Student achievement is higher when families are involved in their child’s education, yet a lack of parental involvement is often cited as a reason for student failure (Dray & Wisneski, 2011). This often stems from the interpretation of parental involvement between schools and families (Ivey, 2011). Furthermore, a disconnect exists between the team approach of American schools in which parents work with the teachers versus cultures that hold educators in high esteem and then allow the teacher to take the lead in learning experiences.
This disconnect is especially significant at the secondary levels. The transition from middle to high school is critical because of the decreased level of support offered by teachers, the difference in attendance and graduation requirements, and the addition of new rules (Lys, 2009). Additionally, the high school culture is not always explained to parents in multiple languages, resulting in decreased parental involvement, increased failure, and higher dropout rates. When families are not aware of the change in expectations, high schools can seem like an intimidating place.
Ivey (2011) advises schools to implement the following strategies to increase parental involvement: (a) outreach through telephone calls and home visits; (b) invitations to volunteer with clear explanations about the benefits and expectations of that role; (c) representation of various cultures in the curriculum and classroom; (d) opportunities for parents to help their child and connect with the curriculum at literacy and math events or other informational nights; (e) the offering of adult ESL classes. At the secondary level, schools should implement effective middle to high school transition programs such as summer activities, tours, and teacher articulation (Lys, 2009). Most importantly, reaching out to families to strengthen these relationships starts with the simple action of inviting families to participate (Ivey, 2011).
What strategies does your school use to communicate to families the desire to work together as a team to ensure the success of all children?
—-Stephanie Scott http://effectivek12schools.com—-
Dray, B. & Wisneski, D. (2011). Mindful reflection as a process for developing culturally responsive practices. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(1), 28-36. Retrieved from http://sehd.ucdenver.edu/update/files/2011/09/Dray-Article-2011.pdf
Ivey, P. (2011). Overcoming language and cultural barriers in school: Hispanic students acquire success in elementary schools. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Dominican University of California, California. Retrieved from: http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED519664.pdf
Lys, D. (2009). Supporting high school graduation aspirations among Latino middle school students. Research in Middle Level Education, 33(3), 1-12. Retrieved from http://www.amle.org/Publications/RMLEOnline/Articles/Vol33No3/tabid/2095/Default.aspx