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  1. Parents as partners wasn’t thinking outside the box; it was just making the box bigger

  2. Parents were not perceived as hovering helicopters

  3. When principals heard “engagement” they thought “welcome in” and not “run for the hills”

  4. Parent engagement meant more than council meetings, going on trips and donating money

  5. Schools did not see ‘parent knowledge’ as an oxymoron

  6. Schools wanted to call you back - and vice versa

  7. Parents were asked “What are the outstanding things you do with your child?” and not “What on earth are you doing with that child?”

  8. Families were be greeted warmly at the school door and not coldly shown the door

  9. The over-worked office staff welcomed you as a friend and not an annoyance.

  10. Parents were asked to tell what they knew about their child at parent-teacher conferences

  11. Parent-teacher meetings were always attended because they were arranged based on parent availability

  12. School council decision-making was not about which chocolate bar to sell

  13. School councils were places where all parents were supported

  14. All school councils were about student achievement and not building cliques

  15. Home-school partnerships were more Modern Family and less Father Knows Best

  16. Exceptional children weren’t treated as the exceptions to the rules

  17. Parent advocacy was not parent adversary

  18. ADHD was treated as Artistic, Delightful, Happy, Demonstrative

  19. Parents acknowledged that their ‘jewel’ could also be a ‘Precious’

  20. Principals were curriculum leaders not administrators, plumbers, painters, cleaners, paper pushers

  21. The profession of teacher was hailed as one of the most valuable in society

  22. Staff fitness began with a get-to-know-the-community walk before the first day of school

  23. All students understood they had a role & responsibility in their learning

  24. Learning spaces went beyond the walls of the school and into the community

  25. Community perceived the school as a place where they could learn and teach

  26. ALL families were seen as gold bullion; none as pennies

  27. Being multi-lingual was perceived as an asset and not a deficit

  28. Parent behaviour was not pre-judged by cultural and racial background

  29. Parent’s past experiences did not colour perceptions of their children's schooling

  30. Equity meant multi-lingual books, relevant resources, valuing differences

  31. Our various cultures were incorporated into the everyday life of the school

  32. We asked “How does your family do this?”

  33. Parent engagement was everybody's business

  34. A unified chorus proclaimed “Let’s work together!”

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