KIDS DRAW THE DARNDEST THINGS (Photo credit: marc falardeau)
PTA’s, or parent-teacher associations, have been around since the late 1800’s, and members are just as passionate now as they were so many years ago. They’re often one of the most available resources for parents who want to get more involved in their school. This article by Anne Stafford provides a great commentary on Parental Engagement from a parent’s perspective; it also shows the ways in which PTA’s can help teachers and parents cooperate and communicate.
Here’s our summary of why PTA’s and schools are great when they work together:
- When like-minded parents meet together for the sole purpose of improving and helping their school, good things can happen. Parents can more easily communicate with schools, and vice versa.
- Parent volunteers are often the backbones of school-run fundraisers. It only makes sense that they should be able to have a voice in the ways in which school fundraisers are set up and run.
- Parents and teachers can accomplish great things when they work together. They can help improve curricula, raise money, develop school-wide programs to help the underprivileged- the list goes on and on!
- PTA’s provide an effective platform through which parents and schools can work together to endure the best possible education and school environment for students.
Have anything to add about Parental Engagement in PTAs? Tell us in the comments!
Dice five (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
We often talk about Parental Engagement on this blog: about how to increase it, why it’s important, and what it means for our children. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the discussions and the terms without really paying attention to what they mean.
It’s important for teachers and administrators to remember that Parental Engagement isn’t just an idea or a phrase, but a process that involves two people, both of whom want the best for their children or students. A lot of the time, parents and teachers can find themselves at odds with each other due to a lack of communication, different goals and ideas, and much more. Though it can be difficult, the results we see when both parties are passionate and understanding of each other really does serve as a reminder that “Parental Engagement” is so much more than a phrase: it is a partnership.
Facebook (Photo credit: stoneysteiner)
We’ve already touched upon the idea of schools using social media to communicate in some of our other posts. Recently, however, we heard that some schools and school districts have been using Facebook and/or Twitter to communicate with parents and teachers, and our curiosity got the better of us.
Should more schools follow the example set by the Birmingham Public School District and begin using social media more extensively?
- The district began using more online media to improve communication with parents- and it seems to be working. Parents who follow a school, teacher, or school district in Twitter could be able to get an “inside” look at the classroom that they don’t usually get to experience.
- Parents can easily access the information they need through user-friendly social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
- Using social media can help establish bonds betweeen teachers and parents, as well as allow parents to more conveniently communicate with each other.
However, there are also quite a few reasons for schools not to get involved with social media:
- Using so many different platforms to distribute information could become very confusing and/or troublesome. If you want to find important news about your school, where should you check first?
- There’s no real way for parents to guarantee that the information on Twitter or Facebook is relevant to them- and they might get tired of schools “spamming” their pages with updates that they aren’t very interested in.
- Using social media can certainly use up a lot of time for school officials (and even money), without noticeable benefits. Is it really worth all the trouble?
- It’s always possible that schools might face security issues.
As the results are mixed, it’s too early to make any judgements on the success of such a program- but we’d love to hear your thoughts! Would you follow your child’s school on Twitter? “Like” it on Facebook? Why or why not?
English: Northwestern High School students, staff, and parents partaking in the Fiesta Latino in the Food Court, an annual fundraising event sponsored by the schools’ choir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A recent edweek article focused on a growing trend in public schools: Parents being pushed to help schools cover their costs. Many public school districts are seeing an uptick in the number and amount of private donations from parents. Though the extra funds certainly help schools, many see the trend as more of a problem than a solution.
- Not all parents can afford to donate to schools. Since different areas vary in socio-economic status, this can lead to inequity between districts and even between different schools. Not only does this affect district and state-wide decisions in terms of funding, but it gives certain schools in certain areas even more of an edge over other schools. Though they can’t help it, many parents can find that they’re making education for some students better than for others.
- Parents are doing a job they shouldn’t have to do. Many parents end up facing a Morton’s fork: they can either donate money to their school, or they can refuse to donate and instead let their school, as well as their child’s education, suffer. As was pointed out in the article, many districts see parent donations as an income source that they can fall back on.
- Parental Engagement isn’t all about money. A growing number of parents, especially those in lower-income areas, are beginning to find that the ideas are changing about what constitutes Parental Engagement- and not for the better. Instead of focusing on increasing parental involvement in school activities, schools are getting parents involved through donations. While it is important for schools to raise funds, this might cause parents to think that donations are the only way to “get involved with a school”. Furthermore, schools are ignoring the most important benefit of parental engagement in school activities: student success. That’s something that money can’t quite buy.