On the October "Start a New Post" Kathy Fine wrote:
I attended my first "parent engagement" meeting at Phillips k-5 on the Southside. What I got from this meeting is that the crux of the "parent engagement" strategy from the district is that parents at each of these meetings are responsible for going back to their homes schools to encourage volunteerism and parent involvement in their children's school performance (assistance with homework, good nutrition/sleep habits, reading to children, etc).
I question how parents are going to be able to do this. When will they see other parents to spread the word regarding involvement? Are parents really expected to challenge other parents regarding behavior at home?
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.