Extending the Learning Community: Involving Parents and Families in Schools
by Sheryl Mills (1994)
SSTA Research Centre Report #94-09: 110 pages, $17.
Acknowledgements This report is a resource for educators and school boards wishing to encourage parent and family involvement in education. Included in the report is a rationale for involving parents and families, definitions of meaningful involvement, barriers to involvement, guidelines for policy leadership and blueprints for action. The format of the report invites the reader to develop an understanding of meaningful parent and community involvement and respond appropriately to local needs. 
Setting the Stage
Policy Leadership
  Back to: Parent Involvement

The SSTA Research Centre grants permission to reproduce up to three copies of each report for personal use. Each copy must acknowledge the author and the SSTA Research Centre as the source. A complete and authorized copy of each report is available from the SSTA Research Centre.
The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.


Extending the Learning Community: Involving Parents and Families in Schools is the product of many meetings of many minds:
Ms. Betty Reynolds, Trustee, Saskatoon East
Mr. David Fineday, Parent, Saskatoon
Ms. Dawn Mutch, Executive Director, Saskatoon-Dundurn Community Resource, Dundurn
Ms. Gillian McCreary, Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment, Regina
Ms. Sandy Pearson, Principal, Saskatoon East
Ms. Edith Nagy, Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment, Regina
Ms. Karen Anderson, Principal, Saskatoon East
Mr. Pat Donegan, Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, Saskatoon
Mrs. Joy Bastness, Federation of Home and School Associations, Hagen
Mr. Bob Reid, Trustee, Saskatoon
Ms. Meryl Wood, Federation of Home and School Associations, Saskatoon
Mr. John Barton, Principal, Saskatoon
Prudence Owusu-Ansah, Community Coordinator, Saskatoon

The process of producing this resource brought insight and understanding into the many dimensions of parent, family and community partnerships. Our hope is that you, too, will experience the process when developing a policy for your school division for it is truly the process of involvement and discussion that brings understanding and the building of bridges.

Table of Contents

Setting the Stage

Extending the Learning Community: Involving Parents and Families in Schools is a resource for educators and school boards wishing to encourage parent and family involvement in education.

"A Review of Directions" (Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment, 1992) recommends that :

1. All schools in the province should develop strategies to expand parent and community involvement in education as one of the key elements of their school improvement plans. These strategies could build on existing structures by more effectively involving parent groups, local boards and advisory councils.

2. Strategies to improve parent and community involvement should promote active participation in setting school goals, introducing program changes and enhancing learning activities for students at home, in the community and during school hours. Partnerships should be the guiding concept rather than public relations.

3. The educational organizations should develop jointly an ongoing strategy for public involvement which would provide for the following:

the preparation of documents and other printed or audio visual materials to support new curricula and other initiatives. These documents would be for use by schools at the local level to communicate educational changes and involve parents and communities in the learning process of their children;

the development of various strategies to support parent and community involvement at the local level, such as forums or "inservice" for parents on new educational developments; and

the development of a regular process for discussing educational issues and changes underway in Saskatchewan with major interest groups such as business and labour, social action groups and the media.

In this document, because not all our children are cared for directly by their parents, the term "parent" is implying the child's significant care-giver--mom, dad, grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin, brother, sister, or special guardian.

The community is the wider envelope that is made up of parents, children, families, seniors, local businesses, and community associations.

Extending the Learning Community: Involving Parents and Families in Schools looks most specifically at parent and family involvement, as communities are made up of families.

Table of Contents

Why Involve Parents, Families and Communities

There are many compelling reasons for involving parents, families, and members of communities in public education.

Let's examine the reasons for extending the learning community through policy leadership.

Table of Contents

School Effectiveness

Chet is a high school senior. His parents regularly check on how things are going at school, inquire about assignments and grades, discuss post high school pursuits, and know about his daily activities.
According to the findings in a massive research study (Fehnmann et al., 1987), Chet will most likely score higher grades than his peers whose parents are not as involved in their children's lives.
The dinner is cleared away and the books come out. Sisters and brothers, mother and father sit down to do the daily homework. In this Asian refugee family everyone works together on the lessons, siblings helping and teaching one another, while parents learn with their children, set goals and expectations for the evening's studies and take care of practical considerations.
Studies of 200 refugee families in the United States (Caplan et al., 1992) indicated that homework dominates the household activities on week nights. This results in improved achievement in the classroom.
The power of parent-school partnerships can be seen in Tennessee's statewide effort in which 11 models of parent involvement in elementary schools were funded at 17 sites (Leuder, 1989a, 1989b). The models focused on such topics as "active parenting" (training sessions for parents), "new parents as teachers" (a program for teenage parents), "operation fail-safe" (parent-student-teacher conferences to raise student achievement), and "family math" (a program for parent and students to work together on math). Over 95% of the parents reported that they were more involved with their children's education; over 90% reported that their children's skills and overall attitudes had improved, and 81% perceived an improvement in their children's behavior (Lueder, 1989a, p. 17). In one project, for example, parent participation was considerable and resulted in significant increases in children's listening, reading, and math scores compared with two control groups of students (Lueder, 1989b).
Research shows us that time and again, children's attitudes towards school, their achievement, attendance, motivation, self-concept, and behaviors are directly influenced by the attitudes of their parents towards learning and school.

For at-risk students, parent and family involvement in learning has been identified as the single most important determinant of success.

Actively involving schools, families and community members in identifying issues, assessing the needs of the community, and developing solutions makes for more effective schools that can better meet the needs and expectations of its community.

In Peter Mortimore's and colleagues' (1988) major study of school effectiveness, parental involvement practices represented one of 12 key factors that differentiated effective schools from less effective schools.

"Our findings show parent involvement in the life of the school to be a positive influence upon pupils' programs and development. This included help in classrooms and on educational visits, and attendance at meetings to discuss children's progress. The headteacher's accessibility to parents was also important; schools operating an informal, open-door policy being more effective. Parent involvement in pupils' educational development within the home was also clearly beneficial. Parents who read to their children, heard them read, and provided them with access to books at home, had a positive effect upon their children's learning." (p. 255)
The involvement of parents and families as members of our larger community can only help to strengthen our schools. Saskatchewan has a proud history of schools being central to its communities and the families of the community being central to the schools. It is through continuing to actively involve and invite parents, families, and community members into the education system that we can hope to make the best possible schools for our children.

Table of Contents

Democratization of Education

In recent years, schools and education have moved into the public spotlight of criticism and question.

"Are schools meeting the needs of our youth and preparing them for work?"

"Are our tax dollars being used wisely?"

"Why does education cost so much?"

The growth in the number of students in private schools and the burgeoning interest in charter and home-based education also indicate that parents and families are becoming more interested and concerned about public schooling. They want to be more involved in their children's education and have some control.

