Highlighting Parent
Involvement in Education
Family Involvement
• Research demonstrates that parent/
family involvement significantly
contributes to improved student
• Everyone -- students, parents,
teachers, administrators, and
communities -- benefits from family
What are the Benefits?
• More positive attitudes toward school;
• Higher achievement, better
attendance, and more homework
completed consistently;
• Higher graduation rates and
enrollment rates in post-secondary
• Better schools to attend.
Benefits for Parents
• Greater knowledge of education
programs and how schools work;
• Knowledge of how to be more
supportive of children;
• Greater confidence about ways to help
children learn;
• More positive view of teachers; and,
• Greater empowerment.
Benefits for School Staff
• Greater teaching effectiveness;
• Higher expectations of students;
• Increased ability to understand family
views and cultures;
• Greater appreciation of parent
volunteers; and,
• Improved morale.
Benefits for Communities:
• Greater strength;
• Greater impact of services through
comprehensive, integrated approach;
• Increased access to services for
Research on Involvement
• Effective parent/family involvement
improves student outcomes throughout
the school years.
• While parent/family involvement
improves student outcomes, variations
in culture, ethnicity, and/ or
socioeconomic background affect how
families are involved.
• Parent/family involvement at home has
more impact on children than
parent/family involvement in school
• The nature of effective parent/family
involvement changes as children reach
• Parent/family involvement in early
childhood programs help children
succeed in their transition to
kindergarten and elementary school.
• Parent/families may need guidance
and assistance in how to effectively
help their children with homework.
• Parent/family involvement will differ for
ethnic and cultural groups. These
differences should be considered when
planning parent/ family involvement
• Improved student outcomes have been
documented in math and reading when
families are involved.
• The most promising opportunity for
student achievement occurs when
families, schools, and community
organizations work together.
• To be effective, school programs must
be individualized to fit the needs of the
students, parents, and community.
• Effective programs assist parents in
creating a home environment that
fosters learning and provides support
and encouragement for their children’s
• Teachers must be trained to promote
effective parent/family involvement.
Outdated Thinking
on Parent Involvement
• Parents should come to school only
when invited;
• Stay-at-home mothers serve as
“homeroom mothers”;
• Parents visit school mainly for
children’s performances and open
• Parents help raise money for school.
• Schools that have been the most
successful in involving families look
beyond traditional definitions to a
broader view that considers
parents/families as full partners in the
education of their children.
• These schools view children’s learning
as a shared responsibility among
everyone involved in the child’s
What is a Family?
A Personal Definition
• For the purpose of today’s
conversation, “Parent” or “Family”
refers to anyone actively involved in
raising and educating a child.
Factors in Involvement
• Parents are a child’s first teachers.
• The American family has changed
dramatically over the last 50 years.
• Schools aren’t always knowledgeable
in how to encourage involvement.
• Parents don’t always recognize the
importance of becoming involved or
know where to begin.
Ten Truths of
Parent Involvement
• All parents have hopes and goals for
their children. They differ in how they
support their children’s efforts to
achieve those goals.
• The home is one of several areas that
simultaneously influence a child. The
school must work with people in the
other areas for the child’s benefit.
• The parent is the central contributor to
a child’s education. Schools can either
ignore this fact or recognize the
potential of the parent.
• Parent involvement must be a
legitimate element of education. It
deserves equal emphasis with
elements such as program
improvement and evaluation.
• Parent involvement is a process, not a
program of activities. It requires
ongoing energy and effort.
• Parent involvement requires a vision,
policy, and framework. A consensus of
understanding is important.
• Parents’ interaction with their own
children is the cornerstone of parent
involvement. A program must
recognize the value, diversity, and
difficulty of this role.
• Most barriers to parent involvement
are found within school practices.
They are not found with parents.
• Any parent can be “hard to reach.” Parents
must be identified and approached
individually; they are not defined by gender,
ethnicity, family situation, education, or
• Successful parent involvement nurtures
relationships and partnerships. It
strengthens bonds between home and
school, parent and teacher, parent and
school, school and community.
Barriers to Involvement
• Lack of a school environment that supports
parent/family involvement;
• School practices that do not accommodate
the diversity of family needs;
• Child care constraints;
• Families’ past negative experiences with
schools and/or feelings of uncertainty about
“treading on school territory.”
• Cultural differences (language barriers,
attitudes toward professionals, lack of
knowledge of the American education
• Primacy of basic needs (food, clothing,
and shelter take precedence over
educational needs);
• Feelings of inadequacy associated
with difference in income or education;
• Safety, especially in inner-city school
• Uncertainty about what to do; and,
• Lack of time.
100 Ways
• The brochure, “100 Ways for Parents
to be Involved in Their Child’s
Education” is available from the
National PTA;
– http://www.pta.org/
– Based on the National Standards for
Parent/Family Involvement Programs.
Remember These 10
Guiding Principles
• Family members are equal partners in
a child’s education.
• The home environment is the “primary”
educational environment.
• Schools must respect the diversity o
families and their varied needs.
• All families care about their children.
• Family involvement is important
through all years of a child’s education.
• Family involvement takes many forms
and may not require a family’s
presence at school.
• Families, schools, and communities
are closely interconnected and must
collaborate in educating children.
• School leaders and staff need support
and training in how to encourage
family involvement.
• One size does not fit all when
developing school-family partnerships.
• Change takes time and building
successful partnerships requires much
effort over time.
• Become involved in your local school.
• Contact a Parent-Educator Resource
Center near you for information on
upcoming parent training opportunities.
Thank You!

Highlighting Parent Involvement in Education