A recent conversation with a few people led me to some thinking about the various parent engagement resources that have been created by Ontario education organizations.  Since the Ontario Parent Engagement Policy was released, a number of resources have been created for parent groups, school councils and school staff.

The province’s principal associations created one in partnership with the Ministry of Education.  On the Ontario Principals’ Council website it states that the purpose of the guide is to assist and support school administrators in the implementation of the Ministry of Education’s policy.  The link to that guide and a web conference PowerPoint can be found here.

Ontario’s Council of Directors of Education (CODE) also created some parent engagement resources in partnership with the Ministry of Education.  They include parent toolkits and guides for school groups.  It was a little difficult to find the resources on their site at first, but they are linked here.  From the home page, I was able to find a link to CODE’s most recently developed resource – a parent toolkit focused on relationships.  It also has an associated guidebook for parents and schools.  There are messages listed for various stakeholders, as well an invites for feedback on the resources near the bottom of the page here.

These resources are all quite good and offer a breadth of options.  My question:  Are they being used?  Are they being distributed to schools, committees, and/or staff?  If so, who is facilitating their use?  There are suggestions for how parent groups could use them, as well as staff.  Do they remain mostly as optional resources?  Is more training or time required to use them more effectively?  Are they about the topics that parents want?  I often hear that the Ministry’s Guidebook for School Councils is too extensive and overwhelming — what about these other resources?  Has each organization defined and supported parent engagement in a unique way?

I know there are other guides and resources created by other education and community organizations in Ontario as well.  Are there some that are used more than others?  Are there other approaches that should be considered in parent engagement?  Should social media be given more attention and consideration instead?  Consider this post and this post.

Should the way parents are included in education conversations and topics be considered more?  Today I read a new appeal from Stephen Hurley regarding effective professional learning.  He invites dialogue and sharing from others to dig in deeper to describe what professional learning means and what makes it effective.  A few of his questions also ask consideration of students and the parent community,

As an administrator, what learning experiences have enabled you to create the environments that support your educators, your students and your parent community?

Inviting students and parents into the conversation, what types of Professional Learning experiences have educators in your life talked about as being particularly effective? What changes in practice have you noticed that might be attributed to these experiences? What educational learning conferences or events have drawn you into these conversations alongside educators?

Please share if you have had good outcomes with using a resource or would like to suggest a good resource.  Who led the use of a resource or workshop?  Where do you think the focus should be — resources/guides or conversations? Both? Other?

As I was writing these thoughts, I saw Donna Miller Fry tweet out this from a session she was attending.  I was intrigued and I hope she will elaborate or give examples on it further.

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