Search form


Principal Ideas: Make Parents an Active Part of the School Community

Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the sidebar to learn how to be part of Principal Ideas.

From Ed World's

In most schools today, children eat in a rush, then go out for recess (if they even have it), and then go back to the classroom and go right back to work. But, if we paid more attention to the physical development of children in school, it would be obvious that exercise and play should precede food and be followed by rest. Recess, lunch and quiet time, in that order, can settle students in a profound way and create a space for the consolidation of learning and the rejuvenation needed for a productive afternoon. By quiet time, I don't mean just rest but an alone time to read, write, draw, even do homework. Children have almost no experience with silence these days, with reflection.

Source: Chip Wood, The School Day: It's Not a Race; Let's Change the Pace!)

Drawing a Crowd to PTA

Drawing a big crowd on PTA night isn't a given. We have found that in order to get parents to attend, we have to have kids involved somehow. Our fourth and fifth grade choir performs at some meetings. An exhibition of work by third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade artists, hung in a gallery-like environment -- complete with string quartet -- drew people to another meeting. I make sure that our first graders perform at every April meeting because that's when PTA elections take place for the following year. That strategy can pay big dividends because parents of younger students may commit to the PTA and the school for years to come.
Source: Mary Ellen Imbo, "Principals Share Parent Involvement Ideas" ( -- February 28, 2000)

That's the Ticket!

Ask parents to donate theater or sports tickets they cannot use. Announce in your staff newsletter a drawing for those tickets; interested faculty members can enter their names.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

Parents as Tutors

We use parent volunteers as tutors for our school's 700 K-2 students. Parents and friends of students are encouraged to volunteer on a regular basis to read to and with students. With parent help, our students have tested on more than 30,000 books a year [in the school's Accelerated Reader program] for the past several years!
Source: Barbara Wood, "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas " ( -- February 28, 2000)

Tap the Local Marketplace for Teacher/Parent Rewards

Contact local restaurants, sports franchises, movie houses, arts centers, and other businesses to arrange for gifts, gift certificates, tickets, or discount coupons that can be used as special prizes for teachers or coaches who volunteer their time or who go above and beyond.
Source: "25 Ways to Motivate Teachers" ( -- November 19, 2002)


Join the Fun -- Share an Idea!

The ideas presented in this article come from the Education World archive and from principals just like you. Since these principals have been kind enough to "show and tell" an idea, now it's your turn! Share an idea you've used to

- Celebrate Students
- Welcome Students Back to School
- Motivate Teachers
- Involve Parents
- Raise Money
- Plan a Special Event
- Make Graduation Day Special
- Liven Up Your A.M. Announcements
- Plan an Effective Staff Meeting
- Get Some Good PR for Your School

or any other topic of interest to principals.

Send your idea today to [email protected].

Be sure to include your name, your school name, and your school address because if we post your idea in Principal Ideas, we'll send you an Education World mug!

Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World