5 Pain-Free Ways Teachers Can Get More Parents Involved this School Year
#1: Kick off the year with clear expectations
Starting at Back-to-school night, let parents know their participation is welcome, expected and appreciated throughout the year. Give suggestions for how parents can inspire and reinforce learning at home with homework tips, age-appropriate educational
apps, and family discussion topics. Clearly ask for the help you want in the classroom and share classroom goals - think of the one-time and recurring volunteer jobs parents could fill - from stuffing folders to field trips, from mystery readers to math station helpers. Find out what skills, hobbies and international traditions your parents can share with the class – is anyone a gardener, musician, scientist, artist, folk dancer, app developer?
#2: Have your online signups ready
Skip the illegible clipboard sign up sheets and frustrating reply-all email chains and setup online signup calendars on VolunteerSpot. In lower grades, invite parents to
choose their day to read to the class, attend their parent teacher conference, and organize helpers for parties, performances, and field day. In upper grades, invite parents sign up to be trip chaperons and exam proctors, to staff concession stands and bring food to club potlucks, to participate in career day and Project Graduation. Free and easy, more parents participate because VolunteerSpot makes it simple for parents to sign up from smartphones and computers, without needing to register an account or keep a password. Teachers and parents appreciate automated reminders that help keep everyone on track. Try it now.
#3: Seek input on assignments
Create a Tackk listing class assignments so parents and students are always know what’s due when and can access resources links and videos. Plan interactive projects that engage class parents in what their students are learning, - e.g. have students Tackk a family history and ask parents to add details and pictures, or post student videos with tips for ‘going green’ and invite parents to comment. Share a link to class Tackks with parents via email, on the class blog or in social media and ask for input in the comment Stream.
#4: Let them help from anywhere.
Giving parents alternative ways to contribute, especially when they don’t have time to make it into the classroom, helps them feel involved and engaged in their child’s learning. Projects like prepping art supplies and activity kits can be done from home with kids after dinner. Picking up a snack up for a class celebration, Skyping-in to read for story-time, updating the class blog, or managing the class volunteer schedule remotely with VolunteerSpot can be accomplished around busy work or child care schedules.
#5: Engage family networks to fund a better class experience:
What would make your class year extra special? New technology for the classroom, cozy chairs for a reading station, art supplies or science kits? Use the crowd-funding platform for teachers, DonorsChoose, to set up a project for your classroom and ask parents to help get it funded. Not only can parents contribute themselves, they can share your project link with friends and family on social media platforms like Facebook and Twiter. Bonus tip: Keep a progress indicator on the class blog or website to keep parents apprised of how the funding is going!