This article was shared by a few I follow on Twitter: Parent Involvement in Schools Matters: A Teacher’s Perspective.  It is from the “Smart Parents” blog series, an initiative in the U.S. welcoming stories for and by parents about student support and education involvement.  Larry Ferlazzo posted information about it on his blog.  Although the author of this article referred to parent involvement, I think she still captured what many view as “parent engagement”,

Success happens when families, students and educators work together and holistically approach a child’s education, focusing on a child’s academic, social, and emotional needs.”

The article ends with suggestions to create meaningful parental involvement in schools.

The first one listed is, “Join the PTA.. or not“.  I found the elaboration interesting, given some recent conversations and posts about Ontario’s school councils,

Join if you have time and the desire, you can see how that goes. But don’t be certain that just because you are part of the PTA, you are having the right conversations. The PTA could also be a lot of organizing and planning that could distract from larger conversations that push the school to be better.”

The remaining suggestions include:

  • Get to know the teacher(s)
  • Talk to other parents at the school
  • Get knowledgeable about policy
  • Go to school board meetings
  • Become a mentor

Examples and rationale are given for each of those suggestions as well.  This list might be a good conversation starter with parents and parent groups.  Would there be agreement with them all?  There may be differences of opinion, but all of the suggestions could each be an “entry point” for parents.  Sometimes it seems to me that parent engagement expectations often “come with a catch”.  Although the list seems a bit like telling parents, it does seem for parents and respectful of parent involvement within the context of education as a whole.

There is more information in the article about submissions to this series.  I wondered how the title of the initiative/series, “Smart Parents”, would be received by parents.  It looks like articles will continue to be posted here and there is also a hashtag: #smartparents

Is there anything similar to this in Canada?

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