Out of ideas? Tired of the same old plans? Parent Involvement 101 to the rescue!
One of the biggest challenges facing schools today is the lack of effective family engagement outreach efforts. Why is this so difficult? Because today’s family dynamic is constantly changing, this creates many barriers for parents to becoming true partners in their child’s education. As educators, we must always look for innovative and creative ways to involve and empower parents that will help strengthen and support the bond between the school and family and lay the foundation for student success. But as educators who has time to continually create effective outreach activities and programs to educate, equip and empower parents and boost and sustain the school’s family engagement goals, your plate is completely full! We understand your plight and we want to help. We have a great resource with one hundred and one practical tips and ideas for proven and effective strategies to help educators build strong, collaborative partnerships with families. We know these strategies work because we have implemented them into our own schools when we were teachers and principals. The strategies are also easily adaptable for your specific school climate and family culture. So let’s get started, below is tip #41 from Parent Involvement 101. It is a simple as opening the door to new ideas!
It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, students get sick and are absent from school. We all know that the more days a student is absent the more at risk the student becomes to academic difficulties. So to combat student absenteeism due to illness and reach out to families, consider sponsoring a Family Health Night and host it either at the school or at another convenient location, such as the public library. Invite a speaker for the event; a doctor or nurse from the hospital, a local pediatrician, another health care provider, or even utilize your own school nurse. Next, determine the specific topic(s) that you want to discuss with your families. Perhaps you want to share more information about early prevention efforts as they relate to the common cold or flu. Invite your local pharmacist to accompany the health care provider to discuss the pros and cons of flu vaccinations and over the counter cold remedies. Also consider discussing with parents the childhood diabetes epidemic and invite a certified nutritionist to share healthy recipes and food options for students at risk. Another possible idea is to provide free blood pressure screenings for family members, invite a certified trainer to demonstrate age appropriate and safe exercise plans for families. Also, invite law enforcement officers to demonstrate proper bike safety and proper bike helmet and safety gear equipment. Make sure that the event is well staffed, that families are given information and take-home materials that will motivate them to continue implementing healthy initiatives. Be sure to have this information available for families who could not attend the event. Consider conducting the event through a live video feed on Facebook or other social media outlet, video record the event and post it to the school’s website, and/or make take home bags; “Family Health Night Survival Kits” with the information that was distributed and send them home to families that could not attend. While tracking your student absenteeism data, consider using these “kits” to take with you on home visits and share them with families. The possibilities are endless!
Do you want more great tips like the one above? Check out our publication; “Parent Involvement 101”. Also, register for the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit on March 21-23, 2018 in Richmond, VA and join educators from all across the country and glean more practical and innovative family engagement ideas! Don’t miss it!