Monday, October 27, 2008

Parent Engagement for K - 8

On the "Parent Engagement Tuesdays" post bloggers wrote as follows:

Kathy Fine said:
"My vision of encouraging "parent involvement" is very different. If we really want to reach the parents that are not currently engaged, we need a much more aggressive methodology. How about having parent engagement taking place once or twice a month at each and every school in the district, so that it is much more accessible to parents without transportation? Tout these meetings as "free dinner for the family with free child care". Have varying topics such as "reading to your child", "homework help", etc. Use the Harlem Children's Zone model and make an aggressive attempt (phone calls, fliers door to door) to spread the word. The current methods of parent engagement is targeting the same parents that are engaged anyway! We need methods that will reach the parents that are not currently engaged and whose children will benefit the most from increased involvement. "

justaparent said...
PSCC meetings are held monthly at every school. What attracts parents is a good MATH NIGHT, or a meeting about an EIGHTH GRADE TRIP. District level PE suffers poor turnout because in order to do some of the things mentioned in purereform's report on the PE Tuesdays YOU GOTTA BE HOME. I think a good indicator on parent interest will be the turnout at individual buildings on the Promise Nights. If these events prove to be a big draw that is what the PE strategy should be, meetings with one focus, advertised well in advance. To be fair, there are some schools who hit the ball out of the park on parent engagement activities. My info may not be current, but at least a couple years ago ATA and Montessouri were often mentioned as schools worthy of leading the way to successful PE. In my own experience, a good principal can present the same info as a superintendent and make it more meaningful at the school level.
October 25, 2008 8:57 PM

Anonymous said...
as a veteran of PE in PPS and a Mom with PPS grads I can tell you a lot of what you mentioned has been done over the years. Child care and training to help parents help their kid improve was pretty common.Some of what I read in the report made me smile. A lot of the same advice given I heard years ago. READ TO YOUR CHILD, should really be replaced with LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD READ OUT LOUD. This will give you a better idea of how he is doing in school.

Kathy Fine said...
From the comments regarding my post regarding parent engagement, it is apparent that there are many interpretations of what "parent engagement" is, all of them correct. But what I was addressing was what I see as one of the major areas of concern in our public schools; the ever looming achievement gap and how address it. So my comments regarding parent engagement speak to the large percentage of under served or at risk students in our schools whose parents are not engaged in their children's schooling. What the Harlem Model demonstrates is that you can run programs but if you do not get the targeted population to attend, the programs do little good. That's why in the Harlem model, outreach is paramount and door to door solicitation is common. I realize that we have some very hard working principals pushing for this engagement, but we need a comprehensive, district wide push and I don't believe that the methods being utilized in the current PE meetings are going to address this specific population of parents.
October 26, 2008 2:15 PM

1 comment:

Questioner said...

One tool that can really help with parent engagement a regular update by email. There may be some hesitation on the grounds that not all parents have access to email. However, most people have access to a computer at work or at a library, and a parent computer could be made available at the applicable school, and updates can be sent on a given day each week (or even mailed to parents who find it difficult to get to a computer). Here is an excellent example of an email sent to parents of a 6th grade class (this was at a private school but the same thing could be done anywhere):

Hi Parents,
I hope you all had an enjoyable spring break with your children. This third trimester is going to fly by. We will be very busy with classes and with the musical. It’s such an exciting time! Just a reminder—report cards will be sent home on Friday.

In Language Arts this week I am going to give the students the guidelines for the “What I Have Learned” and Works Cited sections of the I-Search. The students will have the guidelines in their notebooks. I will also introduce plagiarism, internal citations/documentation, and writing a thesis statement this week. We will be following MLA guidelines. I have a copy of the MLA handbook in the classroom, we have one in the library, and here are some websites that may also be useful:,

I will give students various handouts with examples. Students should keep these in their I-Search folders. The students should continue to take notes from their sources for homework this week.

I will be passing back the students’ “My Questions” sections this week with feedback. The students can revise these at any time. They will turn in the revised version when the final paper is due. In some cases, I may ask to see the student’s revised version before the final deadline.

The students will get new spelling words tomorrow and the tests will continue to be given every Friday.

In math class we will begin new book entitled “Making Mathematical Arguments.” Throughout phase one of this book, the students will work with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing positive and negative numbers. The students will be asked to find counterexamples to mathematical statements. My hopes are by the end of the unit that the students will be able to understand how different combinations of positive and negative integers can be added or subtracted to get a particular result. Also, students will be able to understand that subtracting a negative number is equivalent to adding a positive number and that subtracting a positive number is equivalent to adding a negative number. Lastly, students will find a general rule for multiplication and division problems that will determine when answers will be positive and when they will be negative.

Thanks for your time!