Pop quiz! Why did you become a special educator?
If you chose number 3 (which we know you did!), this blog will guide you through how you can boost parental/family involvement to continue to support positive learning outcomes in your classroom.
Did you know that active family involvement and academic success have a positive correlation? It’s true – research notes that parents/guardians play a key role in boosting student outcomes.
Here are some tips you can implement to enhance parental/family involvement:
As soon as you receive your class roster at the beginning of the school year, connect with families and identify yourself not only as their child’s teacher, but as the main point of contact for comments, questions, concerns. You’ll want to encourage an ‘open door policy’ so that parents/guardians are comfortable communicating with you. Afterall, the more familial input you have, the better you’ll be able to support your student.
When schedules align, host an open house and invite parents/guardians into your classroom. This is a great opportunity to include families and showcase all of the day-to-day activities in your classroom. In addition, an open house allows you to connect with families and build on the teacher/caregiver relationship to further support your student.
Conferences don’t have to be held at the beginning of the year. Give parents/guardians the opportunity to schedule conferences as needed to address progress and concerns. You can utilize these conferences as quick check ins to focus on expectations and new goals, while fostering family involvement.
In many cases, parents/families may not hear from teachers unless challenging behaviors are happening, or perhaps goals aren’t being met. Instead, be the voice of positivity for families and try sharing concise, but frequent, positive notes with parents/guardians on a consistent basis. You can do this in the form of email, or perhaps a daily/weekly newsletter home. Parents will be encouraged by positivity (and so will their kiddos!).
When appropriate, invite parents/guardians into your classroom to volunteer. This will help build your family/teacher connection. The more opportunities you have to demonstrate the positive impact you are having on a child, the better.
It never hurts to send out a parent/guardian survey. Surveys provide the ability for you to get to know parents/families (and your students!) better, while also allowing everyone to feel like their voice matters. You can then use some of the information in the survey to optimize current classroom procedures, or navigate student interaction in a more effective manner.
Teachers are often referred to as the experts in education, and parents/guardians as the experts on their children. When teachers and families can come together and work in a symbiotic fashion, your students will flourish.