Schools and parents typically don’t communicate very often or very well. In today’s hyper-connected society, there is no excuse for this.If you ask parents, they’ll often blame it on the school or its staff. Conversely, if you ask educators, you get the opposite — it is parents who do not get engaged.
As with most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Image Courtesy: Francisco Osorio (Flickr)
Communication is a Two-Way StreetThe fact that the school-to-home communication gap exists at all is a shame. After all, parental and educational goals are aligned. Both parties want students to succeed.
In 19 years working in public education, I’ve yet to meet a parent or teacher who openly said: “I do not care about my child” or “I do not care about my students.” In fact, the research bears out that the ‘parent who doesn’t care’ is largely a myth. Overwhelmingly, parents love their children and want only the best for them. Conversely, teachers truly want their students to exit school well prepared for a better life.
If the goals of these two parties are aligned, then why does the inability to communicate effectively exist in the first place?
At SchoolStatus, we’ve been looking into this issue for the last year. While our goal has always been helping schools gain efficiencies through data analytics, our core mission is to change education, forever. We’ve found that simply having data in one place is not a panacea of any sort. Data is only powerful when we do something with it. (In fact, if you are collecting data to make yourself feel better but aren’t doing anything with the resultant data sets, you can stop. You are doing yourself and your students a disservice.)
What is parental engagement?During our research, I was surprised at the misnomer of what ‘parental engagement’ actually was. Is it attending an occasional Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meeting? Showing up for a basketball game? How about volunteering to bake cookies? What comes to mind when you think of engaged parents? At SchoolStatus, we are fundamentally reimagining parental engagement and what it means.We believe parental engagement exhibits the following traits:
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