Successful Parent Involvement

Document Sample
Successful Parent Involvement Powered By Docstoc
					             Laura J. Beaver                               Jill P. Nolen
            Title I Coordinator                   Parent Involvement Consultant
      Parent Involvement Consultant                    Silver Ink Publishing
      Springmore Elementary School                       704-473-0192 (cell)
           704-434-7371 (work)

         Successful Parent Involvement
  A. Building Relationships with Parents
    • Hidden Rules Among Classes
    • Verbal Communication
    • Non-verbal Communication

  B. Creating Engaging Events
    • Target Your Audience
    • Select the Type of Event
    • Advertise the Event

  C. Planning Parent Workshops
    •   Select Presentation Format
    •   Presentation Tips
    •   Effective Workshop
    •   Provide a Handout

“There is no correlation between the physical presence of parents at school
and student achievement. The correlation is between student achievement
and parental involvement.”
 Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.
 Working with Parents, Building Relationships for Student Success

Successful Parent Involvement Events Include:

A. Building Relationships with Parents
     Hidden Rules Among Classes

     Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.
     A Framework for Understanding Poverty

1. Verbal Communication
   • Casual vs. Formal Registry
       When talking to parents one-on-one or in a large group setting, teachers need
       to be able to communicate with them in a way that makes them feel
       comfortable, but that also lets them know that you are an expert in your field.
       Casual Registry is the …
   •   Delivery is the Key
       Unfortunately, there are unpleasant situations we find ourselves in when
       dealing with parents. Whether it’s the phone call we have to make concerning a
       discipline issue or the parent who “pops in” during the middle of your lesson
       needing to talk, we as educators have to be fully aware of what we say and,
       more importantly, how we say it. The smallest amount of bad news can be
       quickly blown out of proportion if presented in an impersonal or negative
       manner. When speaking to parents, keep in mind the old saying, “You can
       catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Parents will be much more
       receptive and willing to cooperate if we make sure we greet them with a smile
       on our face, take time to listen to their concerns, treat them with respect and
       make them feel as if we are partners.

   •   Prior Personal Contacts
        The first contact you have with a parent is critical. But many times, parents
       have formed an opinion about you and the school in general without ever
       meeting you. If a parent has had negative experiences with other teachers or
       even unpleasant childhood memories related to school, you have your work cut
       out for you. Make sure you make the initial meeting with a parent a positive
       one. Share good news before you mention the bad. Making the parent realize
       your goal is to work together in that first meeting is much more important than
       discussing the problems. There will be plenty of time to discuss the problems
       and your solutions will be better received if the parent feels you are on their


2. Non-Verbal Communication
   •   First Impressions Matter
       From the sign-in table to the refreshments, the simplest of decorations can
       make parents feel special and think that the event they are attending is
       important and is going to be worth their time. Grab ferns, small plants or ficus
       trees from around the school or borrow them from a friend with a green thumb
       to spice up your entrance way. Balloons are inexpensive and always add a nice
       touch as well. Use clip art or graphics to spice up the sign-in sheet. Cover the
       refreshment table with bulletin board paper or plastic table cloths to add some
       color. Buy inexpensive, plastic bowls and serving plates to present the
       refreshments in a more inviting manner. Once purchased, these dishes can be
       used time and time again.

   • Body Language (Yourself & Parents)
       People make a lot of assumptions about what a person is thinking or feeling
       just by observing their facial expression, body position, and even eye contact.
       However, many times, the assumptions made are often incorrect. Always be
       aware of your body language when parents are around. What would leaning
       against the wall with a group of other teachers at the PTO meeting say to the
       parents walking in? Would it say, “Come on over and join us.” Or would it say,
       “You’re not part of our group.” Also make sure you do not misread the body
       language of the parents. A parent that appears to not be engaged during a
       presentation, may in fact be listening intently and trying to process the
       information you are sharing.

   •   School Climate
       The school setting is often intimidating to many parents, especially those from
       the poverty class. In most cases, parents have to stop by the office and sign-in
       before going to the classroom to see a teacher or their children. This procedure
       is necessary for safety reasons, but can make parents very uncomfortable if the
       receptionist does not send forth a pleasant greeting. Then as they walk down
       the hall, does the school staff along the way greet them with a smile and
       cheerful “hello” or do they pass by without even acknowledging their presence?
       If you want to know if your school is inviting and makes parents feel welcome,
       take time and confidentially ask a variety of different parents to share their
       thoughts about the climate from an outsider’s point of view.

