The most important adults to engage in a child’s life are their family members. Research shows that when parents or other caregivers are involved in children’s school lives , attendance, educational performance, classroom behavior, and emotional well-being improve. Familial involvement also benefits schools. It boosts the morale of teachers and administrators who know they are backed up by students’ families and that these families support the mission of the school and understand their joint role with teachers in supporting student performance, behaviors, and efforts to succeed.
Some families with students attending low-performing schools understand well that family involvement is essential to their children’s academic success. Others are reluctant to enter institutions in which they may have failed, while still others may come from cultures in which getting involved is a sign of disrespect to educators. There are many opportunities for schools that want to get families involved, and there are many examples, strategies and research reports regarding “how to.”
The National Network of Partnership Schools, Johns Hopkins University is a long-established, research-based university-district-school and community collaboration that works with more than 800 schools in its network, focusing on building programs that enhance parents’ involvement in their children’s education and outcomes. Its website is a rich source of case studies and best practices for all grades, and describes its effective practice of Action Planning Teams. http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/
One Dream, Two Realities: Perspectives of Parents on America’s High School
This report shares the perspectives of parents of students in high- performing and low-performing high schools and shows that parents with less education, lower incomes and children in low-performing schools are the most likely to see a rigorous education and their own involvement critical to their child’s success. The report provides specific strategies for the engagement of parents. http://www.civicenterprises.net/MediaLibrary/Docs/one_dream_two_realities.pdf
Strengthening Parents’ Ability to Provide the Guidance and Support That Matter Most in High School. A policy brief that highlights research indicating the types of parental involvement that positively impact high school students. Designed for state policymakers, this resource also identifies policies and practices that reflect and reinforce a commitment to increase parental involvement. http://www.ecs.org/html/Document.asp?chouseid=7848
The National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Implementation Guide for empowering communities to collaborate and build strong family-school partnerships dedicated to students’ success, developed by the National PTA: http://www.pta.org/2757.asp, as well as A Report Card for Parents, 10 Truths About Parent Involvement, The Power of Partnerships Family Survey, and the National Standards for Family- School Partnerships: What We Can Do Together to Support Student Success powerpoint meant for families and community members.
The Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit available at www.hfrp.org/HighSchoolSuccessToolkit, offers guidance on how to create opportunities to encourage parent and community participation in schools