A student’s time at school is a pretty small part of their day. In a twenty-four-hour period, they probably spend about eight hours doing school-related activities– from actually attending class to doing homework. Even if they’re getting enough sleep, and studies suggest most people aren’t, then we’ve got at least as much time doing things that aren’t related to school as we do school time.
That’s great, though! We definitely don’t want students to spend every waking minute worrying about school. I don’t think anyone who has ever been a child would argue for that sort of education system. Students need time outside of school to be kids, after all!
The problem for educators is that they get to be with students for a third of the child’s day. Even if an educator does their very best during their allotted portion of the day, the student is going to go home and spend the remaining portion of the day somewhere else. Bridging the gap between “at school” and “at home” is something that is necessary for the student to reach their potential. Without communication between school and “not school”, it can often feel like a student leaves the classroom and forgets everything that they just learned.
The only way to bridge the gap is to ensure that parents and educators are on the same page. If a parent has no idea what’s going on in the student’s school life, they have no way of helping make sure that the lessons from school are being reinforced at home. Conversely, if an educator has no idea about a student’s home life, then there’s no way for them to know what they could do to help out on that front. This sort of engagement has a measurable impact on not only the student’s grades, but also their behavior, their tendency towards at-risk behaviors, and just as importantly, their enjoyment of school.
The fact that increased parental engagement is good for students is intuitive to most educators. Something that few people think about, though, is the positive impact that engagement can have on the school and its faculty and staff. According to The Essential Supports for School Improvement from the Consortium for Chicago School Research, when parents and teachers are communicating more frequently, the teachers have a more effective support network and it provides a preferable work environment. The authors go on to say that parents in schools who make them feel welcomed and respected are more likely to volunteer and provide support, which is always a good thing.
In essence, the reason that parental engagement matters is that it makes just about every facet of the modern education experience better. The experience is better for students, parents, and educators. Through modern applications such as Channel by SchoolStatus, there’s no reason not to do your very best to ensure as much
Joe Buza works as a Front End Developer for SchoolStatus. What that means in layman's terms, is that Joe works to produce the best tools in the world for parental engagement. If you are interested in what those tools look like, click here!