Parental Engagement and Academic Achievement
Buzzwords like “parent engagement”, “parent and community engagement”, “parental involvement”, and “home-school partnership” become the topic of conversation and student success strategy for good reason. Which of these initial responses resonate with you?
I help as much as I can.
I ask about homework and they say it’s done.
I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do differently.
Jackson Education Support works with educators and parents to improve student outcomes. Services include academic intervention and professional coaching. Click here to explore products and services for you, your family, or organization.
I get to promote strong home-school partnerships by building relationships with learners that provide insight into parental engagement planning. Is there an information gap? Is there a communication gap? How can we leverage the information and tools available to increase academic achievement?
Parent Support: 30 Ways to Support Your Child’s Education is a resource that offers strategies to help parents increase engagement toward academic achievement. This book is a snapshot of effective strategies from my partnerships with educators and parents. The take-home message is that parents are better equipped to get involved – and stay involved - by implementing Parent Support strategies. Parents benefit because they’re exposed to reminders and new strategy; educators benefit from the changed behaviors that result from exposing parents to Parent Support.
Revving up parental engagement requires vigilance, intention, and consistency. The concept of an "engaged parent" is not synonymous with that of an educated parent nor a stay-at-home parent. Proficiency in literacy, math, and science aren’t inherited. Though it’s a plus, simply being present also isn’t enough.
Not sure where to start?
Begin with the end in mind. If we want to improve achievement, awareness of learning goals is imperative. For parents of school-age children, requesting a district pacing guide and viewing your state’s standards are the surest way to become familiar with learning goals… and identify potential bumps in the road early on. With careful attention to detail, what’s happening in the classroom is evident in real-time via graded work and homework assignments. Educators are responsible for making performance data available in a timely manner, and parents are responsible for checking online grade books and backpacks regularly. As oppose to forgoing this recommendation as a strategy for promoting responsibility among struggling learners, consider conversations with young people about academic performance as an exercise in accountability.
Infuse learning goals into your lifestyle. After identifying learning goals, it’s time to implement your version of Parent Support’s Lesson Twenty, Gardening is Educational. In this lesson, readers learn how to merge an everyday activity for many families, gardening, with science learning objectives to increase student engagement and motivation to learn. The strategy is applicable to other subject areas as well. One suggestion: look for ways that students will implement learning goals in real-world settings. We leverage literacy learning goals to make decisions about voting behaviors. We also leverage math learning goals each time there's a sale in our favorite boutique.
Encourage disciplined innovation. A third strategy offered in Lesson Two of Parent Support, involves establishing a balance between teaching children to follow directions and encouraging innovation. As shared with readers of Parent Support: 30 Ways to Support Your Child’s Education, creativity and innovation drive our economy. We want to actively prepare children to meet academic standards without sacrificing individuality and ingenuity. For instance, children often rebel when asked to complete tasks a certain way. Observing the child before intervening may reveal a new way to skin the proverbial cat!
Already highly engaged? Great! Strategies offered to this point have been reminders. There’s still more to do. Highly engaged educators and parents are tasked with showing others the way. How do you balance family and work life? How are you successfully promoting partnership? Listen to my interview on promoting strong home-school partnerships for more ideas: click here.
Answers to these questions reveal ways that highly engaged parents can build more vibrant learning communities. We know that sharing wisdom with parents increases student performance. More important, stronger readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists are better equipped to enhance our way of living.
Facts to consider
Consider the following facts as you work to develop parent-school partnerships.
Engaging with families is not always intuitive for teachers and school leaders... Their comfort and skill levels often need to be developed.
Discussing children's readiness skills can open dialogue about strengths and areas of concern for families and educators.
Student benefits associated with effective family engagement include improved school readiness, higher student achievement, better social skills and behavior, and increased likelihood of high school graduation.
As we build relationships centered on parental engagement and academic achievement, better student outcomes are inevitable. Whether an educator or parent, explore Parent Support to learn ways to leverage parental engagement opportunities.
Invite me to be a resource for your family or organization. Click here to schedule a consult or call 1.601.724.2152.