By Jessica Vician
During Parent Engagement Month, it’s important to teach parents how to be more engaged in their children’s education and celebrate what they are doing now. There are many ways to do both in one event. Which celebration will your school try?
Host a celebratory parent meeting.
Incorporate treats or raffles at your next parent meeting to say thank you to the parents who attend. Parent meetings might already be a regular occurrence at your school, which is a great way to keep them engaged in their children’s education, so reward those who are coming and entice those who haven’t attended yet with appetizers, snacks, or desserts to make this meeting special. Ask local businesses to donate products or services that you can raffle off at the meeting for further enticement.
You can also host a parent workshop to teach parents how to be more engaged in their children’s lives and education. The YOU Program Parent Workshops teach parents how to support their children’s education from birth through college and career readiness while emphasizing physical, social, emotional, and academic development.
Entice parents to become parent leaders.
For those parents who regularly attend meetings or workshops, ask them to become parent leaders. Parent leaders can run parent meetings and serve as a liaison between the school and its parents.
As an incentive, offer donated products or services from local businesses, vouchers for groceries, or even a discount on their student’s textbooks or fees. Host a YOU Program Parent Leadership Training Workshop to prepare these parents to lead meetings and events as well as learn to integrate effective parent engagement techniques into these school meetings and with staff and parents.
Recognize parent volunteers.
At the next school board meeting, invite a parent who has volunteered a significant amount of time at the school to say thank you in front of the entire board. By publicly recognizing the parent’s efforts, you let him or her know that you notice and appreciate what he or she is doing and encourage that behavior.
We recommend that our clients present our certificates of completion to parents who attend the YOU Program Parent Workshops at the school board meeting so that these parents feel appreciated and proud of their accomplishment and the school board members know which parents have taken initiative and can help in the future.,
You can also recognize a parent regularly for their extraordinary work in the school newsletter. Start a parent of the month (or quarter, depending on your publication schedule) column where you recognize the parent with a brief interview and share what that parent does to go beyond regular duties.
Parents are the school’s partners in boosting academic achievement, attendance, and graduation rates. Teach them how to help your staff and teachers do their jobs through workshops and show them you care with recognition and small celebrations, not just during Parent Engagement Month, but year-round.