Six Types of Family Involvement Every School Should Consider
One of the best teaching strategies is to get parents more involved in student learning.
Students with parents who are involved in their education are more likely to earn higher grades, enroll in higher-level programs, pass their classes, attend school regularly, have better social skills, and graduate on to postsecondary education.* Those are a lot of benefits. And they hold true no matter a family’s income or background.
Clearly, promoting parent involvement is a good teaching strategy. But how can you encourage and help parents and families to be more involved in their children’s education? Education expert Joyce Epstein, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, has developed a framework you can follow.† She divides types of parent involvement into six categories.
The first way parents can support their children’s education is by providing a healthy home environment. As an educator, you can help parents by offering parenting workshops, helping their families find needed support programs and government assistance programs, and encouraging them to model pro-education behavior, such as reading to and in front of their children.
Keeping parents informed and making it easy for them to ask questions or express concerns is vital to parent involvement. You want to make sure you’re holding parent-teacher conferences (with language translators, if needed), sending student work home with explanations of their grades, sending out regular e-mails or memos describing the work you’re doing in the classroom, and making yourself available to take parent calls and parent-teacher meetings (with an administrator present, if needed).
One of the most direct ways for parents to involve themselves in their children’s education is to volunteer in the classroom and/or school. You should invite parents to help out in the classroom and make sure they are aware of volunteer opportunities within the school, such as helping out with office work, aiding safety patrols, running concessions at games, etc.
Learning at Home
Parents and other family members can be great educational resources for students. To help parents provide at-home learning, you should keep them informed about homework assignments and projects. You can also provide resources designed to help them understand the subject matter you’re teaching. Additionally, sending home lists of voluntary reading and other activities can help parents ensure their children have ways to learn outside of the classroom.
Good schools and districts run as a partnership between parents and educators. You should encourage parents to join the PTA/PTO and participate in local advocacy and support groups focused on education. Likewise, you should make sure parents know about local school board elections.
Collaborating With the Community
Parents who are involved in the community are typically going to be involved in the school system, too. To help them connect, you can provide information on community activities at local museums and parks; develop community service projects that bring together parents, teachers, and administrators; and invite community leaders to speak in the classroom and at parent events.
How Can You Learn More About Education?
Involving parents is just one of the many teaching strategies that can help you succeed in education. If you want to gain more skills that can help your career as a teacher or an administrator, earning an advanced education degree is an excellent choice. While there are a number of graduate programs for teachers, a solid choice is an MS in Education (MSEd) program.
Not only is an MSEd degree well-respected and designed to help you advance your education skills, but you can earn one through online education. This is particularly beneficial if you’re looking to earn your master’s in education while continuing to teach full time. Instead of having to drive to campus, you can study from home with an online master’s in education program. Plus, when you earn a master’s in education online, you can take advantage of a flexible learning platform that lets you choose when in the day you attend class.
Earning a master’s degree in education can help you advance your career and better serve students and parents. Thanks to online learning, earning an advanced teaching degree is more possible than ever before.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
*National Center for Family and Community Connections With Schools, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, on the internet as a PDF at www.sedl.org/connections/resources/evidence.pdf.
†J. Epstein, et. al., School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, on the internet as a PDF at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERIC-ED467082/pdf/ERIC-ED467082.pdf.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.