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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Parent Involvement III

I seem to be returning to this topic often. Parent Involvement/Engagement.

How do you measure parent involvement? Where do you measure parent involvement?

The Ministry of Education has mandated that boards and schools must increase their parent involvement in the schooling environment. Where is this best placed and determined?

The first place to look would be in the home. Parents asking & reviewing their child’s learning for the day. The everyday challenge of getting their child to get their homework (homeschooling) done. How is this to be possible with the desire to reduce if not eliminating homework? Until we get an open learning environment established at school and at home students do not/will not have the self desire to learn at home what is being taught at school.  Maybe that is what parents can do at home is create an environment for self learning.

Next would be parents coming into the school to help/volunteer in the classroom. Many parents feel comfortable coming into primary & junior classrooms and teachers are enjoying these extra hands but can you see a parent coming into a Grade 11 Biology class? First, the parent may not feel knowledgeable enough to help, the teachers may not want help and the student certainly does not want mom or dad around. Also many parents do not have the freedom to come into the school due to work, family or other commitments. How does the teacher use the parent volunteer, do they feel valued?

School SAC’s are another avenue. Whether it is giving input/developing school and board policy, organizing an event or fundraising, parents can lend a voice or hand. SAC’s and individual parents need to find their niche within the school and determine what works best. We will have to wait and see as PIC’s evolve how SAC’s evolve.

Does parent involvement need to be legislated/mandated? Probably not, but it does need to be supported at whatever area and level one wishes to become involved at. A 'one system for all' does not work for parent involvement. Parent involvement most remain voluntary.