Saturday, July 2, 2011

Parent involvement

Donut Diva asked a GREAT question about parent involvement on my back to school night post. Just in case you didn't see this, I thought I'd share!

Blogger Donut Diva said...

Just wondering how do you fund the ice cream social and how do you get the word out. Our meet and greet is district wide from 11 - 1 the day before school starts it is a terrible time.
What other things does your school do to involve parents and families. I am student council advisor and trying to think of some new ideas.

Awesome question! Here is my response:
Our wonderful PSO (parent-staff organization) helps fund our ice cream! They even help run the event!! Our event is only for our school (so we can set the time) usually from 5:30ish-7:30ish if I remember correctly. that way parents can come after work. Our school sends out a letter to incoming families a couple weeks before the event to let them know who their teacher is, info on the meet and greet and first day of school. I think they might also do an automated reminder as well the night before.
We have a secretary that speaks spanish, so she translates over a wireless signal to headphones for parents who need translation. It's great!!
Parent involvement definitely can be a continuous battle, but I've found that connecting through email (and finding out email or paper preferences) has helped a lot! I use my classroom blog to update parents, but also send email/note reminders about anything important. We also have a bi-monthly newsletter that goes out with information on all events/school news. The front office secretary makes and distributes this, and it can either be delivered to the students class or by email depending on preferences.

Wow, there are lots of ideas! Maybe this is a new idea for a linky party :)

These were just a few ideas I could think of, but am SURE there are many more!! What kinds of things do you do to connect with parents?
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Anonymous said...

I wish we did MORE to connect with parents! Because I teach Pre-K, many of my parents think that we are a FREE daycare and NOT school. Therefore they do not have to bring their child to school (even though we still have an attendance policy)nor do they have to be involved. We do have a PTA, but not even 1% of the parents belong, let alone attend meetings or activities sponsored by the PTA - UNLESS there is something for FREE- and if there isn't then they don't stick around. Good luck in finding that "magical potion" to get parents involved in their child's education!!

Donut Diva said...

Wow I am so excited you made this a topic! I guess I need to know then do you suggest it to your pto and ask them to fund it or do they come up with the idea? This year I asked them to do a donuts for dad and muffins for mom and they were like yea it would be to hard for parking and too much trouble. So the 2nd grade teachers just footed the bill and did it ourselves, but I would love to see it schoolwide. As far as other things. Last year I did a movie night for the school it was free to get it they just needed to rsvp and then we charged for snacks and made $300. I started a grandparents day which is very successful teachers do something in their rooms really low key and has been going on for 5 years school wide. But I just think we need to do more. I would love to see some more ideas.

Mrs. Bee said...

Hmm..that's a good question! It has been a longstanding tradition at my school now, and whatever changes we need to make to the normal agenda we just let them know. We are blessed with an amazing PTO, many of them have become friends with a lot of the staff, so that helps! I would present the idea to the PTO again, and have a cost analysis ready to show them that is will definitely be cost effective. in my experience, the pto wants to help get parents involved, but are also concious of the cost. Show them how well you can get deals if you try, by having community sponsors and such. I bet most of the stuff could get donated. and parking, I wouldn't worry about that! It's just like the normal school day, there may be some people who have to park farther away, but they expect that!
It sounds like you have such AWESOME ideas and just need the support to back it up! Is there much involvement in the pto? sometimes it is just timing of who is on the board, and other times it might be the demographic of the community. Sounds like you need a few new people on the board to get them excited again!! We have a fundraising chairperson, and she helps organize events at restaurants and in the community that cost nothing to the school and are not much work other than contacting the retailers. Do you have that??

Good luck!!