More About The Do's and Don'ts of Parent Involvement

Cover

The Do's and Don'ts of
Parent Involvement

 

Table of Contents


Introduction

Section One: Who Are Today's Parents

Who Are Today's Parents?
What Makes an "Involved Parent?"
Parent Involvement: How It Benefits Teachers
Administrators Play a Crucial Role
Reaching Out to Culturally Diverse Parents
The Components of an Effective Parent-involvement Program
Steps in Starting a Parent-involvement Program
What Are the Obstacles to Parent Involvement?
The Great Rewards of Parent Involvement


Section Two: Reaching Out!

1. Ways to Reach Out to Parents
2. Keeping Parents Involved
3. Gathering Information
4. Conferences, Interviews and Home Visits
5. Asking Parents to Volunteer at School
6. Social Gatherings, Projects, and Events
7. Organizing Parent Groups
8. Forty-five Ways to Give Recognition to Volunteers
Section Three: Parents Reach Out — to the School and Each Other

The Children Are the Focus
Parents Reaching Out to Teachers
Parents Reaching Out to Each Other
Parent Organizations

Sample Surveys, Letters, Bulletins, and Other Tools

Who Is a Counselor?
Hello Parents. We'd like to get to know you better!!
Student and Parent: What Concerns You?
Newsletter Survey
Teachers' Questions for Parents
A Student-Teacher-Parent Agreement
Teacher's Commitment to the Family
Teacher-to-Family Bulletin
Parent-to-Teacher Bulletin
Parent-Teacher Conference Guidelines
Welcome to the PS1 Parent-Teacher Conference
I'm Excited About Meeting You!
Questions the Parent Can Ask the Teacher in the Conference
A Phone Call to the Child's Home: Suggested Script
A Volunteer Checklist
Community Volunteer Survey
Help! Your School Needs You! Help!
Teacher's Request for Classroom Volunteer
Your PTA (membership recruitment letter)

 

Introduction

As a parent, I’ve worked in my daughters’ public schools for 13 years. I feel good about trading my few hours of school volunteering for the many hours of good steady education my kids get. As a writer, I’ve looked through books on parent involvement and been excited by different ideas. As a member of a tight-knit New York City community, I know the children whose parents work closely with them and the school, and the children whose parents do not.

But it took one particular experience to fuel my decision to write The Do’s and Don’ts of Parent Involvement.

My husband, younger daughters, and I recently bought an old country house high in the Adirondack Mountains. I had spent hours one day happily plowing through cupboards and closets with boxes of antique lace from the 20s and 30s, chintz aprons from the 40s, plastic shower curtains from the 50’s, and — here comes the experience — three huge boxes of the most popular magazines from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

I looked through over 200 of these magazines. When I was through, I had found only two articles on parenting. Two! Oh, there was a lot of special interest material, all right: how to please one’s husband through his tummy, how to wear hair and apply makeup, holiday recipes, home decorating, even blushing hints on keeping love and sex alive. But there was virtually no parenting information or support, no guidelines, no encouragement. Our parents were essentially in the dark.

This helped me to see that today’s parents have at least a fighting chance in comparison to our parents' generations. We have books, we have digital media, we have experts. And most importantly, we have allies in one another — educators, counselors, administrators, community groups, and most importantly, in fellow parents. We can explore and create strategies for parent involvement, and use our positive results to shape a new generation with our efforts.

The energy and positive intentions of parents hold extraordinary promise. Parents inherently possess great potential as powerful conduits to their children’s academic and affective growth, but are often abandoned by systems too overburdened, uninformed, or apathetic to use them well. And so they remain: an untapped resource.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Parent Involvement provides the support and information needed to fill the void that keeps parents from becoming motivated and involved. The book talks directly to the parents, teachers, counselors and other people involved with children, from preschool through high school. It is written specifically for:

Parents and Families — PTAs, PTOs, other parent-centered groups who realize that their contributions are vital to their child’s success, and willingly make an on-going commitment to be actively involved.

Administrators — who realize that the big picture is incomplete without the support of parents in their children’s education.

Teachers — who pledge their energy to work alongside parents and children in the classroom and in the home, using positive and collaborative methods to further the child’s education.

Counselors — who work closely and consistently with children and their families in furthering the educational and emotional capacities of children.

Community Groups — who encourage and support the ongoing efforts of the school, parents, families, and children to work together. These organizations include local businesses, agencies, community centers, churches, and neighborhood outreach programs.

Throughout the book, you will find sample survey forms, letters, memos, bulletins, and other valuable tools. You may be able to use some of these pages just as they are. In most instances, however, you will want to modify them to suit the needs of your school and parent group. In either case, please take advantage of the samples. They were developed for you.

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