For the past three years running Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper has declared the month of October Family and School Partnership in Education Month. The goal is to support educators and families in working together for every student’s success. Early childhood, especially Head Start, typically does a great job of partnering with families. Unfortunately, once those families leave, they are often shocked at the unwelcome introduction to public schools.
I’ve heard nightmare stories about parents not even being allowed to bring their child to the front door of the classroom. Parents who were fully engaged in their child’s ECE centers decide that their voice isn’t important anymore. Worse yet, I’ve heard helpless parents stop assisting their child complete homework, or understand a classroom topic. These stories seem to increase with lack of English skills and/or the more unique the culture.
Often teachers lack training to understand the importance of parent involvement and they lack the skills needed to engage parents. Our educational programs need to do a better job of preparing teachers to have parents fully involved in their student education.
Wonderful things can stem from parent involvement: added resources to add to current classroom studies, increased support to ensure student success and improved student engagement. I’ve written previously about all the amazing things I’ve seen teachers do over the years. Parent involvement adds an enriching depth to the learning that the teacher alone just can’t accomplish.
I encourage each one of you to step up to the plate and see what your parents can do. How can you best utilize the skills that your families bring with them into the classroom? How do you tap into that depth of knowledge that can increase student engagement? When families and schools partner together, students can’t fail.