For most of us, school has only been in session a week or two. One of the biggest indicators of student success in school is parent involvement at home. This sometimes is not realistic though, not because they do not care, but because they work more than one job, work night shifts, and simply are trying to make a living for their family. So often in high poverty schools, teachers simply give up on trying to get parents involved, and as a teacher in such a school I am always reflecting on what will be best:
Inviting parents INTO the classroom: Last year I decided to have a publishing party after a writing unit. I invited parents into the classroom to celebrate their child’s work. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of parents that came in and celebrated their child. This was such a confidence booster and gave our students purpose for their work.
Homework: Homework does NOT need to be a daily occurrence. Not only does it have zero effect on school success, but homework will not get done in a household that has other more important priorities like getting dinner on the table. Students should be engaged enough in the classroom that homework is not necessary.
Simple Newsletters: Sending a simple bi-weekly or monthly classroom newsletter can give families an abundance of information.
Positive Phone Calls: Keeping parents in the loop for positives will make a negative phone call much easier. Parents need to know their children are valued and being a positive role model at school. When parents who may seem “uninvolved” get positive communication from school and then relay that to their child, parents and students feel valued.