Working With Parents
Research has repeatedly proven that schools with the most comprehensive parental involvement
programs achieve greater student success. Here are steps you can take to foster parental
involvement in your classroom.
Create a welcome climate.
- Set up a parents' desk close to the front entrance of the classroom where parents can sign
in and find name badges to wear.
- Send out letters welcoming parents to your classroom. Let them know how they can assist you
in the classroom and set down specific guidelines for doing so. For example, advise them not to
bring other children with them or discuss any personal business with the students.
- Regularly provide parents with samples of their children’s work. Inform parents of their
children’s school successes in addition to the areas in which improvement is needed.
- Be considerate of language and cultural barriers. Ask a Spanish-speaking teacher to help you translate messages you send home to Spanish-speaking
parents. Do the same for other languages.
- Before sending information home, verify it with a department chair so that everyone has
consistent information. Parents in communities talk, and when one parent receives information
that is different from what his neighbor received, you can expect a phone call. Save yourself
time and headaches by suggesting to your supervisor that channels be created to coordinate any
information that is leaving the building.
- Give parents ideas for ways they can help their children be successful. For example,
encourage them to set up a workspace at home and a consistent schedule for studying and
- Send monthly correspondence to parents. Include a calendar of goals,
the plans for each week and the topics to be studied. Provide parents with ideas for at-home
activities that will complement schoolwork.
- Have parents sign off on all homework assignments after they have discussed the assignment
with their child. This will let students who consistently fail to bring completed homework back
to school know that this practice is unacceptable.
- Make sure parents are familiar with the district’s discipline-management policy and campus rules.
When faced with a classroom discipline problem, promptly notify parents and work with them toward a
- Suggest that parents use established and consistent disciplinary procedures for children who
are exhibiting the same behaviors at home and school. This way, the child knows that no matter
where she chooses to behave inappropriately, there will be a procedure for correcting that
behavior. Consistent structure in the home/school partnership is the key to controlling
disruptive behaviors and sends a strong message to students who manipulate adults.
Command respect by showing respect.
- Take the time to understand a diverse culture or a religious belief that is different from
your own. This leads to a stronger connection—and respect—in any relationship. In education, it
leads to an expansion of knowledge and an expulsion of fear-driven prejudice.
- Highlight every student and his family sometime during the year via a bulletin board of
pictures and drawings.
- Organize parental-involvement activities in your classroom that match the experiences, interests
and skills of parents and the amount of time they have available.