Often those individuals with the most pointed questions and serious concerns about schools are those who have little or no contact with the schools of today. When families and community members are involved in schools they have an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the challenges and achievements of the education system.

A study focusing on parents' attitudes and activity (Epstein, 1989) found that:

1. Parents report little involvement at the school itself. Many parents work full- or part-time and cannot come to the school building during the school day.

2. Parents in all of the schools in the sample were empathetic in wanting the schools and teachers to advise them about how to help their own children at home at each grade level.

3. Parents believe that the schools need to strengthen practices such as giving parents specific information on their children's major academic subjects and what their children are expected to learn each year.

4. Parents of young children and better educated parents conducted more activities at home that support their children's schooling.

5. Parents who are guided by teachers on how to help at home spend more minutes helping their children with homework than other parents.

6. Most important for policy and practice, parents' level of involvement is directly linked to the specific practices of the school that encourage involvement at school and guide parents in how to help at home. The data are clear that the school's practices to inform and involve parents are more important than parent education, family size, marital status and even grade level in determining whether even inner-city parents stay involved with their children's education through the middle grades. (as reported in Fullan, 1991)

In a study conducted in 1986 by Joyce Epstein, she found that over 80% of the parents surveyed said they could spend more time helping children at home if they were shown how to do specific learning activities.

"Parents were aware of and responded positively to teachers' efforts to involve them in learning activities at home. Parents with children in the classrooms of teachers who built parent involvement into their regular teaching practice were more aware of teachers' efforts, received more ideas from teachers, knew more about their child's instructional program, and rated the teachers higher on interpersonal skills and overall teaching quality. Teachers' practices had consistently strong and positive effects on parent reactions to the school program and on parent evaluations of teachers' merits for parents at all educational levels. Teacher practices of parent involvement had more drastic, positive links to parents' reactions than general school to home communication or parent assistance at the school."
Our provincial neighbours have been making changes that further democratize their schools.

In Alberta, the government announced in January 1994 that parents could choose where they send their children to school and the dollars would follow the student. In addition, a site-based management model of governance would be established with government working closely with principals.

The government of Manitoba has developed a paper that is focussed on the role of parents including such topics as school-based management and school committees.

Table of Contents

School Outreach

Students benefit from being involved in the wider community as they learn. Learning that is linked to "real life" is authentic and more meaningful to students. School outreach offers an opportunity for students to be involved in their communities and for communities to be involved with their youth in meaningful ways. The African proverb "It takes a whole community to raise a child" rings true today. The well-being of our children is a shared responsibility that requires the commitment and support of families, social and human services agencies, and business. Although schools are primarily places to learn, in some cases this learning is virtually impossible because of personal situations. Hunger, abuse, violence, family instability, substance abuse and neglect are very real barriers to learning that schools alone cannot surmount. The day has passed when we can waste valuable time and resources deciding whose responsibility it is when it is only through collaborative effort that we will be able to reduce, remove or get around these barriers.

In addition, Saskatchewan is facing significant economic challenges which require us to be innovative and creative, building on our historic strengths of cooperation and community. Even as the economic situation improves, it is imperative that communities make the most efficient and effective use of provincial and community resources to meet their needs. Sharing facilities and resources within communities, drawing on the ideas and energy of all community and family members, and by involving volunteers are a few of the ways schools are making the best use of limited resources.

Table of Contents

Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment Policy Directions

The challenge of providing a high quality of education that prepares young people to contribute successfully as adults requires the commitment and involvement of family and community members together with the dedication and competence of professional educators. Family and community involvement and partnerships with schools are vital to the success of students and to the ongoing work and renewal of educational organizations.

Parent, family and community involvement in education is a key priority for Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment. While this strategy was formally announced in Policy Directions for Secondary Education in Saskatchewan, the Minister's Response to the High School Review Advisory Committee Final Report, there has been a move toward greater family and community involvement in education in Saskatchewan over the last number of years. This is evident in the following initiatives of Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment and of the provincial government as a whole:

Saskatchewan's Action Plan for Children - In June 1993, the Saskatchewan Government launched a province-wide initiative called Children First: An Invitation to Work Together (Creating Saskatchewan's Action Plan for children) to encourage a concerted effort in the province for the protection and well-being of our children. A renewed and revitalized effort to more effectively engage family and community members in meaningful ways in education helps to ensure that the goals of Saskatchewan's Action Plan for Children are being met.

Integrated School-Linked Services -- Initiated in 1993, Integrated School-Linked services is an initiative of the provincial government in partnership with the Saskatchewan education system. It encourages school divisions, schools, parents, community groups and agencies, and provincial and community human service agencies to work together toward removing barriers to learning for children. Barriers to learning can take many forms including poverty, hunger, family breakdown and violence, child neglect and abuse, and sexual or substance abuse all of which threaten children's ability to learn and to develop into caring, competent and contributing adults.

The movement toward a more collaborative human service system and the planning and implementation of integrated services are based on community-identified needs and cooperative action at the community level. Communities identify the key players, develop and share leadership, identify needs and available resources, and determine the most appropriate mechanism and location for service delivery and supports.

Curriculum Initiatives -- Curriculum initiatives such as granting students credit for out-of-school personal learning initiatives, locally modified and developed courses that include community content and focus, and the development of the career/community explorations course take the classroom into the community and bring the community into the classroom.

Indian and Metis Education Development Program (IMED) -- The IMED program provides incentive grants to school divisions to support Indian and Metis education programming. Increased parent, family and community involvement is a key objective of the program and many schools have developed community partnerships as well as partnerships with First Nations reserves for funding and program and resource development and implementation.

Community Schools-- The Community Schools program has been encouraging greater parent, family and community involvement in education since 1980. Each of the 17 Community Schools has a Community School Council with active parent and community representation. Community School Councils set school goals, identify issues and priorities for action, introduce program changes, solve problems and enhance learning activities for students at home, in the school and in the community. Parents, families and community members are involved in all aspects of the school program. Anticipated changes to the Community Schools program will strengthen the role of the community School Council.

Each of these initiatives signals a move toward greater parent, family and community involvement in education and the development of partnerships.

Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment is committed to developing a policy statement and implementation strategy for enhanced parent, family and community involvement in education that facilitates their participation in setting school goals, introducing program changes, solving problems and enhancing learning activities for students at home, in the school and in the community.

Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment believes that parent, family and community involvement in education can take many forms including:

Efforts to involve families and community members cover a continuum of involvement activities with an increasing level of collaboration and shared responsibility and authority.

There are many ways, with varying degrees of responsibility and authority, that parents and community members can be involved in education. The type of involvement and level of responsibility will vary from school to school depending on the needs of the community, wishes, ability and willingness of parents, families, and community members, values and resources.

