The compelling case for participation
In a society where parents lead complex lives, opportunities to participate in a variety of ways, including various times and places, is key to the improvement of participation. Parent and community participation in student learning and the school community should be acknowledged and valued. This involvement sends a clear signal to students about the value of education.
The ABCs of parent involvement
Parent leaders in California's ABC Unified Schools District explore how parental participation is enhanced by building parent leadership capacity (FLV, 4:48 mins). Click through to Youtube to learn more about parent involvement.
Planning and promoting widespread participation prepares schools to make parent and community engagement a standard business practice.
Marzano (2003, p. 48) suggests that having a critical mass of parents and community members actively involved in the day to day activities of the school adds to the school's base of expert knowledge, networks, financial support and physical resources. Furthermore, schools which have high levels of active participation have reported lower levels of absenteeism, truancy and drop-out.
Well scaled and widespread parent and community participation can contribute to school improvement in a number of ways, including:
- Sending clear signals to students about the value of education
- Ensuring school decisions are broadly representative of the school community
- Ensuring school activities and actions are respectful and representative of local cultures
- Building mutual commitment with families to take action in the home to support learning at school
- Enabling teachers and school leaders to access expertise and perspectives that support curriculum.
Guiding questions on school participation
- How do parents and community members participate in school activities? How can the school build participation in activities that are focused on student learning?
- How does the school community recognise and support volunteers? How can the work of volunteers be acknowledged as contributing to the teaching and learning in the school?
- How can schools plan for parent and community involvement to make widespread participation as easy as possible? How can scheduling and notification about school events and activities be organised to maximise parental involvement?
- How can communication about parental and community participation opportunities be designed to maximise engagement? How can the school mobilise influential community members and parents to engage other community members and parents?
- How can appropriate and effective communication channels be selected and used to reach parents and community members? What support do school staff members, parents and community need to use various modes of communication (including online and social media) appropriately and effectively?
- Does the school celebrate events that matter to parents and the community, such as significant cultural days?