Increasing parental and community engagement
The question is how committed are the parents and community, including the church, in making sure that our children succeed? How can parents, community and the church increase contact with the school by 100 percent?
They need to know that increasing engagement starts by closing the pipeline to prison at Kindergarten
- School activities to develop and maintain partnerships with families decline with each grade level, and drop dramatically at the transition to middle grades.
- Teachers often think that low-income parents and single parents will not or cannot spend as much time helping their children at home as do middle – class parents with more education and leisure time. (This must be communicated to our teachers in a friendly and respectfully way!)
There are many reasons for developing school, family and community partnerships; the main reason to create such partnerships is to help all youngsters succeed in school and in later life.
Since most parents leave the pipeline at grade 2-3, leaving students on their own, parents usually do not engage with schools until the child is in trouble. How about contacting the school when the child is not in trouble?
Several weeks ago while a parent was picking up their child from school, the parent received a cell phone call and an image from a classroom teacher, in real time. The image showed the child misbehaving in class; the parent was able to see and immediately reprimand their child, all in real time! Now the child knows that the parent is only a cell phone call away!
The operational definition of “contact” is parents/community contacting the school three times a week by email including Portal/Parent Connect. Other types of engagement by contacting include:
- Signed agenda and report card are contacts
- Close friend/relative authorized by parent, to contact the school
- Attend PTA/SAC
- Eat school lunch with child
- Attend field day or field trips
- Open house