Parents, family and community members play significant roles in the lives of children and their involvement in education is important for several reasons including:

Where parents are actively involved in schools: Parent involvement also: In recent studies of the public opinions related to schools, "parents" of students were one of the most supportive and positive groups. Groups that had no relation or connection to schools were the most critical of schools today.

When parents are involved in their children's classrooms, they are more supportive of the teachers and the school. They are more positive and less fearful. They see the realities of today's schools, and become familiar with new curricula and teaching methods. Parents can support what they understand.

Teachers can benefit from the insights of the parent and parents can benefit from the insights of the teacher. Ultimately, involvement means that the child benefits.

Parents and Schooling in the 1990s (Flaxman & Enger, 1991) indicated five primary principles that apply to parent involvement in schools:

1. Involving parents in their children's education improves student achievement and behavior, but parent involvement is most effective when it is comprehensive, well planned, and long-lasting.

2. Parent involvement develops over time as an integral part of a school improvement or restructuring strategy, rather than a remedial intervention.

3. The benefits of parent involvement are not confined to early childhood or the elementary grades. There are strong, positive effects from involving parents continuously through high school.

4. Parents do not have to be well educated themselves in order to help.

5. Children from low income and minority families benefit greatly when schools involve parents.

This resource document provides information necessary to create policy that involves parents and family members in schools.

Table of Contents

Policy Leadership

Policy Development As A Leadership Process

School board policy serves several functions. Policy development is best viewed as a change process.

At the classroom and school level, parent and community involvement may be occurring because individual teachers or the school staff are exploring new, promising practices. However, individual efforts cannot succeed over time without supportive school board policy leadership. The challenge for school systems lies in implementing and institutionalising effective approaches in all schools. Effective policy leadership is a way of taking effective practice and making it available for all students in all schools.

Writing a new policy does not guarantee change in practice or parent support. Policy leadership requires the combined efforts of trustees, students, teachers and the community. This will be more likely to happen if policy development is treated as a process - an opportunity to begin an ongoing dialogue with the community - rather than as an end in itself. The process of developing the policy may be more important than the policy itself for it is the process that develops awareness, interest, and ownership. The resulting policy then reflects commonly understood and supported practice.

An effective policy provides the vision--clear direction--with room for choice in the actions taken. The emphasis is on achieving a successful outcome rather than mandating the vehicle that will take you there.

The process used to develop the policy is the first step in creating a climate that encourages openness and fosters a positive approach. Policy that is developed behind closed doors, then laid on will do little to model or encourage the attitude that is needed to open the school to the wider community. The classroom has the potential to be an isolated island--opening the door is an important step.

Knowing your community, the current situation, and having vision provides the base for a policy that increases involvement within the unique context of your community.

Ideal parent and family involvement varies with each school community; there is no one right answer. The answer that is right for your community is the one that works. Throughout the document and appendix you will find ideas that have worked for others. They may be inspirational as your policy process begins.

Shirley Adams is always at the school. She helps in the library. She is the room mother for all of her children. She is president of the Home and School Association. She drives for any class trip. Oh -- and she often leaves delicious recess snacks in the staff room when they seem to be needed most.

The Browns talk to their children at home about school. They look at their homework. They read the school newsletters. They sign report cards. They can be counted on to turn up at parent-teacher interviews.

Ann Blake works full-time. She doesn't have time to come to the school. She is tired. And she needs support herself, for raising her three young children on her own. However, she has talked with her employer about the importance of family and community partnerships in education. Her employer often contributes surplus resources to the school and encourages work experience placements.

Every once in a while Mr. Smith storms in and demands to know why his child was kept after school. After a few stormy sessions, Mr. Smith can also be counted on to help with special events and programs.

The Johnson children used to come to school sporadically. Some days they were late. Some days they were hungry; some days they were tired. Since Gramma moved in the children attend much more regularly. The family makes use of the breakfast program and the school's clothing depot.

Consider these brief case studies as they relate to the following continuum:

Some parents involve themselves in their children's educations in other ways, outside of the public system.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith have decided to move their children to a private school in the area. They feel that the private school offers a better education for their children.

The Jones children are educated at home.

Involvement takes many different forms and means different things to different people.
"Today I helped out in my son's kindergarten class. I helped children print their stories, cleared the craft table, fetched the film projector, baked a cake and served it, kept the activities area stocked, and helped children get dressed at recess. I talked to the teacher about my son's interest in building a playhouse, and followed up on comments made on his report card.

Today I also followed up on a proposal made to our local school board for an alternative program for primary-aged children. Later in the day I met with other parents interested in organizing a community spring festival.

My son and I also read stories after visiting the library today. We emptied his backpack and went over the things he brought home from kindergarten. We also read the school newsletter together. At suppertime we played adding and subtracting games with our vegetables. And before bed we read a few more stories."

This case study illustrates several ways in which a parent might be involved in their child's education. All of these things indicate to the child that the parent is interested in school and thinks that it is important.

More specifically, parent involvement can be categorized in the following way: (Epstein, 1989):

Parents must be allowed to pursue involvement in ways that are appropriate to their needs. Parents may have concerns at different levels. For example:

1. Individual

If an individual parent has a personal concern about a particular instance involving their child, it is most appropriate to approach the teacher or principal directly to discuss concerns.

2. Parent Group

Involvement regarding broader issues such as curriculum, school climate or policies regarding behaviour, are most appropriately handled through a parent group.

The importance of having a parent group cannot be understated. The objective of the parent group can vary from school to school; however, the underlying objective should be the well-being of all students.

A strong parent group can:

Parent involvement must or should be encouraged; but all involvement whether individual or part of a group must be governed by a parent's code of ethics (Appendix C).

Table of Contents

Barriers to Involvement

When planning for involvement, it is important to recognize barriers. The following barriers have been identified by educators and parents in Saskatchewan. A substantial barrier to parent involvement that is more than token and moves into parents as partners is perhaps the firmly rooted belief that education is best run by professionals rather than as a democratic process that involves all parties with a vested interest.
"Parents are like shareholders in a company without the opportunity to attend the shareholders' meeting." (Parent, Ferr‚ Study, 1992)

Addressing Barriers

Ferr‚ (1992) suggests that "educators may wish to make an effort to examine, and further, to reduce the professionalism barriers that are sometimes used to obstruct parental involvement in certain educational matters." (p. 208).

