Home visits, surveys, personalized meetings key to boosting parent engagement
- In a webinar titled “Finally, A Guide to Parent Engagement That Works Every Time!” Squiggle Park "lead teacher champion" Sarah M. Rich shares methods she used to increase parent engagement during her nearly two decades as a teacher, which included a stint as a founding faculty member at Rhode Island's Paul Cuffee School, eSchool News reports.
- At the top of Rich's list are taking advantage of home visits to gather insight on students' lives beyond the school walls, using parent surveys at the beginning of the year to get better acquainted with each family, and creating a simple video to let parents know what the typical school day entails.
- Additionally, Rich suggests that parents will be better engaged if they feel that parent-teacher meetings are personalized to them and their child, as well as creating short videos that explain difficult curricular concepts so parents can also better understand how that concept is taught.
Engaging families is a key factor in raising student success, and parents who are actively involved in their child's education are more likely to have children who are engaged in learning. Unfortunately, a recent survey from Rice University found that traditional public school parents (43%) were less likely than charter (56%) or private school parents (61%) to feel "very satisfied" with schools' efforts to engage families and the community.
In New York, South Bronx Preparatory has experimented with a more high-tech means of getting families engaged. With the nonprofit PowerMyLearning, the school has piloted a "Family Playlist" model in which educators create a two-part homework assignment each week or two that requires a student to sit down with a family member, teach them the lesson they've learned through a project, and have the family member answer a handful of questions about the student's understanding of the concept. Thus far, the effort has seen success with the school's 95% free-or-reduced-price lunch population, which reportedly includes a significant number of parents working multiple jobs or who are non-native English speakers.
The District of Columbia, meanwhile, has seen particular success with home visits, finding they contribute to a boost in pre-K attendance in particular, though there have also been concerns that such efforts can be time-consuming or potentially dangerous.
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter