“How To Stay In Touch With Your Child’s Teacher (Without Overdoing It)”

How To Stay In Touch With Your Child’s Teacher (Without Overdoing It) is a fairly lengthy article that just appeared in The Hartfort Courant.

For a long article in a major newspaper, though, I have to say it is surprisingly short of substance. Nevertheless, it’s probably worth a quick look by those particularly interested in parent involvement issues.

Print Friendly

“Community Engagement: The Secret Ingredient”

Community Engagement: The Secret Ingredient is a good commentary from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform that provides a good critique of much that is done in the name of “community-based” place-based-initiatives in education.

Simply put, they tend to be foundation and professional-driven instead of led by community residents — including parents.

It’s a critique that I’ve often made of community schools, as well as other funder-initiated efforts.

I’m adding this post both to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools and to The Best Examples Of Parent Engagement Through Community Organizing.

You might also be interested in Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place).

Print Friendly

Three New Resources On Parent-Teacher Conferences

I’m adding these new resources to The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences:

Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences is from MindShift.

Supporting Ongoing, Constructive, and Meaningful Conversations About Student’s Progress is from The Harvard Family Research Project.

Parent Night: Declaring Students’ Independence is from Middleweb (not exactly on conferences, but close enough).

Print Friendly

Georgia School Board Member Won’t Let A Bad Idea Die: No Grad Tickets For Parents If They Don’t Come To Open House

Earlier in the year, I posted a news report about a Georgia School Board member who wanted to ban parents from their children’s high school graduation.

It appears he has now refined his idea a bit further:

“I think a parent should earn the right to attend a graduation,” he said. “How do you earn that right? Come to the open house. Come to curriculum night. And any other third thing that we deem important. You do these three things, you get graduation tickets.”

His idea is already on The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas list….

Print Friendly

NYC School Threatens Parents With A Call To Child-Welfare Agency If They Pick-Up Their Kids Late

Charter school parents warned that late pick-ups could mean child-welfare report is the headline of an article in Chalkbeat: New York.

Here’s how the article begins:

A charter elementary school on the Lower East Side is telling families they will be reported to the city’s child-welfare agency if they make a habit of not picking up their child on time.

And this story is the newest additions to The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas.

Print Friendly

Parent Trigger Ready To Bring Chaos To Ohio Schools

Schools in Columbus, Ohio, are bracing for chaos as they become a pilot project for using the parent trigger. The former superintendent (don’t you love it when people make decisions and don’t hang around to deal with the consequences?) offered the city up to the state as a place to experiment. The state has chosen StudentsFirst as a “neutral party” to be responsible for informing parents — Unbelievable!

You can read more about it at these two articles:

Nearly 1 in 5 Columbus Schools Qualify for Overhauls Under Parent-Trigger Law is from Ed Week.

StudentsFirst says it won’t play politics with Columbus schools parent trigger
is from The Columbus Dispatch.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools.

Print Friendly

“volunteer forms scaring away parents with less-than-perfect pasts”

School Districts need to enter the real world and understand that being undocumented or having made mistakes in their lives doesn’t mean that they cannot help schools.

I’ve recently shared about how two school districts are mishandling this situation:

Charlotte Schools Say Undocumented Parents Can’t Volunteer In Schools — For Now, At Least

“Fla. School Board Candidate: Allow Some Parents With Criminal Pasts to Volunteer”

And, now, here’s another one, this time from Tulsa: TPS volunteer forms scaring away parents with less-than-perfect pasts

Do you have examples of Districts handling this issue with more maturity and responsibility?

Print Friendly

Newark School Fiasco Continues For Students & Parents

I’ve written a number of previous posts about the on-going fiasco at Newark schools, and it isn’t getting any better.

Some very understandable angry and furstrated parents called for a boycott on the first day of school last week, and there is some effort to make it a long-term one.

I don’t know the details on the ground there, but I do have to say from my community organizing experience that there is a long history of failed school boycotts (apart from one-day boycotts, which can be an effective show of strength with sufficient support) — they are generally just too difficult to maintain with parent work commitments and legal issues.

It does sound like the boycott of the first day had some success. I have to wonder, though, about the wisdom of trying to continue it.

Here’ are articles about the boycott:

Parents open ‘Freedom School,’ continue boycott of One Newark reorganization plan is from a New Jersey TV station.

Newark Schools Open, But Some Parents Boycott Over New Enrollment Program is from CBS New York.

Newark parents settle in for boycott is from Politico.