Ferr‚ (1992) further suggests, implications for further practice to reduce barriers might include:

1. Boards of Education may consider inviting parents to express their views and offer suggestions regarding the educational programs within school divisions;

2. Central office administrations may consider encouraging parent-school communication throughout their school divisions;

3. Central office administration may consider exploring feasible ways of soliciting parent suggestions in certain areas of decision-making;

4. The development of policies and guidelines for involving parents in school matters could involve both educator and parent representation and participation;

5. Roles for parents in school decision-making should be made clear to parents and educators;

6. Administrators could develop ways of enhancing home and school communication;

7. Classroom teachers could be encouraged to fully and effectively communicate pertinent classroom information to parents; and

8. Educators may wish to make an effort to examine, and further, to reduce the professionalism barriers that are sometimes used to obstruct parental involvement in certain educational matters.

Table of Contents

Encouraging Involvement Through Policy

Policy examples from across Canada illustrate ways in which school boards have addressed the challenge of overcoming barriers to parent involvement through policy leadership while providing the necessary framework on which schools can build.

For example, a Saskatchewan school has a school level program aimed at enhancing the partnership with parents. This school has identified five levels of school and parent cooperation (an outline of the entire program can be found in Appendix B.)

"1. Parents support conditions at home that support learning; support programs and workshops

2. Parents and other volunteers assist in the classrooms, Resource Centre and other parts of the school. Parents may attend events the school schedules. Such events are usually scheduled at times that will be most convenient to parents.

4. Teachers guide and assist parents so they can coordinate home learning activities with school instruction. The school offers homework support and other services to assist parents in helping their children succeed.

5. The school involves and trains parents and community in decision-making as well as in school governance." (Pilot Butte School)

Regina Public School Board, for example, has developed a parent involvement committee that has been active in organizing a parent convention that was highly successful. (Appendix A)

Wood River School Division has also been active in developing policy around school and community involvement with a more specific goal of involving parents. (The proposed policy is Policy Sample #1 with a complete information package included in Appendix A.)

The following policy samples are included as discussion starters and idea sparkers.


Policy Topic: PARENTS

The Board of Education strongly supports the connection between parental involvement and student learning. It believes that if parental involvement is connected to student learning, there will be a resultant growth in student achievement. With that philosophy in mind, the Board states the following:

1. Each teacher shall hold an informational meeting for the parents of the students he/she is teaching before October 15 of any school year. For schools on the semester system there is an option of holding one meeting in the fall to address both semesters or one in the fall before October 1 to address the first semester and another meeting before March 1 to deal with the second semester. (Students may be invited to this meeting.)

Topics to be addressed at this meeting shall include but not be restricted to the following:
(a) Classroom expectations.
(b) Curriculum to be covered during the course of the year.
(c) Instructional and evaluation strategies to be used and an explanation of those strategies.
(d) A discussion of how parents can support the instructional and extracurricular programs in the school.

2. The Board believes that continuous communication with parents, related to curriculum and instruction and how parents can help their children in school, is important during the course of the school year.

The following framework supports such communication.

(a) Teachers shall, during the course of the year, keep parents informed of the topics and themes being taught in the classroom and how parents can help with those topics or themes at home.

(b) Teachers should, from time to time, host workshops during the school year to help parents become familiar with new teaching strategies and curriculum initiatives. (These workshops may involve students.)

(c) Teachers shall provide the opportunity for parents to have contact with them more frequently than during formal parent/teacher/student interviews to discuss such topics as how a student could benefit by cooperation between home and school.

(d) Teachers should organize several homework activities that involve parent and student together. Class newsletters or teacher newsletters to parents are strongly encouraged.

(e) Parents are encouraged to contact their child(ren)'s teacher(s) throughout the school year.

3. Parental input on curriculum choices is something which the Board believes can be helpful, if it takes the form of advice, and if it is offered in an atmosphere of support and concern. (Student input may also be sought.)

With this in mind the following is recommended.

(a) During the parent meeting at the beginning of the school year or some other appropriate occasion, parental input should be sought on theme and course offerings which may be optional. Teachers are asked to present parents with options as frequently as possible.

4. The Board strongly recommends the use of parent/student/teacher interviews. It is believed that the connection of all three parties, at least for a portion of the interview, can be a positive force. April 1994

Parent Observation of Classes


Parents and/or legal guardians shall be welcomed to observe their child's class in accordance with an appropriate procedure which protects the learning atmosphere for all students.

Administrative regulations and procedures

1. Parents and/or legal guardians wishing to observe their children in the elementary classrooms should discuss the reasons for the visitation with the teacher where possible at least 24 hours in advance of the visit. The teacher shall discuss the visit with the Principal.

2. Parents and/or legal guardians wishing to observe their children in the secondary classroom should discuss the reasons for the visit with the Principal where possible at least 24 hours in advance of the visit. The Principal shall discuss the visit with the teacher.

3. The timing of the Parent/Guardian visitation will depend upon:
A. the learning activity in progress
B. the disruption to the classroom
C. the sensitivities of the students
D. the number of requests
E. the urgency

4. Such requests for visitations shall not be unreasonably denied.

5. All visitors shall notify the office when they enter and leave the school.

6. Observation by persons other than the parent or guardian shall be made via the Principal in consultation with the teacher.


It shall be the Policy of the Board that:

Parent Consultative Committees should:
(a) have the opportunity to exist in every school;
(b) encourage dialogue between school and community;
(c) have the opportunity for input to school-based decisions;
(d) have access to information regarding school programmes, policies, procedures and operations;
(e) encourage schools to recognize and utilize community talent and resources;
(f) encourage continued parent group and community involvement within each school and from K - 12;
(g) function in accordance with democratic principles.

Rationale: The Board of School Trustees believes that parent and community involvement is an essential ingredient to effective schools.



The Board of Education believes in the involvement of parents and other interested members of the community in the operation of their school. Parents of students attending a school may establish School Councils for that purpose.


1. The decision to establish a School Council shall be made at an open parent meeting by a majority vote of the parents present.

2. The Principal of each school shall call a general meeting of the parents of students attending the school for the purpose of establishing a School Council. Notice of the meeting, including the purpose and time of the meeting, shall be shared with parents using available channels of communication.

3. Parents of students attending the school must comprise the majority of members on that School Council. The Principal of the school or designate is, ex officio, a member of the School Council.

4. Bylaws governing membership, voting privileges, scheduling of meetings and other operational considerations of the School Council are to be set by the School Council, and shall be filed with the Board for information. School Councils are subject to existing Board policies and to the precepts of the prevailing School Act.

5. The establishment of a School Council does not preclude the establishment or continuation of any other parent-school organization at a school.

6. School Councils shall have access to the Board through the Principal of the school or through the Superintendent of Schools.

7. A School Council may be dissolved at any time upon the majority vote of the School Council members attending a duly posted meeting. The Notice of Dissolution should be directed in writing to the Principal of the school and the Board.

8. If a School Council is dissolved during the school year, the formation of a new School Council will be examined in the next school year.


I. GENERAL PUBLIC The School Board encourages parents and other citizens of the district to visit the schools and classrooms at any time to observe the work of the students, teachers, and other employees. The Board believes that there is no better way for the public to learn what the school actually is doing.

