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Family Involvement: The Must Do Task

Family Involvement: The Must Do Task

Between staffing, challenges related to school health and safety, student mental and emotional health, curriculum, and policy, there are so many hot-button topics weighing on the minds of educators and administrators right now. However, one of the commonalities among all of these topics – parents/caregivers and their involvement in their child’s educational experience.

If parent involvement is not at the top of your to-do list, it should at least be in the big three.

For many education professionals, we have seen more passion from parents than ever before in the last year. Many of us may feel that this newly found passion is misguided or misplaced. However, part of our role is to support our parents and caregivers by helping to guide and inform their passion so that we work as partners and not as adversaries.

Easier said than done, especially at the secondary level - right? Well, yes. This is an uphill battle for some of us. However, the rewards are tremendous. By including and informing our parents and caregivers in decisions at the school level, we can not only gain parent support but their trust.

If you are at a charter school like I am, this support can do even more for your school in the form of referrals and additional enrollments. By developing trust between you and your parents, you bring the parents into the fold. They are no longer outsiders guessing about what is going on in the school. They become participants in the process – partners. It’s hard for a parent to be an advisory when they are a part of the process.

So how do you start?

I have made it a mission for me to involve my families and parents in any and all ways possible. I have started with making sure I list our School Board meetings on our website and all social media formats, including TikTok! I have added open office hours into my schedule so that parents can drop in. I run these monthly so that they have a direct line to me. I make this available online for parents who may not be able to come during school hours. Anything goes! But the first step is to take a step.

As educational leaders, we have to take that first step to connect and include our parents in what we do day to day. It may seem like just another task, and in a way it is. However, this task can lead to relationship building that can help you grow connections and support. I began this focus during our COVID stay-at-home time. There were days no one logged in to talk, and other days where a parent or student would log in to simply touch base, ask a question or voice a concern. It was the knowing that someone was there for them that became so important to building my relationship with our parents and providing much needed support. Keeping this connection going has been my goal.

Think of this as brushing your teeth. If you want an amazing smile, you have to do it! That smile is worth it!

Parent involvement - just another thing to do? Yes! But so worth it!

Looking for a few more tips? Check out this blog post for a teacher’s take on how parents can help educators support students throughout the school year!

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CJ.Berry@edmentum.com's picture
CJ Berry

Cassandra CJ Berry is the Principal of East Lake High School in Colorado Springs, after being a teacher, mentor, Director of Curriculum and Assistant Principal. She has taught in Early Childhood classrooms through to the halls of higher education. She holds several masters’ degrees earned while living abroad with her military husband and beautiful children.