B. Creating Engaging Events
  1. Target Your Audience
   •   Poverty Class – Entertainment
   •   Middle Class – Achievement
   •   Wealthy Class – Financial & Social Connections

  2. Select Type of Event
   •   Games: Kickball, Board Games, Carnival Games, Relays, Challenges

   •   Hands-On Activities: Decorating Gingerbread Houses, Making Homemade
       Play Dough, Cooking, Making Jewelry, Building Model Cars, Paper Airplanes

   •   Student Performances: Reader’s Theater, Poetry Reading, Musical,
       Author’s Tea, Class Play _______________________________________

 •   Showcasing Work: Living History Museum, Science Fair, Art Show
     Culminating Unit Projects _______________________________________

 •   Traditional Events: PTO Nights, Open House, Kindergarten Orientation,
     Fall Festival, Family Reading Night _______________________________

4. Advertise the Event
 •   Creative Invitations:

      Highlight the Fun _______________________________________
      Thematic Title ___________________________________________
      Creative Description of Event _______________________________
      Graphically Appealing _____________________________________
      RSVP __________________________________________________

 •   Spreading the Word
      Official Envelope ________________________________________
      Reminder Flyers & Stickers _________________________________
      Multimedia Announcements - Newsletters, Marquee, School Calendar,
                                  Community Postings, Website, Email, etc.
      Talking It Up _____________________________________________

C. Planning Parent Workshops
 1. Select Presentation Format
    • Teacher Talk
         Small or Large Group Presentation
         The Teachers Talk format allows the presenting teacher to use a
         fellow teacher and/or visual aid to help model the strategies for the
         parents. This format is well suited for small groups, but is primarily
         designed for large group, school wide presentations.
             • Have the assisting teacher pretend to be a child. The assisting
                 teacher should respond to any questions in a manner similar to
                 students in the targeted grades.
             • Students attending the workshop can sit in the audience with
                 their parents. However, it is recommended to enlist the help of
                 other staff members in order to offer childcare or a fun activity
                 in a nearby room for these students.
             • The teacher models the strategies step-by-step with the help of
                 the assisting teacher. The teacher then explains how the
                 parents follow the same steps at home when working with their
         Some teachers choose to use a visual aid, such as a PowerPoint
         presentation or video clip to help model the strategy if another teacher
         is not available to assist during the presentation.
•   Students Show

        Small or Large Group Presentation
        This presentation style allows the teacher to use students to help
        model the strategies for the parents.
           • Pre-select a small group of students to participate in the
               presentation or utilize all the students that attend the workshop
               with their parents.
           • Students attending the workshop, but not participating in the
               presentation, can sit in the audience with their parents.
               However, it is recommended to enlist the help of other staff
               members in order to offer childcare or a fun activity in a nearby
               room for these students.
           • Position participating students at the front of the room so they
               can easily be seen and heard by the parents. Use a
               microphone if necessary.
           • The teacher models the strategies step-by-step with the help of
               the students. The teacher then explains how the parents follow
               the same steps at home when working with their children.

    • Parents Practice
        Small Group Presentation
        The Parents Practice format allows the teacher to give the parents
        hands-on practice in using the strategies with their children.
           • It is recommended to enlist the help of other staff members in
              order to offer childcare or a fun activity in a nearby room for
              any siblings attending.
           • Have the students sit next to their parent(s) and step-by-step
              guide the group of parents to use the strategies.
           • Walk around and monitor the parents in order to provide

2. Write Workshop Script
  Write out word for word what you plan to say to the parents during the training
  portion of the event. Be sure your training includes the following components:

  • Getting Started
       State the Strategy ________________________________________
       Explain the Need _________________________________________

  • Sharing the Strategy
       Model Strategy Step-by-Step________________________________

  • Summing It Up
       Provide Research Information _______________________________
       Review Strategies Step-by-Step______________________________

3. Provide a Handout for the Parents
  The handout should provide a step-by-step overview of the strategy(s) shared
  and modeled during the parent training. The strategy should be written in
  parent friendly terms and as brief and to the point as possible. The use of icons
  to support the concept of the strategy is helpful to parents from all walks of life.
  It is best to print the handouts on card stock for durability.

        Use Pictures to Convey Meaning
        Graphically Appealing

4. Presentation Tips
   • Be Professional
   • Use Humor
   • Include Research
       Take out the “teacher talk”__________________________________
       Give the strategy a name
  • Share Personal Stories

                  Home Literacy Cards
Story Time Strategies (Pre-reading & Comprehension) #14379
Grades PreK - K
  •   Develops predicting skills
  •   Expands phonological awareness & listening comprehension skills
  •   Strengthens comprehension & develops story sense

Take Time to Think (Comprehension) #14377
Grades 1-2
  •   Enhances predicting skills
  •   Develops self-monitoring skills
  •   Expands interpretations skills by thinking beyond the text

Champions of Chapters (Comprehension) available Fall 2008
Grades 3-6
  •   Differentiate Between Fiction & Non-fiction
  •   Preview and Analyze Text
  •   Self-Monitor Comprehension of Longer Text

Watch for Signs (Fluency) #14375
Grades 1-6
  •   Parent models fluent reading
  •   Parent provides guided fluency practice
  •   Child independently practices fluent reading

Flag It! (Vocabulary) #14376
Grades PreK - 6
  •   Expands vocabulary development
  •   Targets unfamiliar words or words with multiple meanings
  •   Designed for independent or shared reading time at home

Read Like You Shop (Test-Taking Strategies) #14378
Grades 3-6
  •   Reinforces the use of before, during and after reading
        test-taking strategies at home

      Contact Frank Beasley, Director of K-5 Kaplan, at ,or
      Art Guye, NC Kaplan Representative at , for information
                about staff development or parent involvement products.