Goal: Engage Parents

Part of The 30 Goals Challenge 2011 and Cycle 7 of The 30 Goals Challenge: Make it Meaningful!

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” – Jane D. Hull

Goal– This week find ways to seek ideas from parents to implement. Suggest ideas for others. Find ways to continue the dialogue with parents and listen to them throughout the year.

Tips

  • Every school needs a social media plan and guidelines. Check out how other schools use social media to inform parents. Here are two examples:
  • Have a VLE or LMS where students and parents can check grades, homework, see student work, be notified of important notices, and find important information. Discover more about virtual learning environments and learning management systems here.
  • Your virtual learning environment (VLE) should be easy to navigate, user-friendly, able to be translated, make good use of visuals and multimedia, mobile-friendly, protect the information and privacy of users, and provide necessary support and materials (possibly tutorials). Check out my young learner wiki, English Storytime, for ideas.
  • Engage parents by posting polls, recognizing various student news and achievements, posting announcements, sharing a calendar of events, sharing ways parents can contribute or volunteer, and having a way for parents to submit ideas, concerns and suggestions.
  • Parents can contribute to your podcasts, newsletters, blog, or vodcasts.
  • Recommended parent communication tools and apps- Remind, GAFE, Cel.ly, Class Dojo, and Smore. There are other platforms, but these have stood the test of time and are recommended by various teachers worldwide.
  • Google Apps for Education (GAFE) have incredible features for communicating with all parents. Create a form to gain parent information. You can copy and edit a template I started here.
  • Create emails or letters with Google Docs and translate with Google Translate.
  • One Google Doc add-on I use frequently is FormMule. This allows teachers to take the emails from a Google Form or Spreadsheet and send up to 100 emails a day quickly. You create a template and FormMule individualizes each email for each parent. This saves me hours. Find out more here.
  • Host parent workshops. Some suggestions for your workshop. Host with a group of teachers. Have a welcome bag with goodies. Many of the tech tools you use will provide you with bags, stickers, pens, and more. Start off with icebreakers. Let parents play with the tools and apps you will use. Be considerate of the parents’ time by feeding them and providing daycare (like watching a movie in another room with a fellow teacher or playing in a makerspace). Record the event for parents who could not make it. Follow up with parents about any questions or concerns.
  • Get parents to sign your Acceptable Use/ Responsible Use Policy (AUP/RUP). Find examples here.

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parent-engagementNew to The 30 Goals Challenge? Each year, teachers worldwide aim to accomplish 1 to 30 goals that transform their teaching. Join the movement by accomplishing any goal from any of the cycles then letting us know through a blog reflection or status update on our Facebook community or on Twitter,  @30GoalsEdu . At our official site, 30Goals.com, find all the goals, participant reflections, badges, and get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Classroom workbook. ​

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

8 comments

  1. This is great, Shelly! For the past 12 years I have worked as a parent liaison with the Wisconsin Statewide Parent Educator Initiative. The last 10 I have been a coordinator for the project in a very rural area of northern Wisconsin. I facilitate communication between parents and teachers, work with teachers to improve parent engagement as well as do workshops on a variety of topics for both parent groups and school staff. In the years I have been doing this there has been a real change in how schools view parent engagement. Where in the past it had been more focused on activities we are now more aware of the quality of relationships. As Shelly mentioned sometimes when a family is in crisis it is uncomfortable and often confusing to know how to communicate with them. I think the most important thing we need to strive for is to be less judgmental. If we can view each other with compassion it can overcome many barriers and it is always better for students.

  2. Inviting parents to be a part of the learning experience is so valueable. It also creates a great united front for school and home connection. Those relationships are priceless!

  3. […] Long-term- Make it a habit to have continuous communication with parents. With social media and texting, communicating with parents has become easier and faster! Try using social media and technology to help you build a parent community. Facebook, Google Plus, and other social networks help you to do this in a quick, free way! This goal is similar to last year’s goal: Engage Parents. […]

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