At every EdCamp or ParentCamp conference, I have attended I encountered school leaders who were asking the question: “What can we do to involve parents?” This past EdCampLI on October 14 was no different. Parent involvement is also discussed at the national PTA conventions, NYS School Board Association, and NPE conferences. Sometimes finding the answer to the question is right there in front of the school leaders.
Schools are implementing new initiatives all the time. For example, first the STEM, then STEAM, and lately STREAM, the maker spaces, genius hour, coding, spotlight standards, you name it. These initiatives offer ample opportunities to involve parents. Currently, school districts in New York are implementing the new generation science standards (NGSS). Districts have until 2021 to set the standards in effect. Leaders of many public school districts are teaming up together and also with the parents.
Parents of 5th graders were asking a lot of science-related questions at the recent PTA meeting at Davison Ave primary school, Malverne school district. I could observe their enthusiasm. They were ready to get involved. Similarly, their hands went up when the building manager was talking about hiring lunch duty monitors. Again, the parents were ready to get involved.
No matter how mundane the initiative, there is always a chance it will attract few parents to the table at a shared decision (site-based) committee. Eventually, their involvement will have a snowball effect.