The Houston School District has been touting the creation of five new “parent super centers” with computers.
I’ve previously posted about my reservations about these kinds of centers:
I generally don’t tend to be a big fan of these kinds of parent centers because they are often well-intentioned efforts to “do to” parents (involvement) instead of “doing with” (engagement). It can have a kind of “if you build it, they will come” perspective. Instead, I’d rather have resources devoted to supporting teachers and other school staff go out and visit with parents, listen to their needs and desires, and then have parents work together — with school support — to figure out what they want.
They might, or might not, want a parent center.
Of course, it’s easier to just build a room….
In that previous post, reader Melissa Whipple also left a thoughtful comment:
I agree with you Larry, Parent Centers are simply a room at a school site. They are not a magic bullet. A Parent Center is only one component of an effective family engagement strategy–not to be confused with being the entire answer. If only it were that simple. Deciding on have a parent center is similar to mandating student uniforms or painting a school building a new color–they are nice ideas–but in and by themselves they do not boost student success and development. They may improve school climate but that is not sufficient.
Parent Centers may also send an inadvertent message that the only important parent engagement takes place on the school site. Research indicates that the kind of family engagement most related to student success is what families are doing at home–which schools need to acknowledge, celebrate, incorporate, and expand upon.
Supporting student success requires building deliberate and ongoing relationships among the adults in children’s lives.
What do you think?