Parents play a significant role in supporting their children’s health and learning, guiding their children successfully through school, and advocating for their children — and for the effectiveness of schools.
Parental engagement in schools is defined as parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents. To increase parental engagement in school health, schools must make a positive connection with parents.
Schools should also provide a variety of activities and frequent opportunities to fully engage parents such as:
- Opening day activities: barbecue, hot dogs, etc.
- Parenting Can Be Fun Workshop/Conferences.
- Family adventures within one hour’s drive.
- Helping your kids choose alternatives to alcohol or drugs.
- Math festival
- Health night/physical fitness.
- Family science fair
- Summer make-and-take (reinforcement activities for summer).
- MEAP night.
- Coffee with the principal.
- Pumpkin decorating/pumpkin facts and scary stories
- Family board game series.
- Positive discipline
- Classroom/class newsletters/hotlines
- Monthly learning nights with a potluck
- Career days
- Programs for multicultural awareness and appreciation
- Volunteers can help struggling students read tests, listen to their reading, and chaperon field trips
- Frequent traveler passports with students’ pictures on them-each time a parent attends an event, the child gets a stamp in his/her passport. After four stamps, his/her name goes into a drawing.
- Create something special for non-English speaking families
- Build a family timeline night (History)
Harmony Public Schools has recently purchased a software program that will manage, track and recruit volunteers for its 54 schools. The program, VOLY.org, was customized for HPS by Volunteer Now, one of the largest volunteer centers in the country. The system is smart phone-friendly and launched with the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Community engagement through the HPS volunteers plays a vital role in enhancing educational opportunities for HPS students. The VOLY.org technology saves time and money by simplifying and standardizing volunteer management across the district, making it easier for individuals and groups to become involved in schools and placing volunteers where they can be most effective for students.
Like Amazon.com and other commercial sites, the system “learns” specific volunteer interests over time and sends recurring and new opportunities of a similar nature by email, encouraging volunteers to continue or increase volunteer efforts. It provides automated tools for outlining potential volunteer opportunities available at each of HPS campuses; tracks, schedules and reports volunteer activities; and allows for remote check-in and check-out. To register: harmony.voly.org.
Good education begins at home and our Parent Academy is designed to help families provide the support needed for their students’ success. Through a series of workshops during and after school parents will learn specific student support skills such as student advocacy, financial empowerment, digital literacy and post-secondary access.