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Schools Show More Focus on Relationships with Parents

Schools Show More Focus On Relationships with Parents

Over the course of time, schools have increasingly made parent relationships and engagements a priority to better support and teach its students, according to Education Week.

Throughout the last decade, districts "have created positions and departments specifically geared toward parent involvement, with a concurrent growth in related organizations, increased attendance at conferences, and a heightened interest from some philanthropic groups to fund parent-engagement efforts," EdWeek said.

Districts have also tied family-engagement into teacher-evaluation processes and even have offered parent-engagement professional development programs.

"Heather B. Weiss, the founder and director of the Harvard Family Research Project, said that in the past, family-engagement initiatives were often what she calls "one-offs" rather than long-term integrated efforts," but that times are changing, the article said.

Districts across the country are taking family integration into school life as an important endeavor directly linked to success.

Anecdotally, "[w]hen Ms. Crain began developing parent-engagement strategies in 2007 for the 63,000-student Washoe County district, she had a $5,000 budget and one secretary. Today, Ms. Crain's department has nine employees and a $1 million budget."

By promoting parent engagement and relations, schools and educators are acknowledging that parents represent an important tool to promoting good student behavior in classrooms and in turn creating positive classroom environments.

"[O]nce teachers experience how partnering with parents can make their jobs easier as educators, they are eager to encourage their colleagues to join them," said Karen Mapp, a senior lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education to EdWeek.

One concern for increasing parent engagement is that budget restrictions often come into play.

"Thus far, advocates have failed to have the Title I federal funding set-aside for family and community engagement efforts increased from 1 percent to 2 percent in congressional proposals to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act."

With shrinking education budgets comes less resources to run and manage parent engagement programs, the article said.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/03/2015

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