This Week’s #PTchat – Recognizing Students for In & Out of School Accomplishments During the School Year

Guest post by Joe Mazza

Back in June, we spent an hour on #PTchat talking about whether Awards Assemblies were best for all kids. We agreed it was good to recognize students for all they do, but one takeaway highlighted how difficult it is for some students to be a part of the audience when year after year, their names are NOT the ones called, even if they made great strides during the school year.

Building natural recognitions for students “into the bricks” of the school is one of the goals many of us have for a healthy school culture. If we naturally recognize our students for what they do each day, whether for an in school or out of school happening, we can boost self-esteem and continue developing deep relationships with students. When our students feel valued and appreciated by their teachers, parents and peers, they are more likely to be happy and comfortable within their learning community.

This week on #PTchat, we’re asking you to bring your best ideas on how you recognize students throughout the course of the school year. Do you have something weekly on the announcements? Do you hand out character counts tickets? Post names and accomplishments in your school newsletter? Let’s develop a list of ideas to bring back to our schools. This is a great chat to have your own children sit in on to help answer the questions because in the end, we want to recognize students with their voice in mind.

Join us this Wednesday, 11/28 at 9PM EDT / 6PM PST for #PTchat.

New to Twitterchats?

After logging on to Twitter, visit Tweetchat and simply enter “ptchat” in the box at the top. Follow along, just watch and/or participate as you as much as you like to join others around the world in this weekly chat. We look forward to engaging your unique and important parent/teacher/student perspective.

Community Schools and Parent Engagement

I’ve posted often both about my support of community schools and about my concern that they generally don’t encourage parent engagement (see Parent Leadership Is Often “Missing Link” In Community Schools).

Here’s an excerpt from a new study that found the same problem:

This study investigated the effectiveness of a community school’s strategy in influencing the motivators of parental involvement. Through a mixed-method, case-study investigation of a long-established community school in New York City, the study found inconclusive evidence that community school operations positively influenced the motivations of parents to involve themselves in their child’s education. In particular, the site found a low level of parent participation, lack of efficacious mastery experiences and incidents of social persuasion, lack of a sense of collective leadership among parents and staff, and a low level of relational trust between parents and the school organization. Nevertheless, enough positive evidence was collected to suggest that community school operations remain promising strategies capable of positively influencing parents to become more involved in their children’s education. The lack of significant increases in parent motivation may be due to the lack of fidelity to which the site implemented its own community school model, the difficulties of sustaining reform over several decades in an impoverished urban setting, and the priorities of the New York City Department of Education.

My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2012 (Part Two)

It’s that time of year again, so here’s a listing of what I believe to be my best posts during the second half of the year on building parent engagement in schools.

You can see Part One here.

You might also be interested in a listing of all my parent engagement-related “The Best…” lists.

Here are my choices for My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2012 (Part Two):

New Haven Seems To Do “Parent University” Right….

Is Spending $20 Million On Parent Centers In L.A. The Best Way To Increase Parent Engagement?

“That’s what happens when I start swimming. I start coming up with ideas” Says Chicago Mayor

Video On Our School’s Teacher Visiting Program & Parent University

California PTA Sets Back Parent Engagement Efforts In State

Ed Week Post On “Parent Organizing” By Reform Groups Demonstrates Fatal Flaw In Strategy

“Having gone to school doesn’t mean we all can run a school”

National PTA Changes Stance On Charter Schools, & It’s A Disappointing One…

The Best Posts & Articles On Parent Trigger Movie “Won’t Back Down”

“The Power of the Positive Phone Call Home”

Louisiana District To Try Shame As Their Parent Engagement Policy

“What Parents and Educators Want from Assessments”

“The Power of Family-School-Community Partnerships”

Excerpts From My Book On Parent Engagement

Teachers To Visit Homes Of 7,000 Students — In One Day!



Good Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers

Heidi Hass Gable has written a useful blog post containing advice to teachers about parent engagement. Here are two of her recommendations:

4) Listen to parents and listen to what they DON’T say. They may not articulate their concerns very well because fears and insecurities cloud their words/thinking. But whenever a parent is sharing something with you, look for the underlying concern or question. Look for the unspoken. Read between the lines. But don’t assume – revert to asking questions again, if needed!

5) Be curious and open to new ways of thinking. Parents have a different experience and different point of view from the other teachers you spend most of your time with. They will see things differently, and that may be beneficial! Even when you think they “don’t understand” so would have nothing to add…

I’m adding her post to The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Publishes Series On Parent Involvement

The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper has just completed a series of articles on parent involvement in schools. It’s okay, but pretty much an “on the surface” review of what some groups and schools are doing. It’s nowhere near as in-depth as an incredibly impressive series The Milwaukee Journal did on the same topic there.

One key difference between the two series — The Plain Dealer ended it with a good editorial, while The Journal finished with a pretty terrible one.

