I would like to start a discussion about Parent Involvement and how to get parents involved in the classroom, I believe that many parents are involved in the school simply to monitor what the teacher and the school are doing. They want to know what is going on and how does it effect their own children. Can they trust the school to do a good job? Consequently we have parents as volunteers, fundraisers, and members of parent councils. All good things. But are these roles actually connecting parents to the classroom and supporting student learning?

I hear over and over that teachers what more parents to be involved. What does that mean to you? How do you involve parents in school work? How do you connect parents to what you are teaching? What do you expect of parents?
Share your success stories.

Tags: achievement, classroom, parent, strategies, student

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Thanks Please tell us what your experiences have been like.
Sorry it took me a while to respond...
I am a communications strategist working with hi-tech companies. I volunteered my knowledge and expertise in the planning and execution of the school's web site. Began by working with the computers teacher. Than another father joined us, volunteered the platform on which we built the site at the end, and together with the computers teacher we began to instruct the kids who are to be involved in content development and update of the site.
It's a bit stuck now because we are having difficulties involving other teachers in.
Another involvement was when I suggested to run an environmental program in which the school will assume responsibility for the small city nature reserve that is located right outside the school's gate. I began by suggesting it to the city and it was accepted by the all parties and one of the teachers is the manager of this program now.
The school had another interesting idea: a couple of months ago we celebrated the "family day" (a modern day mother's day). The school has invited parents to volunteer an hour of their time and come to lecture in their kids' class about anything from profession to hobby. I spoke to 8th graders about naming companies. My son's 4th grade got a workshop in sculpture in play dough from a father in the class. There were plenty of other interesting events that day.
We encountered difficulties when we tried to get parents highly involved in the planning and managing of the Purim events. We also found out that parents do not get easily involved in other social activities we try to do in class, like group birthdays (again, it depends on the parents. Cause at my daughter's class, when I first suggested it, it worked great!).
The school doesn't ask for parents' involvement on any regular basis. Most parents are working full time and it's difficult for them to offer time to school. There is a group of more actively involved parents who volunteered to be a part of the parents committee of the school (not what you may call PTA exactly). I think the committee can be very helpful, with creative ideas and people ready to spend time at school and with the school on various plans. But I also think that lately the committee was drawn into over-activity at school. This includes meeting with the governmental institutes responsible for most of the school's budget. But the topics the committee was involved with were not only related to budgets... which, I assume, might be overwhelming to disturbing for the school's management.
Thank you JIm for such an excellent piece of this topic. Even if the issue is not bullying, the way in which teachers and parents interact is critical to the formation of strong working relationships



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