Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons From Five Parental Information And Resource Centers
June 2007
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Ensuring success for all students is a monumentally important task that requires the cooperation of those with the greatest influence in children's lives-parents and teachers. Taken as a whole, the strategies presented in this guide are aimed at generating that cooperation on behalf of higher student achievement.

Given their differing constituents, locations, resources, and staff expertise, the highlighted PIRCs operate in different manners. Not all of them use all of the same strategies. Nor do they all implement the same strategies in the same way. Nonetheless, there are enough general patterns and similarities to validate the promising nature of these approaches and to underscore the importance of the following suggestions, in particular:

  • Assess the needs of your constituents. This means understanding the range of communication and training needs of parents in the schools and districts being served, as well as understanding how different education agencies need to evolve if they are effectively to include parents as partners.
  • Be creative in efforts to engage all parents, including those who are considered hard-to-reach because, for example, they live in remote areas, do not speak English, are homeless, or have developed a mistrust of schools due to their own education experience.
  • Prepare parents and educators alike for partnership by ensuring that both parties are familiar with NCLB parent involvement requirements, understand why these requirements are important, and are adequately trained to work together.
  • Build greater organizational capacity and avoid duplicative or conflicting efforts by promoting networks and other cross-collaboration efforts among multiple organizations that have similar goals, including parent involvement organizations, education agencies, and a range of community-based organizations.

Through these efforts, PIRCs and other parent involvement organizations can seed and nurture strong parent-educator partnerships, helping to ensure that parents and educators alike understand parents' essential role in their children's education and are prepared to work together to achieve greater student success.

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Last Modified: 06/15/2009