Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Parent Engagement Vs. Parent Partnerships

Having some thoughts lately and reading, listening to podcasts and so forth on parent engagement.  I want parent engagement.  PTA meetings, school events, volunteering, lunches with kids, etc. are all important.  They build a sense of community, which is beyond important for any school.

What if though we enabled and partnered with parents as advocates of "our message" with "our kids"?  What if beyond just getting them in and talking to them, they also spoke our language.  I don't mean the sea of acronyms, for parents the message to me is simple and easy.

Let me tell you first what it is not:
  1. You do not need to learn the "new" math to teach your children at home.
  2. You do not need to fight with your children over homework every night.
  3. You do not need to tell them they are not good enough or smart enough.  That is a fixed mindset.
The message that I want my school to send to parents is simple:
  1. Have an expectation for learning and trying.  Tell them things like; "you are worthy, because you are going to try".  "You are important, because your thoughts matter and they need to be heard."  "You are going to do your best today, because I will not except anything less."
  2. Read and then read some more.  Ask them questions about their reading.
  3. Love them, and love them some more.  
Our job as a school is to teach your children.  Your job as a parent is to love them.  It is that simple, let's not make it more complicated than that.  Sure there are many levels to that, but let's strip all the other stuff off for a minute and just except that.  

So let's talk about the "why" and "how".  Why do parents need to have an expectation of growth.  It is simple, if kids don't feel supported and trusted that they will do their best from home, then where is their motivation?

How are they going to learn, is then entrusted with us, as the school.  As a school we are pledging to educate your children.  Your job as a parent is equally important and probably more.  If we work together in this partnership and understand our roles, then we can coexist in an environment that we are working off each other as partners.  

If parents never show up to an event, but read this and understand their job is behind the scenes to promote their own children and encourage them in effort, love of learning, and growth, then that is all we need as a school.  We will then take it from there and make the connections.  

That is all I am asking for... Bottom line, trust us, that we care as much as you for your children.  We have their best interest in mind, but we need to partner in this way in order for this to happen. 

I love my #cddolphins parents, they are supportive, but we can all improve.  So my message is simple. 

Love your kids first, tell them school is important for learning and growth, not perfect scores.  They need to try their best every day, that is all we need.  

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