Tips to Get Parents Involved This School YearBy Huntington Learning Center
Building a strong partnership between school and home is one of the best ways to support your student’s success. Why is parental involvement in school important? It has a direct positive impact on academic achievement because:
- Involved parents are better able to support their children’s learning at home, which can reinforce concepts taught at school faster.
- Children who know that their parents care about their school performance tend to be more motivated.
- Parents who are aware of low grades and homework difficulties are able to seek school support faster to help their child.
As for how to get parents involved in school activities and the classroom, here are a few practical suggestions:
Establish two-way communication. For all grades, newsletters or weekly emails are an excellent way to keep parents informed about what their children are learning and important dates coming up. Make sure you let parents know the best way to connect with you too, whether that’s simply by email or by scheduling a phone call. Make parents comfortable reaching out with questions or concerns. Be prompt with your responses.
Invite parents to help out. If you’re an elementary or middle school teacher, there are many ways to engage parents that also benefit your students. Do you have recurring activities that would run more smoothly with a parent volunteer? Field trips throughout the year? Create a volunteer calendar and distribute it each month. If you’re a high school teacher, volunteer opportunities might be fewer, but don’t be shy about asking for parent support occasionally. You might be surprised how many parents would like to lend a hand when asked.
Remind parents that involvement doesn’t need to be difficult. Research has shown that certain forms of parental involvement are much more effective than others. Share this with parents, who are busy with careers and supporting other children in school too. Parents can contribute to their child’s academic achievement by:
- Ensuring they complete homework and have a consistent homework routine
- Encouraging them to embrace good time management, organization and study habits
- Prioritizing nightly reading
- Engaging with their child(ren) every day about school and what they are learning
- Attending back-to-school night and parent-teacher conferences
- Reaching out to the teacher when concerns or questions arise
- Sending the message to their child (with words and actions) that school is important
Let parents know their role during homework time. You assign homework to help your students practice new skills and concepts independently. However, the reality is that many students ask parents for help (or many parents offer it even when not asked). Parental support with homework can be valuable but be clear with parents about your expectations and dos/don’ts for homework help. Clear communication about this will strengthen the school-home partnership and support your teaching goals.
Your efforts to involve parents in the classroom will help your students and simple strategies can be highly beneficial. Get to know parents. Recognize that some parents are able to be highly involved and others are not, and that involvement looks different for different grades. Offering specific ideas for parent involvement in school and sharing your goals and expectations will put you and your parents on the same page—and make this school year a great one.