1. In order to assure that no unauthorized persons enter the school with wrongful intent, all visitors will report to the school office when entering, sign the visitor's register, and receive authorization to visit elsewhere in the building. (This policy does not apply when parents have been invited to a classroom, assembly or school program.)

2. Any unauthorized person on school property will be reported to the Principal. The person will be asked to leave. The police may be called if the situation warrants.


Members of the School Board are encouraged to visit the district schools and supportive departments. Such visits should be made in accordance with the following guidelines:

1. School visits should be scheduled through the building Principal.

2. The Principal or available staff member will accompany the Board member on the visit if the member so desires.

3. Such visits shall be for the purpose of becoming acquainted with school programs, personnel, operation and facilities.

4. A Board member will not give directions, or make suggestions to personnel during the visit. If a school visit leaves a Board member with a concern, this concern should be addressed through appropriate channels, i.e. - discussed with the Principal and/or the Chief Executive Officer.

5. A Board member may also visit a school as a parent, and in such instances will follow the policy as noted in Part I above. The member should make his status clear at the beginning of the visit. Reports on parental visits as such will not be made by members to the Board.


Inasmuch as the community contains a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge which can be employed by the effective teacher, invited guests should be more than welcome (in appropriate numbers) in the classroom.

1. Teachers planning to invite guests to the classroom should inform the Principal and obtain approval.

2. Arrangements should be made to receive the guest in an hospitable and courteous manner.

3. If a controversial issue is to be considered in the classroom setting, reasonable efforts shall be made to see that all appropriate viewpoints are represented in a fair and reasonable fashion.

4. If any "high profile" persons are expected to visit the school, appropriate central office personnel should be advised.


4.1.1 The identification of the need for a Board Policy may be initiated by the following groups: Trustees
Public (parents, students, community)
Ministry of Education
Other Governments (Federal, Provincial, Municipal)
Board Employees

To initiate the development, review or revision of policy, the formal process must be followed.

4.1.2 All policy initiation requests are received by the Director of Education who forwards them to Committee of Chair. All such requests shall be acknowledged.

4.1.3 Senior Administration, in an annual Pre-Policy Planning Session, review all requests for policy initiations, review, or revision as well as all existing policies designated for review in the coming years. This is the 1st Priority Setting.

4.1.4 The policy issues, once ranked, are presented to the appropriate Board Committee for the 2nd Priority Setting. The Committee aligns the newly-prioritized policy issues with the existing priorities.

4.1.5 After the 2nd Priority Setting has taken place, the administration aligns the new policy priorities with the Long-Range Plan.

4.1.6 The Board approves the Plan to Develop Policy in specific area(s) as part of the Long-Range Plan.

4.1.7 Should the need arise to develop, review or revise a policy during the first year of the Long-Range Plan then the Board, by resolution, may alter the previously set priorities and direct Administration to follow Phases 4.2 to 4.4 for the policy area identified.

4.2 Phase Two - Development of Draft Policy


The Board endorses the concept that community participation in the affairs of schools is essential if the school district and the community are to maintain confidence and respect and work together to improve the quality of education of all students.

It also believes that effective citizen participation cannot be obtained if citizens may participate in decision making only at the district level. To respond fully to the needs and concerns of community groups, individual schools must work closely with their own school communities.

It is the Board's belief that the individual school should be a basic unit around which community participation in decision-making should be encouraged. Advisory committees for individual schools may be established, either on an ongoing basis or for a specific purpose; the Board shall set guidelines for the type of counsel such committees are asked to give the administration and the Board.


The Board believes that open communication between itself and the community it serves and represents shall enable the community to have a voice in the decision making process. All reasonable efforts shall be made to hear the community and be responsive through Board actions.

All citizens of the division have the following access to the Board:
1) written suggestions or proposals;
2) responses to surveys and referendums;
3) service on citizens' advisory committees; and
4) representation at Board meetings, with prior consent.


The Board, in recognition of the public's rights and responsibilities in education, encourages public involvement and participation in its decision making process and in constructive feedback relative to these decisions.

In keeping with this aim, the Board shall establish appropriate mechanisms to enable achievement of the following objectives.


1. The Board shall encourage public attendance at regular Board Meetings.

2. The Board shall schedule agenda time during each regular meeting to encourage public input and to respond to citizens' concerns.

3. The Board's Minutes shall be available for public scrutiny upon request at its administrative offices. This does not apply to sections of the Minutes pertaining to any confidential information.

4. The Board shall encourage representatives of the media to be present at each regular meeting for the purpose of disseminating information to all sectors of the community.

5. The Board shall encourage schools to maintain a policy of openness with and welcome to its community members.

6. The Board shall encourage all staff to be generous in offering information about authorized programs and special events to the media.

7. The Board shall promote the concept that parents have the right and responsibility to communicate with the school on issues affecting their children's education.

8. The Board shall invite comments on proposed policy during the course of the policy development and prior to adoption.

9. The Board shall make its policies available to the public at the Board Office, for examination and review.

10. The Board shall encourage and support home and school associations and parental participation and involvement in school activities.



The Board has the dual responsibility for implementing statutory requirements pertaining to public education and responding to the community's expectations and values as they pertain to the education of children.

Trustees, as elected representatives, are provided with authority under the School Act to exercise their best judgement in determining policies, making decisions and approving procedures for carrying out the responsibility. The Board confirms its intent to fulfil this mandate and its responsibilities to determine and assess the attitudes, opinion and values of the community.

The Board therefore reaffirms its intent to:

Have effective communication systems in place that inform staff and community about the efforts and progress of the school system as well as obtain feedback and progress of the school system as well as obtain feedback and input from the various stakeholders on relevant issues.

Promote and/or have established, supportive environments in schools that encourage parental, student and community involvement.

Establish policies and make decisions on the basis of the Mission Statement and Goals, especially as they pertain to the Year 2000 initiatives and the focus on the individual learner.

Act as a true representative body for citizens of the District in matters involving public education and ensure that the rights of parents, students and staff as defined by contracts and law, are observed and defended.



The Board has the dual responsibility for implementing statutory requirements pertaining to public education and responding to the community's expectations and values as they pertain to the education of children.

Trustees, as elected representatives, are provided with authority under the School Act to exercise their best judgement in determining policies, making decisions and approving procedures for carrying out the responsibility. The Board confirms its intent to fulfil this mandate and its responsibilities to determine and assess the attitudes, opinion and values of the community.

The Board therefore reaffirms its intent to: Have effective communication systems in place that inform staff and community about the efforts and progress of the school system as well as obtain feedback and progress of the school system as well as obtain feedback and input from the various stakeholders on relevant issues.