The Illusionist is by Bob Braun.

Newark superintendent urges parents not to boycott is from The Associated Press.

Parent Frustration Over Newark Student-Enrollment Plan Mounts is from Ed Week.

Print Friendly

“NY City schools will push for more ‘family connections,’ parent involvement, Chancellor Carmen Fariña says”

City schools will push for more ‘family connections,’ parent involvement, Chancellor Carmen Fariña says is the headline of a New York Daily News article.

Here’s are some excerpts:

Family engagement at schools will be getting an overhaul, the city schools boss tells the Daily News. Changes include longer one-on-one parent-teacher conferences, workshops for parents and support for GED and English as a Second Language classes for moms and dads…

…. In November there will be one-on-one parent-teacher conferences — with the student present.

Fariña said the by-appointment, 15-minute meetings on academic progress would be more effective than in previous years, when parents would stand in line for fleeting face time with their kids’ teacher.

It’s all part of a new model — codified in the new teachers contract — that allows teachers to devote at least 40 minutes of every school week to meetings with parents.

“I personally don’t think a PTA meeting is a good measure of whether parents are engaged in schools,” said Fariña, explaining the need for a new approach.

You can read my previous posts about Chancellor Fariña’s parent involvement efforts here.

Print Friendly

This Is Interesting: Parents Help Decide Curriculum & Hire Teachers At Pennsylvania School

State College’s Delta Program middle school off to busy start is the headline of an article about a middle school in Pennsylvania begun by a local district to reduce loss of students to charters.

Here’s an excerpt:

Delta Director Jon Downs said the alternative program for State College middle school students — the complement to the established secondary school — operates on a democratic model where students and their parents have as much of a voice in the curriculum and new hires as teachers and administrators.

“It gives students a greater choice of what they take and study,” Downs said. “They approve their schedule, suggest courses and help hire teachers. That’s a lot of involvement. Our goal is to empower students to make some decisions and to be responsible for their decisions.”

Print Friendly

“Teacher home visits ease kindergarteners’ fears of first day of school”

Teacher home visits are certainly in the news these days!

Here’s the latest article about what’s going on in Tulsa: Teacher home visits ease kindergarteners’ fears of first day of school.

Here’s the final sentence in the story:

“We’re really trying to focus on family engagement, not just involvement,” Velez said. “We really are trying to let them know how they can keep learning going at home.”

Print Friendly

“How to Get Kids to Class: To Keep Poor Kids in School, Provide Social Services”

How to Get Kids to Class: To Keep Poor Kids in School, Provide Social Services is the headline of an op-ed in The New York Times by the president of Communities in Schools.

Here’s the last paragraph:

Putting social workers in schools is a low-cost way of avoiding bigger problems down the road, analogous to having a social worker in a hospital emergency room. It’s a common-sense solution that will still require a measure of political courage, something that all too often has itself been chronically absent.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

Print Friendly

Nice Piece For Parents: “12 ways to identify a good school”

Jay Mathews has just published a nice post in The Washington Post titled 12 Ways To Identify A Good School.

Here’s how it begins:

Fourteen years ago, I wrote a Washington Post magazine piece about a young couple seeking a school for their daughter, including 12 things to look for in a good school. The article survives online. Parents still ask me if I would change any of those recommendations.

I would, a bit. Here is the original list, with my updates in italics:

Print Friendly

Health Center Planned At Sacramento School

Community health center planned for Sacramento’s Johnson High is the headline of an article in the Sacramento Bee.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t mention any kind of parent involvement in the effort, though it does mention the possibility of starting up a similar project at the high school where I teach. If that happens, I guarantee that parents will be engaged in the conversation — neither our principal or our parent involvement coordinator would have it otherwise!

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

Print Friendly

Charlotte Schools Say Undocumented Parents Can’t Volunteer In Schools — For Now, At Least

Here’s how the article, Solutions elude CMS on undocumented volunteers, in the Charlotte Observer begins:

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools team assigned to find a way undocumented immigrant parents can volunteer in schools is running short on time and even shorter on potential solutions to the hot-button issue.

The team’s final meeting is Tuesday, and it has yet to find a quick, easily affordable fix to the current policy, which requires anyone volunteering in schools to produce a Social Security number and driver’s license for a criminal background check.

Undocumented immigrants – people not in the country legally – do not have such forms of identification, making it impossible for them to volunteer in schools where their children are students.

Thanks to K-12 Parents and the Public for the tip.

Print Friendly