School leaders who are genuinely trying to engage parents always find an opportunity to do so. They learn at conferences, seminars and professional developments. They understand that by engaging parents they engage the entire community of stakeholders. Parents assigned to various tasks at their schools create a collaborative school culture and share school practices with the general public. 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 engaging parents in school practices have been known for quite some time. In 1994, thanks to the positive outcomes, the NYSED commissioner issued the Resolution 100.11 that made every public school to incorporate a shared decision making committee into the school structure:
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, e.g. 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. I also plan to help our school leaders in their efforts to engage 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?