As a new school year begins, I find myself reflecting on the challenges we face building family engagement into our education landscape. I’ve written about the benefits and ideas on implementing it in our schools. When I work with staff and parents, I see the same practices being used year after year. Is it a misunderstanding or a matter of choosing comfort over efficacy?
I joined Twitter as a way of hearing new and different voices in the field of education and parent engagement. I found amazing people blogging and having great online conversations about these topics. (And I see only a minute fraction!) Some inspire me; others almost cause my head to explode; a few make me stop and reconsider my beliefs, while many confirm my convictions.
By now, we are well aware of research that indicates a link between family engagement and improved student achievement.
Most schools have a school council and all Boards in Ontario have a Parent Involvement Committee (PIC). But are we moving ahead or are efforts in this area the same as they were two decades ago? Are we doing the same things and expecting a different result? I’ve worked with some passionate, dedicated parents who are engaged with their school, hoping to make things even better.
A wishlist of things we can all do to make education more inclusive and wholesome.
Responding to a half-hearted “Sorry, Mooom,” I’ve been known to tell my children that words are cheap; actions matter.
However, I’ve seen the effects of words - both good and bad - on the faces of my children and students. They can inspire or deflate. Words have meaning. Words speak volumes. Words show intent. In the last few weeks, there have been many places where I’ve read the word “Parent” council - newspapers, twitter, school signs - when they mean SCHOOL council. One word. A world of difference.