Parental Engagement Pays Off: It can boost test scores and attendance
By Alan Dessoff, May 2009
We know that parental involvement in elementary schools pays off in improved achievement of students and quality of their schools. But whether school-parent partnerships are initiated by administrators at the district level or by parents, agree that it takes commitment from district leaders as well as creative thinking and hands-on staff management to make partnerships work well. And according to a report by the Safe and Responsive Schools Project, increased parent involvement can lead to home environments that are more conducive to learning and improve communication and consistency between home and the school. Schools can promote parent involvement in learning in part through teaching better child-rearing skills and stressing learning at home. And parental notification systems, such as STN Alert Now, can help keep parents in the loop on emergency and important school matters.
“The nation’s schools must improve education for all children, but schools cannot do this alone,” says Joyce L. Epstein, director of the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University. “More will be accomplished if schools, families and communities work together to promote successful students.”
While administrators generally welcome parental engagement, it can make them uneasy when groups representing special interests extend their involvement to aggressive advocacy with senior administrators and school boards. With access to modern tools and techniques from cell phones to social networking, parents can become engaged at the click of a button and sometimes drown out other voices with differing viewpoints on issues from grading and testing policies to budgets and birth control. Download the article