Help Me With My Parent Outreach Program

I need help. I really want to begin a parental outreach program at my school to increase the amount of positive parental involvement. At the moment I feel that parental involvement is merely paid lip service. I don’t want to waste time blaming the system or the individuals that make it up, only to make it better. The problem with most of the parental outreach I have experienced is that it is kind of like bad professional development, someone has a great idea that has a positive impact for a limited time but then it is not sustained or follow up on. Something like a community picnic is a great idea to get parents to the school once, but what do you do once they are there and how do you keep them coming back? Has anyone implemented a parental outreach program in their school? Do you have any ideas to help me get started? I hope to work on this program over the summer and begin it when the new school year begins in September. Thanks in advance for any help.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Help Me With My Parent Outreach Program

  1. Lizzy Swoboda says:

    I recently just attended an education conference where McClellan High school in Little Rock, AR presented on how they get 250+ parents at each of their parent events. They had a few different ways they attracted parents to their school.

    -Exciting, themed parent events each month. They presented about how for “science night” they put together a CSI activity for parents. Biology students and teachers would teach the parents how to do bloodtyping/fingerprinting (something they had recently learned) and then the parents would do it on the lab equipment to solve the fake mystery. They said this was successful because it had parents and students engaged in learning activities, which not only was interesting at the time, but also encouraged parents to come visit the school and observe their students working in the classrooms. It also gave the parents a sense of the resources students had at the school and how their tax money was going to good use.

    They did a different night for each subject, and each night was centered around a theme. They also invited community vendors to each night. So for their cinco de mayo night they got local mexican dancers and they invited local mexican food vendors to the gym to set up food stands. They said that they try really hard to make these parent nights an incentive for local businesses as well. This also drew parents because they could bring the whole family, get dinner, watch entertainment, etc.

    Other than family nights, they also talked about how they built a “parent center” in the school in order to draw parents during the school day. They took one classroom and put a few old computers, printers and a copier that weren’t being used. Parents could come and use the internet for free, print out things, and make copies. They also put in comfortable furniture and had a coffee bar as well. Since the school has a lot of low income students, they said that they had a lot of success with parents coming to use these resources that didn’t have them at home. They even had a parent type up a resume on one of the computers and then subsequently get a job.

    Those were just a few of the ideas that I remember from the conference. Now, their school is substantially bigger than yours (1000 students 9-12) and they have a dedicated parent coordinator who organizes all the activities, came up with these ideas, calls parents, etc. She was super nice when I talked with her, and I’m sure you could probably find some way to contact her online if you searched for the school.

    I’m excited that you’re working on parent outreach! You’ll always be my teacher hero!

    • Chris says:

      Lizzy, these are amazing ideas. I think that I will be the parental coordinator here. This is a project that I really believe in so I will work hard at it. Thanks for these Ideas. How is your school year going?

  2. Lizzy says:

    Which one? Haha. The school I used to work at finished up in May, but my new school year has already started! I’m going to be a founding teacher at a new KIPP high school in Memphis. We just finished our in-service (it started mid-june), and we start summer school in a week. I’m really excited because we’re starting slowly (only 9th grade next year – we’ll add a grade a year until we’re at full capacity), we’re small (8 teachers!), and we’re all really committed to bringing high-quality education to low-income children in Memphis. After my last school, it was amazing sitting around with a group of teachers and discussing what we wanted out school to look like and feel like for our future students.

    Oh and plus my principal had us watch Indiana Jones as part of in-service…could I ask for more?

    I hope you have a relaxing and refreshing summer planned…I’m impressed you’re adding parental coordinator to your repertoire! It’s so needed!

  3. Some great ideas here, and a valuable conversation.

    The folks at TeachHub were kind enough to post my thoughts on creating a parent communication strategy here: http://bit.ly/peF0OL, which I hope you don’t mind me linking to. The main takeaway from that piece is the importance of thinking through and implementing robust plan rather than executing tactics on a one-off basis.

    Incidentally, if you’re looking for tools to help you communicate with parents, only a part, but an important part of such a plan, check out http://www.snappschool.com. Our beta is still open and will be free for the school year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: