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Plan for Parental InvolvementChapter Writing

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Parental involvement is a necessity in today's schools. Parental involvement may mean a child's academic success or failure. As described by Dumont, Trautwein, Nagy, and Nagengast, parental involvement categorized as parental responsiveness can lead to better academic functioning (Dumont, Trautwein, Nagy, & Nagengast, 2014). That is why for the last two decades, experts have devised ways to get parents more involved in their child's learning. The first step is acknowledging the true role of the parent.

#1 Parents are to be regarded as partners with the school, not as separate from the school. The parent is there in order to get the child the best education that child deserves. This means acknowledging the students not as students, but as children and acknowledging the importance parents have towards the full education of the student (Davis & Broitman, 2011). That is why the first step means bringing in parents and treating them as partners towards the objective of getting the best education for the child.

#2 The next step is providing evidence that parental involvement helps children succeed more in their academic endeavors. One important example is the landmark Coleman Report from 1966 (Wong, 2014). The information demonstrated the impact schools and families have when it comes to educational achievement and discovered that a family's impact on the student is much more than that of schools with regards to how well a child does academically. Coleman's results have been seen time and time again throughout the years both in the United States and internationally and provide the basis from which to encourage parental involvement. By bringing in parents and displaying the evidence of positive growth among students whose parents are involved, this may increase desire of parents to participate.

#3 The next step involves communication. It is important to let parents know what is happening and also provide an avenue for them to give feedback. In addition, the school must know what kind of people these parents are. For example, a large portion of them are from Generation X. People from this generation expect instant communication and a detailed, first-class website that provides information and ways to help their child improve in school. They also expect information to be delivered immediately concerning any problems their child may have. All this must be done in a concise and brief article or email that will provide them with everything they need to make their assessment. Developing a method for parents to talk and relay feedback is one of the most important steps.

#4 The fourth step is treating parents not as clients, but as partners. This goes back to step #1, but it should be especially emphasized. Parents cannot be talked down to or made to feel as though they are not capable of educating their child. Only 15% of a child's life is spent learning in school (Ferlazzo & Hammond, 2009). By incorporating the parent's skills into the task, it will be made much easier to achieve a higher degree of parental involvement.

#5 Another important step is building trust. Parents must feel that they can trust their child's school will be able to fulfill their child's academic requirements. That is why holding social events can help build relationships between parents and the school. These are easy to arrange and can benefit both the parent and the school. When parents feel involved on a personal level, they are more inclined to engage with and help the school in regards to educating their child.

#6 This step involves removing barriers between parents and the school. For example, some parents may feel shy or easily intimidated when speaking with perceived authority figures. They may not want to attend social gatherings or meetings, decreasing the likelihood of their involvement in their child's education. That is why potential support groups can be made to help parents cope with certain problems like loss of a loved one or economic hardship. When parents do feel they can attend a meeting, making them feel welcome and comfortable will ensure they are more willing to participate.

#7 The next step is communicating with the school staff on what to do in order to facilitate the aforementioned trust, respect, and communication that is needed. From the principal to the custodian, everyone plays a hand in how a parent perceives the school and how ready they are to participate. By having ongoing meetings with the staff, and keeping them informed on policy and what to do should parents communicate with them, this will help the entire school remain on board with the objective.

#8 The next step involves structuring parental involvement so parents know what to do once they begin getting more involved in their child's education. By providing lessons, instructions, and tasks, as well as ways to allow them to give their own feedback on the process, it reduces the potential disconnect parents may have when it comes to increasing their involvement. Simple instructions such as talking with their child about his or her homework can go a long way towards keeping a parent committed to the task.

#9 The last step is knowing why parents may not want to involve themselves. Sometimes it can be time, other times it is due to financial restraints. While some may not participate due to distrust or miscommunication. Understanding what may deter parental involvement can help circumvent disinterest and non-participation.

Implementation

The steps are just steps without proper implementation. To implement the plan, parents must be made aware of the important of their involvement in their child's education. Sending a letter with the child asking for a brief meeting with the school's counselors may help the parent begin the process of involvement. This is a good way to get the ball rolling. Making the letter mandatory to deliver to the parent and then asking the child to talk with the parent about that matter makes clear the urgency of the situation. The event can be called Parent day and can last the entire day up until 8pm.

Before the parent arrives, having a meeting with the school staff and instructing them on how to behave when parents arrive will make communication between school staff and parents easier. When the parents come, they can be briefed on the evidence available suggesting the benefits of parental involvement in improving their child's grades. Special emphasis can be placed on a father's role in a child's education, providing studies and research that shows how major the impact can be on a child's education should the parent choose to be involved.

Everything needs to be brief and any written information must be kept to 300 words or less with the same font and template used throughout. Instructions should be included along with the emails and office phone numbers of everyone participating in the parental involvement initiative. Parents will be asked to give their emails and phone numbers and will be invited to a second event where they will get to socialize with the school staff. They will also be briefed on a school website where they can get information for lesson plans at home and checklists to make sure their involvement is easy to execute. At the end of each month, parents will be asked to provide their feedback and this feedback will be discussed in the monthly school meetings to address any concerns.

Assessment

Evaluation of any plan involves feedback. The last stage of the plan requires parents to submit their feedback on a monthly and continual basis. This will be done online. They will also have a checklist they are to complete to ensure they are at least trying to commit to the steps necessary to educate their children and ensure they are doing their homework when they are not in school. These online checklists and surveys will be done on the school website and parents will be given an account from which they can sign in. Any site activity will be recorded along with any downloads such as additional lessons and tools the parents may like to use to help their child.

Social events that can be held every two months will also help determine how many parents are involved and if they continue to involve themselves. The monthly meetings with school staff will provide assessment in relation to which parents make contact and which parents ignore contact attempts made by the school staff. Ultimately, the children's grades will be tracked from the beginning phase to the end phase. The end phase will show if the efforts worked or not.

By having ongoing assessments, meetings, and feedback, parents and school staff can stay informed. "The results indicate that the provision by student assessors of feedback that identified problems and gave suggestions was a significant predictor of the performance of the assessors themselves, and that positive affective feedback was related to the performance of assesses" (Lu & Law, 2011, p. 257). This is especially true for the end phase that will truly show if the efforts of both… [END OF PREVIEW]

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