Promote and/or have established, supportive environments in schools that encourage parental, student and community involvement.

Establish policies and make decisions on the basis of the Mission Statement and Goals, especially as they pertain to the Year 2000 initiatives and the focus on the individual learner.

Act as a true representative body for citizens of the District in matters involving public education and ensure that the rights of parents, students and staff as defined by contracts and law, are observed and defended.


Childhood is both a beginning and an end in itself. As a beginning, it must be tempered by knowledge, skills and attitudes that will lead toward productive and rewarding adulthood. As an end in itself, it deserves unstinting respect of its unique spontaneity, needs and frailties. The quality we now impart to childhood is probably a close measure of the quality of our present and future welfare, as an ever expanding community of beings on an ever contracting planet. At the same time, the wellbeing of no community can be quite as precious as the purpose it ultimately serves: the well being of each individual member. While no single institutions can guarantee a bright and fruitful childhood for every child, we believe it morally incumbent upon our schools, in cooperation with parents to do everything within their legitimate means and power to guide each student toward constructive self-fulfilment and responsible citizenship, with due respect for his individual way of getting there.

Table of Contents

Policy Development: Blueprints For Action

Characteristics of an Effective Parent Involvement Policy Effective parent involvement policies tend to: Creating effective policy through a dynamic process is the key to successfully extending the learning community.

It is important to include parents and other members of the community when developing a policy on parent involvement. Before policy development begins, listen carefully to any concerns or ideas expressed by parents about parent involvement in the school or the community. Explain to the students, teachers, and parents that such a policy will contribute to the quality of education. Explain the process that will be used to develop the policy, and provide examples of the kinds of ideas that the policy is directed toward.

Involve as many different groups and individuals as you can. Use the development process as a springboard for educational activities such as workshops or seminars or meetings about parent involvement. Provide information to the public about the need for such a policy and how the policy will benefit the school and the community. The work you do in contacting others and letting them know about this policy will go a long way to putting the policy into action.

Typical steps in the policy planning process are:

1. Identify the need and develop a rationale with policy.

2. Consult with other boards of education which have developed similar policies. Their experiences may be informative. Samples of policies are included in Appendix D.

3. Talk to parents and community members, teachers, and students--the groups that will be involved.

4. Develop strategies for involving these groups in policy development.

5. Identify strategies to keep the board informed of progress.

6. Implement the plan for policy development.

7. Periodically assess the plan and make adjustments to the process as required.

8. Finalize policy.

9. Use the steps as a springboard for ongoing education about parent involvement.

A policy development guide sheet is provided in Appendix B.

When creating policy these are some important questions for your community to consider:

Through the policy development process the written product now includes:

A Statement of Philosophy that provides the rationale, background, and focus for the policy.

The Policy Statement that clearly states the board's commitment and expectations.

The policy may include a Definition of Terms to ensure that all stakeholders are viewing the same picture. This is an integral part of communicating the vision.

The policy might also include suggestions and examples to assist others in taking action based on the policy.

Putting the Policy to Work

Consider building in checkpoints and assessment strategies for this policy. How will you know it is achieving the desired results? it is working effectively? and when it is time to revisit the process and develop a new policy that reflects growth and new stakeholders? The strength of policy comes in the process of development and growth.

What communication channels can be used to inform parents, administrators, teachers, and community members about this policy?

Table of Contents


The importance of encouraging parents, families, and communities to be involved in the education of our children cannot be underestimated. Every one benefits . . . especially our children.

Partnerships develop through involvement, sharing, and mutual respect. Encouraging and welcoming the active support of parents in education extends into the wider communities for communities are made up of families.

Table of Contents


Adelman, H. 1994. Intervening to Enhance Home Involvement in Schooling. Intervention in School and Clinic. May, p. 276-287.

Baron, B., Baron, C., & McDonald, B. 1983. What Did You Learn in School Today? Warner Books: New York.

Berger, E.H. 1986. Parents as Partners in Education: The School and Home Working Together. Charles E. Myrell: Columbus, Ohio.

Bond, W.R. 1994. The Language of Policy. The Canadian School Executive, March, p. 13 - 15.

Canter, L., & Canter M. 1991. Parents On Your Side. Lee Canter and Associates: California.

Cervone, B., & O'Leary, K. 1982. A Conceptual Framework for Parent Involvement. Educational Leadership. November, p. 48 - 49.

Collins, C., Moles, O., & Cross, M. 1982. The Home School Connection. The Institute for Responsible Education: Massachusettes.

Davis, D. 1976. Schools Where Parents Make A Difference. Institutie for Responsible Education: Massachuttes.

Davis, F. 1988. Partners at School. A co-publication by the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, Saskatchewan Education and Saskatchewan School Trustees Association. Saskatchewan.

Decker, L. and Associates. 1990. Community Education: Building Learning Communities. National Education Committee, Virgina.

Decker, L., & Romney, V. 1992. Educational Restructuring and the Community Education Process. University of Virgina.

DeFranco, E. 1977. Home and School: A Partnership. Prentice-Hall Learning Systems Inc.: New Jersey.

Elke, D. 1993. What Happened to Our Schools, and What Can We do About It. Colorado Alliance of Business: Colorado.

Exploring Parental Involvement in Education. 1982. Paper presented at a seminar at the Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C.

Family Involvement. 1992. Principal. November Issue.

Ferhmann, P., Keith, T., & Reimers. 1987. Home Influence on School Learning: Direct and In-direct Effects of Parental Involvement on High School Grades. Journal of Educational Research. July/August, p. 330 - 337.

Ferre, D. 1992. Parental Involvement in School Decision-Making. Unpublished Masters Thesis: University of Saskatchewan.

Forsythe, L. 1993. Teacher as Researcher: Empowering children and involving parents in the evaluation process. Thesis: University of Regina.

Frontier School Division #48. 1989. Parental Involvement Handbook.

Fullan, M. 1991. The New Meaning of Educational Change. Teachers' College Press: New York.

Fullan, M. 1982. The Meaning of Educational Change. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education: Toronto.

Gasson, I.J., & Baxter, E.P. 1989. Getting the Most out of your Child's School. McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.: Ontario.

Habib, M. 1993. It is a Matter of Setting Priorities: The Strongest Factor Affecting a Child's Performance is Parental Involvement. The Leader Post: Regina, p. D8, October 12.

Henderson, A. 1991. Parent Participation, Student Achievement: The Evidence Grows. National Committee for Citizens and Education.

High School Review Advisory Committee. 1994. High School Review Advisory Committee - Final Report. Saskatchewan.

Horowitz, J. & Faggella, K. 1986. Partners for Learning. First Teacher Press: Conniticut.

Human Resources Development Canada and Saskatchewan Education, Training, and Employment. 1994. Steps in the Journey.

