The Newest Buzz Word!

Family Engagement at schoolParent involvement! Family engagement! Community partners! We all realize that more than just student and teacher are important to the success of a child.

As I developed the Parent Guide to Summer, putting together groups of parents to share their ideas and experiences was the key.  Schools must build a bridge to families that they feel comfortable crossing. This means seeking direct parent input into the types of support and environments that make them the most likely to participate and succeed.

Sometimes in the crush of classroom schedules to work around, curriculum to be taught, and school procedures to follow, we forget how powerful the personal invitation is to successful parent and family involvement.

I began my involvement in public schools simply because I was asked by a neighbor. The treasurer of the parent group was moving and she knew I was business-minded. So, with a brand new Kindergartener, a toddler and a newborn baby, I attended my first parent group meeting.

We can also forget how intimidating it can be to be a parent in a school setting. It took me years to call our principal by her first name, although she encouraged me repeatedly.

As I have worked with parent groups to increase their parent involvement with schools, I have found that it is critical to provide parents with both tangible support resources and a welcoming attitude. If either is missing, parents find it especially difficult to contribute meaningfully to their school and their child’s education.

And the decades of research shows it is worth the effort! When parents are involved students have:

–  Higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates

–  Better school attendance

–  Increased motivation, better self-esteem

–  Lower rates of suspension

–  Decreased use of drugs and alcohol

–  Fewer instances of violent behavior

So, the next time you’re seeking parent involvement or support – ask yourself, when is the last time you reached out to encourage it? The ThinkStretch Parent Guide to Summer is designed to make families feel welcome and understand their importance in the education of their child as well as provide a resource for parents to reference. Learn more about using ThinkStretch to support family involvement in the prevention of summer learning loss.

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