“Engaging Parents: Effective Practices From Chicago Principals”

An article in the Chicago Tribune today discusses a new booklet published by the Chicago Public Schools, “Engaging Parents: Effective Practices From Chicago Principals.”

I don’t think most readers of this blog will find anything new in it, and I don’t think it will be particularly useful outside of Chicago. But it does highlight what is likely to be a somewhat effective strategy — highlighting what other schools in your local community are doing is probably going to have more of an impact on your principal than talking about what some school is doing a thousand miles away….

This Week’s #PTchat On Twitter

Guest Post by Joe Mazza

Image credit: Great read! “Beyond the Bakesale”

Join us on this week’s #PTchat as we take a look at the research on creating and building a home-school partnership, while sharing examples what this looks like in today’s schools.

According to Henderson & Mapp (2006), four core beliefs must be firmly in place to have a true home-school partnership:

Core Belief 1: All Parents Have Dreams for Their Children and Want the Best for Them

Core Belief 2: All Parents Have the Capacity to Support Their Children’s Learning

Core Belief 3: Parents and School Staff Should Be Equal Partners

Core Belief 3: Parents and School Staff Should Be Equal Partners

This Wednesday at 9PM EDT / 6PM PST, on Twitter, we will create a shared gDOC for parents, teachers & leaders to help us turn the Core Beliefs into actions within the school. We’ll discuss what takes to get to the point of “partnership.” A great pre-read to this #PTchat comes from Parent Involvement Matters entitled “How Do You Know If You’re Open To Partnership?”

New to Twitterchats?
After logging on to Twitter, visit Tweetchat and simply enter “ptchat” in the box at the top. Follow along, just watch and/or participate as you as much as you like to join others around the world in this weekly chat. We look forward to engaging your unique and important parent and/or educator perspective.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Family Literacy But Were Afraid To Ask…

The National Center For Family Literacy has announced the release of a treasure trove of research on family literacy.

Here’s their announcement:

We are pleased to announce the online publication of the 21st National Conference on Family Literacy Research Strand Conference Proceedings.This document is a collection of research papers from featured sessions presented at the NCFL conference in San Diego in March of this year.

This is the first time a published compendium of the presentations is available. This is possible in partnership with Goodling Institute at Penn State University.

Now more than ever, we must highlight and make accessible research on family literacy. These proceedings are another step in bringing family literacy, as a research-supported issue, to the forefront of policy, academic, and practice-based conversations.

In this publication, you will have the opportunity to explore many facets of the family literacy field as researchers address a range of pertinent topics. These proceedings papers were chosen because they are relevant and informative to teachers, administrators, and scholars.

We were encouraged by the success and feedback we received on the research strand presentations at the conference in March and hope that these proceedings will remind each of us of the work that is being done and continues to be done in the name of family literacy.

The compendium can be accessed on the Goodling Institute website by clicking here.

This Week’s #PTchat On Twitter

Guest post by Gwen Pescatore

This week’s Parent-Teacher Chat (#ptchat) on Twitter – Creating a Positive Learning Environment at Home & at School

Maxine Shaw, Head of Hazelwood School in Surrey, England said in an article for the autumn issue of Attain Magazine, “The very best schools will set children on a journey.” She continues on to say, “…each child sees themselves as an octopus, in a string bag, on a zip wire. As the child travels along the zip wire they will be able to swing away from the central line, grabbing every opportunity that is offered to them.”

Learning is not limited to school. Children are in school for only a fraction of the day, meaning, in the best of situations, this statement carries over to the home. There is no secret formula to how children learn best, but do some techniques and situations set kids up to maximize the learning experience and leave them wanting to know more? How do parents and educators together create a positive learning environment and encourage kids to be lifelong learners?

Questions we’ll discuss this Wed., 11/14/12 at 9PM EDT/6 PM PST

• How do we balance allowing children the freedom to “swing away” while also protecting them from potential harm? Do we stifle their learning in the process of protecting them?
• What inspires students to learn about a subject they don’t consider their “favorite”?
• How can technology and social media play a role?
• What can we learn from the students who are creating companies that solve some of the world’s largest problems or being a regular contributor to the local newspaper?
• Does there need to be structure to maximize learning?
• Does a positive learning environment have to mean “fun”?
• Does socio-economic status play a role? If so, what are ways to overcome them?
• Does class/school size make a difference?

New to Twitterchats?
After logging on to Twitter, visit Tweetchat and simply enter “ptchat” in the box at the top. Follow along, just watch and/or participate as you as much as you like to join others around the world in this weekly chat. We look forward to engaging your unique and important parent and/or educator perspective.

“Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferencing”

Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferencing is a good post by Elena Aguilar over at Edutopia.

Here’s how she ends it:

Don’t underestimate the power of the positive, and lead with it. Be specific in the positive data you share — tell an anecdote or show a piece of work. Make sure you truly feel this positivity — we can all sniff out empty praise. There is always, always something positive and praise-worthy about every single child. It’s your job to find it and share that data with parents.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences.