It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. This statement could not be truer. The village can include a host of people such as neighbors and extended family. No matter how many people it includes, the school staff should be among the count. Helping students reach their potential is best done when families and school staff partner together to do what’s best for children. It is crucial for teachers and school staff to provide opportunities for families to become engaged at school and to keep open lines of communication.
Communication is key for parents and school staff to keep families engaged at school. Parents and teachers should communicate with each other on a regular basis. Newsletters (online and print), email, phone, text, student agendas, communication apps, etc. can all be used to communicate with parents. The key is finding the best method for each parent. Recently, our staff has had much success with the use of Class Dojo and the Remind app. Class Dojo allows parents to see student behavior as well as give teachers and parents the ability to send messages to each other. At our school, we use the apps to post announcements, pictures about events, and reminders. Some of our teachers post pictures of lessons that students participate in during class. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the communication apps this year. The parents love it!
It is inevitable that parents and teachers will discuss student progress during the year. Teachers should be up front about where students are performing as early in the year as possible and provide parents with suggestions of things to do at home. Also, parents shouldn’t hesitate to contact teachers when questions arise about their child’s progress. Learn about other ways that you can communicate with parents and families when you read, Connecting the Dots through Parent-Teacher Communication.
With the amount of pressure that school staff is under to help students succeed, every little bit of help that families can give will always be appreciated. There are so many opportunities for families to engage at school! Joining the school’s parent teacher organization is one way to get involved. Many school events require a lot of people to make them successful. Breakfast with Santa, Muffins with Mom, school carnivals, talent shows, popcorn days, etc. are all examples of events that parents can help school staff and meet other parents in the process. Teachers can also use help with classroom activities such as reading to students, practicing math facts, helping to make copies, etc.
Helping From Home
If you don’t have the time to help at the school there are also activities that can be done at home to help. Cutting lamination, preparing materials for lessons, and designing flyers for events are easy things that can be done. Teachers should always keep a running list of things that need to be done in case a volunteer asks, “What can I help you do?” Children LOVE seeing their parents help their teachers and with school activities!
Anything that parents can do to support their child is always appreciated. Teachers and school staff have to provide the opportunities for parents to become engaged and keep them informed. All activities whether initiated by school staff or parents help to create the village that children need to help them prosper.
What type of opportunities do you offer for family engagement? Comment below.
Kimberly Y. is an eighteen-year experienced educator in Virginia. She’s educated students as a second grade teacher, librarian, and instructional coach. Currently, she is an administrator at an elementary school. She believes that children learn best through discovery and using hands on activities. Seeing the light bulb go off for students through quality instruction has been the driving motivation throughout her career!