As I have done in the past with my blog, it is a pleasure to invite other contributors to guest post.  This time I welcome Nancy Angevine-Sands, (With Equal Step @withequalstep) and Michelle Munroe, both parent advocates in Ontario.  Both new to blogging, they have submitted some thoughts in an “imagine” list that I think will resonate with various stakeholders in education.  Feel free to add or provide them with feedback to the possibilities they have imagined for an inclusive school climate and parent/community engagement…

Imagine if:

  • parents as partners wasn’t thinking outside the box; it was just making the box bigger
  • parents were not perceived as hovering helicopters
  • when principals heard “engagement” they thought “welcome in” and not “run for the hills”
  • parent engagement meant more than council meetings, going on trips and donating money
  • schools did not see ‘parent knowledge’ as an oxymoron
  • schools wanted to call you back – and vice versa
  • parents were asked, “What are the outstanding things you do with your child?” and not “what on earth are you doing with that child?”
  • families were greeted warmly at the school door and not coldly shown the door
  • the over-worked office staff welcomed you as a friend and not an annoyance.
  • parents were asked to tell what they knew about their child at parent-teacher conferences
  • parent-teacher meetings were always attended because they were arranged based on parent availability
  • school council decision-making was not about which chocolate bar to sell
  • school councils were places where all parents were supported
  • all school councils were about student achievement and not building cliques
  • home-school partnerships were more modern family and less father knows best
  • exceptional children weren’t treated as the exceptions to the rules
  • parent advocacy was not parent adversary
  • ADHD was treated as artistic, delightful, happy, demonstrative..
  • parents acknowledged that their ‘jewel’ could also be a ‘precious’
  • principals were curriculum leaders not administrators, plumbers, painters, cleaners, paper pushers…
  • the profession of teacher was hailed as one of the most valuable in society
  • staff fitness began with a get-to-know-the-community walk before the first day of school
  • all students understood they had a role & responsibility in their learning
  • learning spaces went beyond the walls of the school and into the community
  • community perceived the school as a place where they could learn and teach
  • all families were seen as gold bullion; none as pennies
  • being multi-lingual was perceived as an asset and not a deficit
  • parent behaviour was not pre-judged by cultural and racial background
  • parent’s past experiences did not colour perceptions of their children’s schooling
  • equity meant multi-lingual books, relevant resources, valuing differences
  • our various cultures were incorporated into the everyday life of the school
  • we asked, “How does your family do this?”
  • parent engagement was everybody’s business
  • a unified chorus proclaimed, “Let’s work together!”
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