As a staff, we were very fortunate to have parents attend and help to guide us in the process of education planning for the 2010-2011 school year. Using feedback that we received from students, the education plan, along with the Annual Education Report for our school, we had research and data to help us create our vision. We were grateful for the comments and feedback from our school community that will help us improve the culture and learning environments. Parents and staff are focused on the same objective: what is best for each child. With that clear focus in mind, and working together as a community, I was glad that we had such a successful day. As a school community, if we are saying that parents need to be a part of the process, we NEED to have them join us when we are creating our vision for our schools. They need to be heard and it is essential to have ongoing communication with parents throughout the school year.
If schools are to reach their full potential, parents need to be a part of the planning process. This is an absolute must. No one should know a child better than their own parent; we need to tap into this resource more than we do. Their input is invaluable.
I have recently read an interesting article called “A Teacher’s Guide to Generation X Parents”, and I thought it had some very interesting notes on how parents want to be more involved in the education of their children. I believe that parents are partners in the school and the points listed here are very relevant to what we want to do as a staff.
Here are some of the key points the author summarized:
Listen to Us
As insufferable as we can be at first contact, listen to us first. We may look and act like adults, but there is a part of us that still feels like a neglected kid inside. Paying attention to our concerns may be a little more time consuming, but the effort will pay off. We’re loyal allies, and we love to be helpful.
Invite us to teach in the classroom for an afternoon. Or assign students free-choice homework one night a week, to be completed with a parent. Many Gen Xers are genuine intellectuals with interesting ideas and hobbies. We’d love to share them!
Put Us to Work
We share your passion for making schools more successful learning environments. Besides letting us help you in class or share a homework assignment with our kids, harness our energy by asking us to help plan a field trip or do background research or otherwise help you prepare a class project.
Give Us Limits
“I let parents know that I’m always willing to listen to their concerns, but that there are certain issues that are negotiable and others that just aren’t,” says Shelly Wolf Scott, an administrator at Brooklyn’s Rivendell School. Parents are not allowed to alter their children’s classroom placement, curriculum, or administrative decisions.
They are, however, permitted to offer information about their child that the school might not know and that could assist in making such decisions. “This group of parents seems to respond well to those boundaries,” she says.
Work with Us
“Parents don’t seem to know how incredibly carefully all teachers and administrators think about their children,” says Lynn Levinson, assistant director of Upper School (and a parent of two) at the Maret School, in Washington, DC. “I always reassure them that I know how many conversations have revolved around these children and their classmates, so I know that it’s the right decision, even if I’m not happy with it as a parent.”
I think these points are very helpful in guiding all of us to ensure the best for each child alongside parents.
I would love your thoughts.