Louis, A. 1992. Parents Care Do Schools, A Look at the Research. Schools In the Middle. Winter, p. 10 - 11.

Males, A. 1993. Creating a Positive Image for Your School. . The Metropolitan Toronto School Board.

Nikiforuk, A. 1993. Discipline: Who is Responsible, Parents or Teachers. Chatelaine. March, p. 32.

Pearson, N. 1990. Parent Involvement Within the School: To Be or Not To Be. Education Canada. Fall, p. 14 - 17.

Postman, N., & Wingartner, C. 1973. The School Book. Dell Publishing Inc.: New York.

Pratt, D. 1994. Curriculum Planning: A Handbook for Professionals. Harcourt Briggs Publishers: Florida.

Rasinski, T., & Fredricks, A. 1989. Working with Parents: Dimensions of Parental Involvement. The Reading Teachers. November, p. 180 - 182.

Renihan, P., & Renihan, F. 1994. Encouraging Meaningful Parental Involvement. The School Trustee. February, p. 16 - 21.

Renihan, F., & Renihan, P. 1991. Parental involvement: The Forgotten Dimension in School Effectiveness. Unpublished paper: University of Saskatchewan.

Renihan, F. 1993. Parental Involvement: Towards Responsiveness. Closing Address-Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Seminar, May.

Rich, D. 1988. Mega-Skills: How Families Can Help Children Succeed in School and Beyond. Houghton-Mifflin & Company: Massachusettes.

Rogovin, A. 1991. Dear Parents: Letters to Parents of Young Children. Continental Press: Pennsylvannia.

Rosenkrantz, O. 1993. Teamwork: Parents are Key Players. Today's Parents. p. 15.

Rothwell, K. 1994. Parent Involvement in School: Towards a Partnership. Canadian School Boards Association: Ottawa.

Rutter, M. 1990. Six Strategies to Boost Parent Involvement. Executive Educator. p. 31.

Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment. 1994. Policy Directions for Secondary Education in Saskatchewan. Minister's Response to the High School Review Advisory Committee - Final Report.

Saskatchewan Education. 1991. Voluntarism--The Challenge. January.

Saskatchewan Federation of Home and School Associations. 1994. Parents - Partners in Education. A one-day information and exploratory session for parents, teachers, trustees and administrators. April: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Federation of Home and School Associations. 1993. What's New for Home and School In Saskatchewan. November/December.

Saskatchewan School Trustees Association. 1980. School-Community Relations Handbook.

Saskatchewan School Trustees Association. 1992. Indian and Metis Education: Present Realities and Future Directions.

Saskatchewan School Trustees Association. 1993. Indian and Metis Education: Engaging Parents as Partners.

Saskatchewan School Trustees Association. 1993. Task Force on Educational Governance - Final Report.

Siefert, K. 1993. Can Parents and Teachers Learn from Each Other? The Canadian School Executive. p. 24 - 26.

Storey, V. 1989. Building the Parent Partnership: A Guide for School Leaders. EduServ Inc.: Vancouver.

The Little Things Make a Big Difference. 1991. World Book Educational Products. Video.

The Practitioner. 1992. School and Family Partnerships. June, p. 1 - 8.

Townsend, T. Issues in Parental Involvement: An International Perspective. South Pacific Centre for School and Community Development, Faculty of Education, Monash University.

Vachae & McLaughlin, T. 1993. School Failure and Cultural Capital: Families of At Risk Students. The Canadian School Executive. November, p. 8 - 11.

Voltz, D. 1994. Developing Collaborative Parent Teacher Relationships with Culturally Diverse Parents. Intervention in School and Clinic. May, p. 288 - 291.

White, G. & Matz, C. 1992. Steps to Success. Schools in the Middle. Summer, p. 15 - 19.

Wikelund, K. 1990. Schools and Communities Together, A Guide to Parent Involvement. Northwest Regional Educational Library, Portland, Oregon.

Will, G. 1989. Parents and Teachers: Partners in Learning. Scholastic, Ontario.

Table of Contents

Saskatchewan's Community Schools

The community schools program is designed to strengthen the bonds between schools and their communities. The program's major objective is to involve parents and community members in the education system for the mutual benefit of the school and the community. Currently there are eighteen community schools in Saskatchewan, and these schools encourage the community use of facilities, community involvement in the regular school and classroom programs, community based adult education programs, additional programs for children and youth, community development, coordination of social services and representative community school councils.

In the Minister's response to the High School Review Advisory Committee's Final Report - Policy Directions for Secondary Education in Saskatchewan, (Saskatchewan Education Training and Employment 1994) indicates that the committee's recommendations regarding roles and responsibilities included recommendations centred on a broad adoption of the community school model. The department will undertake a review of the community schools program and other programs in the department serving at risk children to develop a new conceptual framework and provide direction for a new generation of community schools.

A key objective of the review will be to identify ways to promote the adoption of the principles and practices of community schools by all schools. The potential outcomes include greater student retention, increased attendance and achievement, enhanced community involvement in education, improved self-worth and pride in school among schools, and decreased prejudice and racism.

Scott Collegiate in Regina and Princess Alexandra School in Saskatoon are two current examples of community schools in the province.

Table of Contents

Appendix B

Encouraging Parent Involvement

Successful parental involvement at the school level is encouraged when a welcoming climate is developed in schools, there is a sense of mutual respect, and parents share a common cause and a meaningful reason for being involved.

Most parents said that they could do more if teachers would tell them what to do.

A Welcoming Climate can be developed when we:

2 A Sense of Mutual Respect is Essential

Respect can be demonstrated when we:

Parents Must Share a Common Cause And Reason For Involvement

This can be developed through:

Key Considerations for Involving Parents in School

1. Keep the school open, friendly, and helpful.

2. Maintain frequent and clear two-way communication with parents.

3. Encourage parents to comment on school policies and, when appropriate, share in decision-making.

4. Forge partnerships with all families connected with the school.

5. Promote parent and community volunteer participation.

6. Develop a plan at the school level.

7. Provide inservice for staff about working with parents.

Why People Volunteer

Some Ideas

1. Start small but START.

2. Prepare staff members and parents. Share ideas and information.

3. Share the vision.

4. Establish short exercises that parents can do at home with their children.

5. Hold workshops for parents and teachers.

6. Encourage parents to involve or help other parents.

7. Nurture a climate of openness and sharing.

Parent Involvement Policy Development Worksheet

1. Is there a need for parent involvement in your school/school division?

2. Who are the individuals and groups in your community that would have an interest in parent involvement?

3. How would you get input from the various individuals and groups in your community?

4. What individual or group would write the drafts of your policy?

5. How would you involve the Board of Education?

6. How would you keep them informed of feedback received from individuals and groups?

7. How would you use the process of developing a parent involvement policy to educate students, teachers, parents and community members as well as to get their input concerning the policy?

