 a month from suppliers that have been accredited by the department.

Each qualifying teacher would be given a monthly allowance of R130 but would have to add the rest.

The laptop package would include school administration materials and the national curriculum, as well as internet connectivity.

The suppliers include Dell, HP, LG, Pinnacle, Sahara, Vodacom, MTN, Lenovo, Fujitsu Siemens, Cell C, Mecer, and Telkom.

Launching the TLI, Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty said the initiative will enable teachers to access data information and be able to utilise it in their schools.

“Currently we have 80 percent information on learners in the data and next year we will have 100 percent and be able to track all of them.”

He urged teachers to make use of the laptops, not only for themselves but learners.

Education stakeholders have described the initiative as a tool to expose teachers to the world of knowledge and help them improve the quality of teaching.

South African Democratic Teachers Union President Thobile Ntola welcomed the initiative, saying that the technology will allow the department to circulate information directly to the teachers.

“We commend the Education Labour Relations Council for taking a bold step to assist teachers,” Ntola said, adding that well trained and supported teachers leads to quality of education delivery.

National Professional Teacher’s Organisation President Ezra Ramasehla said the laptops will make a difference in helping teachers to deliver quality service in the classrooms.

“Education remains a tried and tested vehicle to take learners out of the vicious cycle of poverty, and the laptops have potential to expose our teachers to the level they have never been before,” Ramasehla said.

Source: BuaNews, corfe-hills.dorset.sch.uk, elrc.org.za


Education a parental responsibility

Mpumalanga MEC for Education, Reginah Mhaule, has urged parents to take a direct interest in their children’s education.

Mhaule visited Magashule Primary School and Shanke Secondary School in Oakley trust in Bushbuckridge on Wednesday to mark the start of the 2010 school year.

“Parents please take an interest in your children’s education. The education of children is a collaborative endeavour, and it therefore requires all of us to rally side by side to attain a positive outcome,” she said.
Mhaule said the early distribution of stationery would enable teachers and learners to “get straight to the business of teaching and learning” on their first day.

She promised that the department would do everything possible to ensure that the school year proceeded smoothly.

“I want to assure the provincial community that we will do everything we can to free our schools from underperformance and dysfunctionality,” she said.

Mhaule said she was impressed by the mood among teachers and pupils at the two schools.

“I am excited by the high level of enthusiasm from teachers and learners alike. If the positive energy that I saw today can be sustained, there will be good things to come from our schools,” said Mhaule.

Magashule Primary School’s acting deputy principal, Anastacia Magagula, said the school was proud to have been the first school visited by Mhaule.

“It feels good that on our first day at school the MEC came and prayed with us. She also motivated the pupils when she told them that she used to teach at this very school in the 1980s,” said Magagula.

Shanke High School’s principal, Henry Dube, said the visit had been an inspiration because it was the first time that such high-profile people had come to the school.

He said the school was proud of the fact that the Deputy Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, matriculated at the school in 1984.

Source: BuaNews