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Effective Parent Involvement in Schools

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Mary Koning

on 16 March 2014

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Transcript of Effective Parent Involvement in Schools

Effective Parent Involvement in Schools

Necessary Occasions to Communicate with Parents
Ways to Communicate with Parents
Face-to-face encounters
Telephone calls
Comments on report cards
Home visits
Parent conferences
Parent Conferences
Success in school often results from the combined efforts of the most important people in a student's life: parents and teachers
Every conference situation is unique; parents come to a conference with different questions and concerns and in different emotional states.
Carefully planned conferences yield results that are longer lasting and more successful.
There is no better way to gain parental support than through the private meetings with parents during conferences with them.
The child's acedmic progress or deficiencies
Classroom behavior
Attendance problems
Personal of family situations that impact school work
Homework issues
Attitudes towards self, school, and peers
Screening or testing for student placement
Disciplinary matters
High school graduation requirements
Postgraduation plans
Topics That Should be Focused On:
Why parent conferences are desirable and necessary
The main purposes of the conferences
The kinds and types of evidence that would give valid proof of the meeting's success or failure
The extent to which the parent's child should be a part of preparing for, participating in, and helping to evaluate the conference
The reasons for conferring with parents can be reduced to these three:
To get information
To give information
To find solutions to academic or behavioral problems
Conference Suggestions for Parents

Questions Parents Should Be Encouraged to Ask at a Conference
Preconference Planning for Teachers
The invitation letter should be sent home early enough for parent planning
Try to schedule consecutive conferences for parents
Schedule each conference with enough time to cover all topics you want to discuss
Post a conference schedule outside the classroom
Decide whether you want the child to participate in the conference
Make sure each work sample contains the date when the assignment was complete in order to show student progress
Evaluate the student's work and choose the points you want to discuss
Conference Day Preparations
Use an "In Conference--Please Be Seated" sign, which will avoid unnecessary interruptions
Have the books/instructional materials used in the classroom ready to explain to parents
Technology should be up and ready to go!
Have several chairs placed outside the door, for early-arriving parents
Hold conferences at a table, round if possible; avoid an across-the-desk arrangement
Have test data available for easy reference
Have paper, pencils, and pens for note taking
Gather samples of student work in key areas such as math, reading, writing, spelling, homework assignments, tests, and classwork
Conducting the Conference
Set the climate--parents should be greeted cordially and in a relaxed manner
Express appreciation for parents' participation in the conference
Begin and end each conference on a positive note
Care must be made to balance the presentation between discussing strengths and weaknesses
Maintain momentum and focus--write down concerns for a follow up conference
Use a conference planning sheet as a guide for the topics to discuss
Wrap up the conference by reminding parents of goals, conclusions or actions relative to each student.
Extend thanks to parents; follow-up thank-you note or email, as well as when the conference ends
Keep the principal informed
Evaluate the conference--develop a valuable resource for future reference
10 Conference Techniques for Caring Principals
1. Begin and end each conference with a positive comment.
2. First, listen carefully and attentively. Write notes sparingly and explain that the notes will help you keep the important details in perspective.
3. Hear criticisms and concerns fully. Ask for suggestions to solve problems. Let parents get their frustrations out in the open and then you can both deal with them.
4. Be truthful, and combine truth with tact.
5. Don't inquire or probe if the parent is reluctant. Allow parents to be self-expressive; listen.
6. Avoid educationese. Use clear, descriptive statements.
7. Offer suggestions that a reasonably prudent parent would be expected to follow. Ask the question, "Did I plan with the parent and not for the parent?"
8. Respect a parent's confidence. Parents often reveal some of their innermost felling in talking with the school principal.
9. Follow up a conference when appropriate with a telephone call or some other type of communication. Try to give parents a perspective for their own problem by sharing comparable experiences with them.
10. Let the parents know they are not alone, that many before have "survived" the situations they are in.
The Overanxious Parent
Listen carefully.
Offer some type of perspective--give the parent the teacher's perspective, the school counselor's perspective, and perhaps the school nurse's.
Make a plan for some type of action.
Include, a schedule of regular follow-up contacts with parents.
Be sympathetic, but have directions in mind, and give them.
Keep written, dated notes and summaries of future contacts as a running log of actions taken.
Keep the teachers impacted by your involvement informed about what you have done, unless there are some reasons not to do so.
The Irate Parent
Listen very carefully. Maintain eye contact. Keep body language in an open manner.
Tell the parent you are going to be writing brief notes to help you capture the key points of concern.
Let the parent talk himself/herself out before you start speaking.
Don't mount a counteroffensive.
Plan and study your response. Be sure the parent is ready to listen.
Try to stay with the issue of the conference. Stay away from the anger or tears. Acknowledge the emotionalism, but don't rationalize any decisions toward either. Plan for any follow up contacts or conferences that might be needed. Make certain these obligations are met.
The Critical Parent
Listen attentively.
Don't argue; disagree without being disagreeable.
Use facts to inform the parent and also to appeal to the parent's emotions.
Admit that you don't know all the answers, but be willing to seek out and provide additional information.
Make plans for any additional future contacts or conferences. Make certain these obligations are met.
Tips for Fostering Successful School-Parent Partnerships
Make families a priority
Make the school inviting, friendly, informal, and not bureaucratic
Provide an inservice program for teachers and staff that addresses parental involvement
Strategize ways to involve parents in schools
Provide training programs for parents on how to become involved in the school
Make parents equal partners with educators by allowing them a voice in school decisions
Avoid education jargon
Schedule meetings at times convenient for parents, even if those meetings are not convenience for teachers
Show respect for parents' perspectives
Cultivate an open and civil atmosphere in which the principal is the facilitator
Keep parents well informed and encourage two-way communication
Celebrate participation
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