One of the questions that swirls around trying to get more and better participation from parents in their children’s education is “How?” What methods are there?
Friday afternoon I had an opportunity to witness an event which may possibly hold an answer.
At John F. Kennedy School in Spring Valley Illinois, the school held a curriculum session and invited members of the public to attend. Approximately 12 parents showed up, and most of them were teachers from other districts who also happen to have children in the Spring Valley elementary school system.
This group came because they are concerned their children might end up like so many others, who are not prepared when they leave for what comes next. As outside teachers they could see the data to know that in today’s world no one can assume that the educational system on its own will insure that children have been properly prepared.
It is hard to imagine a group coming into such a meeting with any more credibility than these women. And here is some of what they had to say:
“If we had better communications from the school, we could do a better job as parents.”
“We are not here to rip our fellow teachers; we love and appreciate what you do. But you have to step it up a notch.”
“I know my child is getting good grades, but I don’t know what my child does (or does not) know.”
“If I know what you are teaching and when, then I can follow along at home and supplement even if I have to go to the web to find supporting homework or assignments.”
Teachers acting as concerned parents. Think about that. Nobody knows where things stand, and just what the challenges are more than this group. And they came with a respectful tone, with questions and concerns. So lets do a little check list.
Parents with children. Check.
Concerned enough to interact with the school. Check.
Concerned enough to interact with kids at home on learning. Check.
Why would these people not be perfect to lead by example and teach other parents how to do what they do? Can we find some money to make it worth their while? The dividends to the community would be 100 fold.