How to involve parents in public schools

School leaders who are genuinely trying to involve parents always find an opportunity to do so. They learn how to involve parents at conferences, seminars and professional development. They understand that by involving parents they can engage the entire community. Parents assigned to various tasks at their school create collaborative school culture and deepen public’s understanding of the school’s operations. The previous post revealed how school leaders can use PTA meetings to evaluate how parents perceive an existing initiative and what they think about a new one.

The benefits of parental involvement in schools have been known for quite some time. Thanks to the positive outcomes, the NYSED commissioner issued a resolution that made every public school to implement a shared decision making committee into the school structure:

nysed-resolution-100.11-involve parents

The full text of the resolution, accessed on November 6, 2017, was available here.

At meetings, the committee members discuss issues the school community is facing, be it STEM, NGSS, crossing guards, water fountains, world languages, or healthy living. The committee members engage other parents by inviting them to the public meetings, listen to the comments, prioritize, and make shared decisions as to what they will recommend to the community representatives—school board members—to take action upon.

Recently, together with few other parents, I have been offered an appointment to a shared decision committee at the Davison Ave. school. Due to my other commitments I declined the appointment, but I am looking forward to attend its public sessions depending on my availability. I also plan to help our school leaders in their efforts to involve parents by updating the list of shared decision making committees, their current assignments, and publicizing their future meetings.

In your school district. Are the meetings of the shared decision making committees flexible and advertised well in advance, or are they set always on a particular day in a month? What time during the day are the meetings scheduled at? How is the member selection process determined? What are the current topics discussed? What topic attracted the most attention? Was there a topic that was rejected from the discussion?

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