Experts agree that parent involvement in education is one of the biggest predictors of student success. So where can parents begin? We've compiled a list of articles, videos, and other resources to help you engage productively with your kids' teachers and school.
Why Parent Involvement Is Essential
- Old School or New School, Keep Parents Involved, by Lisa Mims (2013)
Blogger and teacher Lisa Mims encourages us, whether by old school or new school strategies, to keep parents involved with their children's academic lives.
- Parent Involvement in Early Literacy, by Erika Burton (2013)
Blogger Erika Burton explains how parents can create the stepping stones toward literacy for their pre-K children.
- The Importance of Community Involvement in Schools, by Anne O'Brien (2013)
In this post, blogger Anne O'Brien explains why family and community involvement in schools are essential for success.
- Bully Prevention: Why We Must Invest in Home-School Partnerships, by Joe Mazza (2012)
Blogger Joe Mazza talks about heightened awareness and early intervention to avert the always negative and sometimes tragic consequences of bullying.
- On Developing Partnerships Between Parents and Teachers, by Elena Aguilar (2011)
Parent and teacher Elena Aguilar explains why teacher-parent relationships are critical to student success.
- For Kids' Sake, Let's Connect Parents and Schools, by Suzie Boss (2010)
Edutopia contributor Suzie Boss introduces the Home-to-School Connections Guide, which provides relevant and valuable tools for strengthening the bonds between schools and families.
Opening the Lines of Communication
- 19 Proven Tips for Getting Parents Involved at School, by Edutopia and GreatSchools (2014)
With tips from parents and educators in the Edutopia and GreatSchools online communities, this guide offers 19 proven strategies for engaging parents with educators and schools, including ways to improve communication. Share your thoughts in the community discussion.
- Five Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences, by Matt Davis (2013)
A curated list of resources to improve parent-teacher conferences, including ideas for highlighting student progress as well as questions every parent should ask. Also check out this Transition Resources blog, which provides tips, tools, and strategies for helping students transition between grade levels.
- 12 Conversation Starters on What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know, by Joe Mazza (2013)
Principal and blogger Joe Mazza looks through the lens of his school's parents and suggests 12 conversations that all teachers should be having with their students' parents.
- Parents: 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child's Teacher, by Terry Heick (2013)
Forget about all the vague, superficial information out there; Edutopia blogger Terry Heick cuts to the chase with 19 meaningful questions parents can ask at the beginning of the school year.
- Connecting School and Home: 360-Degree Communication, by Matt Levinson (2012)
School administrator and author Matt Levinson provides a startup kit for the parents of future middle school students and digital citizens.
- Parents and Teachers: The Possibility of a Dream Team, by Dr. Richard Curwin (2012)
Blogger Richard Curwin looks at improving the sometimes dysfunctional dynamic between teachers and parents by having them respect each other's efforts and put the student first.
How Families Can Take Action
- A Parent's Resource Guide to Social and Emotional Learning, by Ashley Cronin, Edutopia Staff (2014)
In this curated list, find blogs, articles, and videos for parents about fostering kindness, empathy, resilience, perseverance, and focus in children.
- A Guide to Hosting Your Own ParentCamp, by Joe Mazza (2013)
Dr. Joe Mazza, principal and blogger, takes unconferences and edcamps to the next logical step as he provides a detailed guide to hosting your own ParentCamp.
- Create a Good Environment for Studying at Home, by Art Markman (2012)
Psychology professor Art Markman explains how improving a child's home study habits now can make them better learners for life.
- Media and Digital Literacy: Resources for Parents, by Common Sense Media (2012)
Young people are immersed in technology in ways previous generations could not have even imagined. Here's a list of resources for parents seeking advice and information about how to help their children explore smart and stay safe.
- Understanding Assessment: Resources for Parents, by Roberta Furger and Ashley Cronin (2014)
We've compiled a list of resources to help parents understand high-stakes testing, different forms of assessment, and school achievement data.
Learning More About Educational Topics
- What Do Parents Need to Know About the Common Core? by Anne O'Brien (2014)
Edutopia's Anne O'Brien provides parents with a variety of resources to familiarize themselves with the Common Core.
- Dealing with Digital Behavior Issues: A Parent Guide, by Edward Chen (2013)
Edward Chen, Director of Technology at The Nueva School, presents a framework to help parents deal with their children's digital behavior issues.
- A Parent's Guide to 21st-Century Learning, by Suzie Boss (2012)
What should collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking look like in a modern classroom? How can parents help educators accomplish their goals? Find out in this guide.
- Think Before You Click: Internet Safety Tips for Parents, by Matt Levinson (2012)
Blogger Matt Levinson guides parents through educating their children about the online world, where clicks have consequences.
- Project-Based Learning: A Parent Primer, by Kathy Baron (2010)
Learn the benefits of project-based learning and how you can help make it successful at your children's school.
Ideas for Preventing Summer Slide
- Parents: Inspiring Readers Through the Summer Slump, by Judy Willis (2014)
Parents can engage their children with summer reading, and in this post, Judy Willis suggests six ways including variety, no pressure, and modeling a love for reading help.
- Encouraging Science at Home is Easier Than You Think, by Bob Pflugfelder (2014)
Guest blogger 'Science Bob' Pflugfelder highlights how parents can encourage their children's natural curiosity through activities like dismantling old computers, touring their home's utilities, and borrowing small wildlife creatures for temporary observation.
- Stopping the Summer Slide in English Language Arts, by Terry Heick (2014)
Edutopia blogger Terry Heick suggests eight ways for teachers to prevent summer learning loss in the English language arts, including library dates, digital book clubs, and student blogs about topics that matter to them.
- Seven Ways to Prevent Summer Learning Loss, by Barbara Dianis (2013)
Learning specialist Barbara Dianis offers seven suggestions for academic engagement that can help parents to prevent their children's summer learning loss.
- How Parents Can Keep Their Children Learning All Summer Long, by Jennifer Peck (2013)
Jennifer Peck, Co-Chair and Executive Director of California's Summer Matters Campaign, suggests finding a balance between the right program and an education-positive attitude at home to prevent summer learning loss.
How Schools Can Build Strong Family Partnerships
- Home-to-School Connections: Resource Roundup, by Matt Davis (2014)
This Edutopia collection provides tips for educators to help improve the connection from home to school and expand parent involvement.
- 8 Tips for Reaching Out to Parents, by David Cutler (2014)
Edutopia blogger David Cutler offers eight tips for engaging with parents, from avoiding confrontation and communicating clearly, to earning their trust on back-to-school night and coaching their children's after-school activities.
- 5 Tips for Engaging Parent Volunteers in the Classroom, by Karen Bantuveris (2013)
Karen Bantuveris, founder and CEO of VolunteerSpot, presents the top hurdles and success strategies for engaging parent volunteers in the classroom.
- Rethinking Difficult Parents, by Allen Mendler (2013)
Educational consultant and author Allen Mendler looks at the ways that difficult parents can become teachers' allies rather than their adversaries.
- Five-Minute Film Festival: Parent-Teacher Partnerships, by Amy Erin Borovoy (2013)
Strong relationships between families and teachers are critical for successful students, but where do you begin to build them? VideoAmy offers up resources and a playlist of videos about parent engagement.
- The Power of the Positive Phone Call Home, by Elena Aguilar (2012)
Blogger Elena Aguilar proposes that teachers make positive phone calls home common practice.
- Cultivating Parent Engagement
A focus on family involvement is one reason for student success in the rigorous college-prep environment at YES Prep North Central in Houston, Texas.