8. What aspects of your plan might need to be adapted as you proceed with the development of the parent involvement policy?

9. What is the first thing you would do after the final version of the parent involvement policy was formally adopted by the Board?

Essential Tips for Learning at School

1. Parent visitation days, with invitations designed and written by the children, provide a way to acquaint parents with the school's program and services.

2. Assisting teachers with special classroom activities and projects, such as bookmaking, science experiments, cooking, field trips, etc.

3. Using parents' special talents and expertise to enrich the curriculum.

4. Reading to children and listening to children read.

5. Tutoring children who need extra help.

6. Assisting with band, chorus, drama, and other programs in the arts.

7. Helping supervise and direct before- and after-school programs for children.

8. Assisting with the organization and supervision of grade-level or schoolwide projects, such as a read-a-thon, book fair, meet-the-author program, book-swap, reading carnival, and ice cream social/awards night.

Essential Tips for Learning at Home

1. Talk with your child about daily events and take time to listen to what your child wants to tell you. Conversation around the dinner table about everyday and world events promotes learning.

2. Read aloud to your child often--every day if possible--and encourage your child to read to you. The best way to help children become better readers is to begin to read to them when they are infants. The more children read, both in school and outside, the more they will improve their reading abilities. And take your child to the library to get his or her own library card.

3. Encourage children to draw and scribble stories at home. This will help them learn to write with greater confidence in school.

4. Take your child to new and different places, such as museums, historical sites, and nature centers. Talk about what you have seen.

5. Supervise television viewing. Choose good programs and set some time limits--and talk with your children about the programs they do watch.

6. Be generous in showing affection and express interest in your child's everyday activities and accomplishments.

7. Establish a regular time and place for doing homework, encourage your child's efforts, and offer praise when assignments are completed.

8. Encourage good health practices by making sure your child has three nutritious meals a day, gets plenty of exercise and sleep, and has regular medical and dental check-ups.

9. Instill self-confidence by encouraging your child to believe in his or her self-worth and abilities.

10. Monitor how your child spends his or her time outside of school. Limit video games and television viewing and encourage reading, hobbies, scouts, and other worthwhile activities that provide learning opportunities.

11. Make sure your child attends school regularly, show an interest in what is being learned at school, and communicate that education is important. Belief in the value of hard work, personal responsibility, and the importance of education all contribute to greater success in school.

12. Be a role model for your child. Children imitate what they see their parents doing. If you read, your child will want to read.

Homeworking, an excellent resource that is full of ideas, is published by The Metropolitan Toronto School Board.

From Policy to Planning at the School Level

Planning for Parent and Family Involvement (Dobber & Epstein)

1. Assess current strengths and weaknesses to determine the appropriate starting point for developing comprehensive programs.

2. Identify new and attainable goals for teachers, administrators, and parents; and identify the teams, committees, or individuals responsible for gauging progress toward those goals.

3. Evaluate programs in terms of their goals and report findings to constituent groups.

4. Support program development will continue with attention and assistance.

Encouraging Involvement at the School Level

Top 20 Tips

1. Make parent involvement a schoolwide effort. Teachers and administrators must be committed to parent involvement, and staff enthusiasm stimulates greater parent participation.

2. Provide interesting and timely information about upcoming events and activities. Reminder notices and telephone calls provide additional encouragement.

3. Maintain a warm and friendly school environment where parents feel comfortable, needed, and respected.

4. Student interest generates parent interest. Students can make personal invitations, plan activities, and serve as hosts.

5. Develop activities and projects that involve the entire family.

6. Make your outreach efforts contagious by involving as many parents, teachers, students, administrators, and community members as possible.

7. Schedule activities for the convenience of parents, not schools.

8. Communicate frequently with parents through a brief phone call or note.

9. Provide parents with many opportunities to discuss their children's interests and achievements. And acknowledge those achievements. Parents like to see their children succeed.

10. Suggest home activities that extend the natural relationship between parents and children and provide opportunities for family interaction in ways that are educationally interesting and meaningful.

11. Call frequently with brief messages of good news to convey the idea that a call from school is not just about problems. One call a day means 190 calls through the year.

12. Approach parents with a nonjudgemental attitude to discover reasons for noninvolvement. Sometimes parents just need information and encouragement.

13. Consider home visits, especially for parents who, for whatever reason, do not come to school.

14. Hold parent meetings in locations other than the school--homes, churches, or community centers for parents who may be intimidated by the school environment.

15. Enlist parents in a telephone tree to spread the word about special school activities and projects.

16. Coordinate with local community organizations and agencies that offer services to families. Schools can link families in need of social services to agencies about which they might not be aware.

17. Become involved in such neighbourhood projects as day care, health, and recreation to demonstrate to parents that the school cares about issues affecting their welfare.

18. Provide child care and transportation for special events and activities.

19. Do not give up on any parent. Be patient with parents. Some may be reluctant to get involved due to any number of reasons. Keep trying.

20. Recognize parents for their efforts: happygrams, certificates, awards, thank-you letters, end-of-year celebrations, phone calls.

Parent Invovement Program Survey

Name ________________________________ Phone _____________
Address __________________________________________________
Children in School (s)
Name of Child Age School

I would like to learn more about:
______ things I can do to help my child in school
______ how to help in the school and classroom
______ school policies and programs
______ parenting
______ parents in the community
______ what's going on in the community for me and my family
______ ways in which I can assist my child with homework
______ the special people who work with my child

I could go to meetings:
______ in the morning
______ in the afternoon
______ in the evening
______ on weekends

I think the best place for parents to get together is:
______ in a home
______ at the school
______ community center/library
______ other

Return this form to your child's teacher by: _______________________

Adapted from Lyons, Peggy Robbins, Al & Smith, Allen. (1983). Involving Parents: A Handbook for Participation in Schools.

Table of Contents

Appendix C

A Parent's Code of Ethics

I WILL establish a direct and personal contact with my child's school by visiting it and getting first-hand knowledge of its teaching activities and facilities.

I WILL demonstrate constructive attitudes towards the school and its programs, by supporting and cooperating with the teaching staff and the school board to the fullest possible extent.

I WILL make no criticism of the school without ensuring that I have accurate and first-hand information.

I WILL encourage a positive attitude on the part of my child and will refrain from criticism of the teachers or the school in his or her presence.

I WILL expect nothing for myself or for my child which is contrary to the interest of the entire school.

I WILL accept my share of responsibility for the partnership of home and school in the education of children.

I WILL provide conditions favourable to study at home.

I WILL cooperate with the school in developing and protecting the health and character of children.

I WILL seek to learn about educational aims and methods so that I may better understand my child's school.

Back to: Parent Involvement