Tools of Engagement: A Parent’s Perspective Jeannine St. Amand parent, connected learner
Tools of Engagement – about me – types of involvement / engagement – some tips and tools – sharing your tips and tools – parent learning – your learning – final thoughts
Caveats• The ideas that follow will not work for all parents, there will be those without access to technology and they must be reached in other ways.• The work of parent and family engagement goes well beyond what is explored here, we will focus only where technology may offer additional access, success or progress.• As an advocate for student voice, I encourage you to use students to the extent possible to develop and deliver the ideas that follow.
"In todays fast-paced, information-based world, in which we seem to have everless free time, it is important to develop innovative, practical, and productive waysto help parents find the time to connect with their children and communities tostrengthen the bonds with their schools. Technology can be this kind of tool, bysupplementing traditional learning, providing creative methods of teaching, andbuilding and enhancing links between businesses, families, and schools. “ —Richard W. Riley U.S. Secretary of Education 1998http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/TechStrength/intro.html
Parent InvolvementEpstein, et. al. 2002.School, Family, and CommunityPartnerships: Your Handbook forAction, Second Edition. ThousandOaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
Parent Engagement• Parent involvement focuses on the school setting the agenda and determining the roles parents will play.• Parent engagement allows us to explore parents’ hopes and dreams for their children and work together to realize those ends.• Moving from involvement to engagement requires us to see parents as an integral and essential part of the process. Parents must be able to use their knowledge, skills and talents.
The way Larry Ferlazzo distinguishes between parent involvement and parentengagement:Energy source:“When we’re involving parents, ideas and energy tends to come from theschools and from government mandates. We tend to sell ideas.“ “When we’re engaging parents, ideas tend to be elicited from parents by school staff in the context of developing trusting relationships. More parent energy drives the efforts because they emerge from parent/community needs and priorities.”Purpose:“When we’re involving parents, schools tend to focus on supporting studentsby strengthening and assisting school programs and priorities.” “When we’re engaging parents, schools support students by developing parent relationships and often working with parents to improve their local communities.”http://www.learningfirst.org/LarryFerlazzoParentEngagement
• So to be engaging parents we need have them as part of the conversation.• You are actively allowing them to see the learning that goes on in school, AND you are encouraging them to reflect, respond, and reinforce it at home.• Engagement is interactive and relational. Learning is open, transparent and visible.• The tools of technology make this move from involvement to engagement easier – they allow us to connect, collaborate, and create together.
ParentingAssist families with parenting skills and setting home conditionsto support children as students. Also assist school to betterunderstand families.Tips:- express your expectations, learn about our expectations- encourage conversations with our children- use plain language, don’t overwhelm, vary the channels
CommunicatingConduct effective communications from school-to-home andfrom home-to-school about school programs and studentprogress.Tips: -variety-use plain language -use images-don’t overwhelm -ask questions-be consistent -just like kids, we lose paper-be invitational -respect confidentiality-be positive
CommunicatingTools:school – email, website, video: info on programsclass – email, online reporting: info on progressonline surveysonline portfoliosRSS
CommunicatingTools:school – email, website, video: info on programsclass – email, online reporting: info on progressblogs social mediatexting online surveysonline portfolios RSS
Achievement ReportingWe want more frequent, more complete info:i.e. email based (markbook) or online marking (edline) info- be consistent - school-wide - frequency- but personalize- find ways to get at 21C competencies- find ways to broaden assessment language- consider online portfolios
VolunteeringOrganize volunteers and audiences to support the school andstudents. Provide volunteer opportunities in various locationsand at various times.Tips:- think outside the box- reinforce message of all shapes/sizes- think about competencies not just subjects
Learning at HomeInvolve families with their children on homework and othercurriculum-related activities and decisions.Tips:- how can family help- expectations (both ways)- curriculum outlines- interactive (joint) learning- outside of school learning- learn about student/family life
Learning at HomeTools: province, district, school, classwebsite, blog, wiki, video, podcast, email A Parents Guide to 21st Century Learning
What Matters Most1. High Expectations2. Talking About School3. Attitudes and Work Habits4. Reading TogetherAddress each of these in every area of involvement/engagement
Decision MakingInclude families as participants in school decisions, and developparent leaders and representatives.Tips:- find ways to allow participation without physical presence- choice and voice are important for parents too
Decision MakingTools:District, schoolwebsite, webconference, blog, wiki, video, podcast, voip
Collaborating with CommunityCoordinate resources and services from the community forfamilies, students, and the school, and provide services to thecommunity.Tips:- invitations- remote visits- parent initiated events/activities- help define the role of the Community Engagement Coordinator positions
Collaborating with Community .Tools:District, school, classwebsite, email, blog, wiki, video, podcast, social media, voip
Tips and Tools to Share?ParentingCommunicatingVolunteeringLearning at HomeDecision MakingCollaborating with the Community
Parent learning…As we move to a connected learning model we need to bringparents along too. Providing technology focused learningopportunities for parents is helpful. Involving students in theteaching of tech tools if very powerful.
To be successful at parent engagement:• build trusting, collaborative relationships,• recognize, respect and address family needs and differences,• embrace the philosophy of partnership with shared power and shared responsibility,• make it systemic, integrated and sustained.
Your learning…There are many people willing to share their knowledge andexperience.A few who specialize in parent engagement…
Cautions• This is just as new for parents as it is for teachers.• Do not be discouraged if you don’t get feedback right away.• Build slowly• Involve the students• It is not your job alone. Expect more from the Minister, the Department, the District, the DEC, school administration. Speak up about what needs to happen.
Why do I believe parent engagement isimportant?• The “system” of education we have is becoming increasingly irrelevant, especially at the high school level. (see Disrupting Class)• Unless we strengthen the “public” in our system we may be replaced.• We need to create real communities and nurture real relationships.• That is the distinct advantage that our schools have over online systems.• Connections and relationships are what we need to focus on.
twitter: @jeanninestamand blog: www.jeanninestamand.com Delicious: www.delicious.com/toolsofengagement Linkedin: Jeannine St. Amand firstname.lastname@example.orgPresentation slides available at slideshare: