Research shows that parent involvement is the number one factor in student success. The more parents are engaged in their child's education, the more their children will be engaged in the classroom. Teachers will benefit from the communication tips offered in this eBook.
Engaged Parents Engaged Students Theory and Practice
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 2 Contents 3Introduction Why is Parent Engagement So Crucial in Education? 7 Part One Teacher-Parent Communication Improves Student Engagement: Impact and Evidence 18 Part Two How to Create and Structure Effective Parent Involvement: Tips, Techniques, and Tested Programs 39 Best Practice Bonus Tips
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 3 Teaching. Were not in it for the income. Were in it for the outcome. Lets start off with a multiple-choice quiz. Which of these statements are true? A. Parents make the difference between a child who is a successful learner and one who never achieves his or her learning potential. B. Parents have more influence over how well a child learns than teachers. C. What parents do with their children accounts for up to 80% of that childs success in school. D. All of the above. Source: leading2learning.com Congratulate yourself if you picked d. Its a bit frightening to truly realize how much power and influence parents wield over our education system, our students, and our outcomes. If parents are such vital players in students academic achievement and engagement, does that mean teachers cant make a difference? Not at all. However, it does mean that teachers cant succeed alone, which brings us to our first point. Introduction
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 4 1 Teachers and parents must become strategic allies and participate in meaningful, two-way communication that supports student learning both inside and outside the classroom. Communication between teachers and parents is no longer an option; its a requirement. As the Goals 2000 Education American Act states, it [parent communication] is not an option for fed- erally funded schools, writes Lisa Lyons in An As- sessment of Classroom Communication with Ethni- cally Diverse Parents. Schools must reach out to parents and seek to promote partnership with them. Since it is a requirement, schools and teachers must figure out a way to best communicate with parents and families.
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 5 2 Effectively engaging parents and families in the education of their children has the potential to be far more transformational than any other type of education reform. Its no mystery that parent involvement is the key to student progress and academic success. Research over the past thirty years has proven beyond dis- pute the positive connection between parent in- volvement and student success, according to the National PTA. The majority of teachers concur with this research, as demonstrated in a report by the Center for Public Education: Two-thirds of teachers surveyed believe their students would perform better in school if their parents were more involved in their childs education, and 72% of parents say children of uninvolved parents sometimes fall through the cracks in schools.
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 6 Teacher-parent communication is the missing ingredient of successful student engagement. Without it, student achievement suffers. With it, we can transform education! Lets Get Started! Part One examines the impact and evidence of quality parent-teacher communi- cation and why it has more power to transform education than any other factor. Part Two provides tools and techniques explaining how to create and structure successful, effective parent involvement. Both sections will demonstrate that communication between home and school should be regular, two-way, and meaningful, and that parents play an integral role in assisting student learning (two of the National PTA standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs).
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 7 PART ONE Teacher-Parent Communication Improves Student Engagement: Impact and Evidence
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 8 According to the National Center for Education Statistics: Almost 50 million students headed off to approximately 99,000 public elementary and secondary schools last fall. Before this school year ends, almost $600 billion will be spent on the education of these students. The question is, how much of this education money is actually spent on teacher-parent communication, one of the most crucial components of all? As you already know, the NCLB act mandates parent involvement and even distributes money (i.e. Title I) to help schools implement and pay for outreach programs. Despite this resource, many teachers still struggle with implementing programs to strength- en parent communication, programs which will ultimately improve student engagement. The Facts
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 9 Its tough for teachers to take on any more tasks than they already have. Wearing so many different hats psychologist, nurse, guid- ance counselor, behavior special- ist, bathroom monitor creates tremendous stress and often hin- ders effective communication with anything thats not an emergency. Fortunately, implementing effective communication between parents and teachers not only solves a number of classroom issues but also helps prevent problems from happen- ing in the first place. In other words, educational transformation begins with effective parent-teacher communication. Finding the time to effectively communicate with your students parents is no longer an option; its a necessity to improve student behavior and engagement. A Tough Job
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 10 1 Parent Involvement: The Great Equalizer So what have we really learned from the past thirty years of research? Parent involvement is the great educational equalizer! Socio-economic status, ethnic/ra- cial background, parents education levelit doesnt matter. The bottom line is that when parents are involved, students achieve more. (National PTA) The most accurate predictor of a students achieve- ment in school is not income or social status, but the extent to which that students family is able to create a home environment that encourages learn- ing . . . and become involved in their childrens ed- ucation at school and in the community. National PTA
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 11 Students will: Have higher grades, test scores, and better attendance Complete homework more consistently Show more positive attitudes and behavior Have higher graduation rates and greater enrollment rates in post- secondary education. Reach levels of improvement and achievement (if they are disadvan- taged students) that are standard for middle-class children. Improve performance when teachers and parents bridge the gap be tween the school and the home (for culturally diverse students) Reduce delinquent student behaviors, such as alcohol use, violence, antisocial behaviors Source: National PTA Students will: Check out the following facts about what happens when parents are involved in their students education!
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 12 Double Proof The SEDL (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) report, A New Wave of Evidence, synthesizes research from 51 studies over the preceding decade to reach conclusions about the effect of parent involvement on stu- dent learning. SEDL found that students with involved parents, no matter their income or background, are more likely to: Earn higher grades and test scores and enroll in higher-level programs Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits Attend school regularly Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school Graduate and go on to post-secondary education
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 13 2 Regular, Consistent, Steady, Repeated The same report (Back to School) reveals that SEDL later did a meta-analysis on the school/ family connection, reviewing 58 studies con- ducted between 2003 and 2008. One of their conclusions was that regular in- teraction between parents and teachers helps students adjust more easily to school and classroom expectations, which can translate into higher achievement. Regular parent-teacher communication leads to better student behavior, engagement, and performance, which in turn leads to a better, happier classroom.
Engaged Students, Engaged Parents: Theory and Practice by Rebecca Whittenberger 14 It Gets Better But a happier classroom isnt the only benefit for teachers! Lyons mentions the follow- ing personal benefits, such as extra resources and greater job satisfaction, for teach- ers who proactively involve parents: Parents and students tend to have a more positive attitude toward school when communication