Education Market | Parent Volunteers in School Settings

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As the school year starts, we are reminded about the importance of parent involvement in their children’s school. Research from the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education shows states, “No matter their income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school.” Support from parents can benefit kids of all ages and at any academic level. American Solutions for Business can help keep that connection strong.

Overcoming Pandemic Concern:

COVID provided a lot of disruption in the education world, including volunteers. A California State University study evaluated how the pandemic shook up the volunteer pool. Parent volunteers make in-class activities easier, and they want to feel engaged with their child’s school, but coronavirus policies limited access to schools. The report explained, “Balancing necessity, enthusiasm, and caution are argued to be the most effective way to achieve a school’s parent involvement goals.” Work with school administration to make your district’s COVID policy is clear and communicated with the students and faculty.

Start off Strong:

Introducing yourself to new families can be intimidating for everyone. Encourage them to fill out a parental survey. This will have need-to-know info for the student, but also place a few questions for their adults. Ask if they have any talents or experiences that may be good for the classroom. They may be equipped to help out in the library, technology, or field trips.

Be direct with the families by telling them how much you would appreciate their help throughout the year. By setting the expectation, the parent knows that they may be needed to help in the classroom at one point. Have special event days set where the family can sign up to assist or send along items for a class party. The third Thursday in November is designated as National Parental Involvement Day. Plan a fun family learning night to give them a second chance to get interested in helping. American has a strong selection of activities to support these events.

Keep Communication Open:

Parents are busy and can lose track of what is going on in their child’s classroom. Have a set way of reaching out to families whether it be through group text, email, or an app. Sending out regular newsletters can remind parents of upcoming events where they may be needed. In the same way, be open and ask for feedback. This shows the family you care about the students as well as you want to improve yourself for them.

Props Prove Points:

When a parent is a visual learner, using physical items can help drive down the impact they have in their child’s life. One method involves holding up a yard stick. Each inch represents 2 years of their child’s life. By the time they start kindergarten they are at the 2 ½” mark. The 9” spot is where the student graduates. Those 6 ½ inches show just how little time parents have with their children before they are fully grown.  Provide each family with a branded yardstick they can bring home as a reminder.

With these practices in place, hopefully your school will gain more volunteers making it easier for teachers and creating memories for students. Reach out to American Solutions for Business for assistance. As former Arizona Governor Jane D Hull puts it, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”

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