Knowing how to engage parents and families in the educational process is an important factor for student success. Studies show that increased parent involvement improves student achievement. But ensuring parents can participate in opportunities—ranging from parent-teacher conferences to school events—can be challenging.
We’ve got a few ideas and school giveaways that will help get parents more involved.
Reach out before school starts
When a student starts a new school or has a new teacher, parents may want to reach out with questions or concerns. But they may not know the best way to do so. Send a postcard at the start of the school year with a short introduction and best way to contact them, whether it’s through email, phone, text message or a parent portal.
Find and remove barriers
Before you can alleviate any challenges parents might be facing, you’ll need to know what those challenges are. Send a survey that asks what’s preventing family participation. You may find that parents have:
- Language barriers
- Childcare concerns
- Limited access to technology
For example, if you usually communicate through email or a parent portal, that could create a challenge for parents who may not have a computer at home.
To make it simple for parents to respond, mail the survey to their home and include a pen and a stamped, addressed envelope. This makes it easy to fill out and return.
Offer flexible scheduling
With parents working different shifts or trying to juggle packed schedules, offering weekend, evening or morning hours may make it easier for them to attend parent-teacher conferences. It could also lead to increased participation for an event.
Send last-minute reminders
With so many items on the family agenda, sometimes people simply forget about an event or meeting. Sending a reminder via email or text message either the day before or on event day can help ensure your get-together doesn’t slip their mind.
Keep family contact constant
When parents discuss their children’s academic progress only once or twice a year, they may not always know what their children are learning or how they’re doing the rest of the year. If you’re thinking about how to engage parents and families in the educational process more often, send daily, weekly or biweekly updates in an assignment notebook or via email. A parent portal can help everyone address concerns or celebrate achievements immediately.
Create parent workshops
When parents discover their children are struggling in school, they sometimes feel lost because they don’t know how to help. Make it easier for parents to assist their kids by:
- Offering parent workshops on difficult concepts
- Sharing videos that explain important ideas or demonstrate what kids are learning in class
- Creating a private online discussion group where parents can ask questions or connect with each other
If you find certain concepts require a lot of explanation, you can offer a school giveaway, like a flash drive that includes special instructions or videos parents can watch.
Engagement creates big wins
Knowing how to engage parents and families in the educational process makes it easier for them to support their kids and the school. And that’s a big win for all!