By Christina Brownlee | Categories Engagement - Family | K-5 Literacy | Parents | November 17, 2022

Are your parents aware of their child’s true progress?

According to an article in EdWeek, 92 percent of parents believe their children are at grade level and doing just fine in the classroom, despite the widespread evidence that the majority of students are struggling.

Could it be that they would willingly and collaboratively engage with you in the education of their children if they knew there was a gap that affects their child as well?

Because right now, you and every educator in the US need parents to engage collaboratively and knowledgeably if we’re to reverse low student achievement in our communities.

In the article, Bibb Hubbard, the founder and president of Learning Heroes, a nonprofit focused on ensuring parents have accurate information about students’ progress, stated the following:

“If parents don’t have the right, or the accurate, information, they can become a barrier instead of a partner. If parents have this false sense of, ‘My kid’s doing fine,’ they are going to send them to basketball camp rather than summer tutoring. That will affect how well money is utilized and reaching the students it needs to reach.”

That last sentence from Bibb Hubbard is why we’re writing this blog for you. So we’ll repeat it here for emphasis,

“If parents have this false sense of,
‘My kid’s doing fine,’ they are going to send
them to basketball camp rather than
summer tutoring. That will affect how
well money is utilized and reaching the
students it needs to reach.”

So, how do you get your parents to work (nicely) with you?
We know it can be difficult, but there are ways to make it happen. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to get parents involved in their child’s education and help them feel like they’re a part of the team. Keep reading for more information!

Tip # 1: Fun, interesting, positive, consistent communication
When it comes to getting parents involved in their child’s education, consistent, fun, and hopeful/positive communication is the critical element. When you regularly communicate with parents about what’s going on in the classroom and what their child is learning, they start to feel like you’re part of the same team. This can be done through weekly newsletters, emails, phone calls, or even text messages. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, or fancy. Opening up and keeping the lines of communication open helps parents feel like they can reach out to you with any questions or concerns. It doesn’t mean they all will. It’s just knowing they can that will go a long way.

Why is consistent, fun, hopeful, and positive communication so important? Because there’s a perception that communication from teachers and schools is problem-oriented. Your child has a problem, there is a problem in the school, the district has a problem and needs more money, etc. So, unless you and the teachers in previous grade levels have been doing this for a long time, the truth is most parents don’t see school communication as positive, and not at the granular level of their child, their child’s classroom.

Tip #2: Ask for their opinion
It’s also important to involve parents in the decision-making process. When there are big decisions to be made about the classroom or school, make sure you’re including parents in the discussion. This will help them feel like they’re a part of the team and that their input is valued.

Tip #3: Get to know them on a personal level
If you want parents to feel comfortable working with you, it’s important to get to know them on a personal level. This can be done by attending school functions and events, or even just striking up a conversation when you see them in the hallways or at pick-up/drop-off. Learn their names, ask about their day, and let them know you’re happy to see them. These small gestures can go a long way in building relationships with parents.

Tip #4: Make them feel like the heroes they are
Finally, remember to show appreciation for all that parents do. They are their child’s first teachers and they play a vital role in their education. Be sure to thank them often and let them know how much you appreciate their involvement.

By following these tips, you can help your elementary school parents feel more engaged in their child’s education. When everyone is working together, it can make a big difference in the child’s success. Thanks for reading!

Do you have any tips to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Want to know all about what Kids Read Now can do for your students, and your school? We’ve done our best to summarize all the good stuff into one quick read… go there now and share it with your school or district leadership team! We’d love to play a part in helping your students trade in the label “below benchmark reader” to “at grade level” or even better! It’s been done. Check out the independent, third party proof!

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