Parental Involvement in the Classroom

Article excerpt

Improving parental involvement with public schools can improve schools. Parental involvement is highly important for pushing the public school systems to higher standards. Also, research reports that engaging parents in an active role in the school curriculum can open alternative opportunities for children to succeed in academics. This report will present information that addresses the amount of contact that parents have with school and the amount of time they volunteer in the classrooms. To develop effective parent-involvement programs, which range from greater support for the school programs to improved student achievement, researchers must investigate how to help school leaders identify practices and policies that encourage parent trust and involvement in the process of schooling.

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Because of the rapid advance of the high standards, accountability, and testing movements in schools throughout the nation, there will be a need to engage families and communities as partners. Schools success and community success are linked. Schools are seldom able to be much better than their neighborhoods and surrounding communities. Neighborhoods and communities are seldom able to stay healthy without good schools. Schools should be active partners with parents. Parents are an important part of the process of improving schools, as is giving parents an effective voice in decision making in the schools. Schools and teachers have long recognized the need to establish cooperative links between school and family. Collaboration between parents and schools has taken on increased importance as society recognizes the need to help parents with the difficult responsibility of educating their children. Extending efforts to build partnerships in parental involvement may spark strategies that will benefit students.

Getting Parents Involved

Nistler and Angela (2000) focused on how a parent-student program could work with low-income urban parents. The authors developed a program involving parents and students from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. on designated Fridays. This study focused on first grade students for two different school years. Approximately one-third of the parents had no high school diploma. The program had four phases. The first phase consisted of parents and students reading poems aloud in the class. The second phase consisted of parents and students reading and singing the alphabet song. The third phase consisted of parents and students participating in various literacy and math programs. Finally, the last phase consisted of a parent-teacher conference. During year one 96.5% of the students had a parent or a representative to attend. During year two 94.5% of the students had a parent or representative present. The authors found if they removed barriers such as babysitting and transportation, the parents showed for class. Soon, the program had a sense of ownership for the parents. Even if the parents lacked "knowledge, they were still interested and wanted to take part in the school program.

Simmons-Morton and Crump (2003) conducted a study with students in grades sixth through eighth in four middle schools in suburban Maryland school district. The students were surveyed at the beginning and end of each grade level investigated. A Liken-type survey instrument was used to assess student background, psychosocial, school, and parent variables and involvement in problem behavior. Only social competence and parental involvement were independent predictors of both school adjustment and school engagement. School climate was not associated independently with either school adjustment or school engagement. Depression was associated with school adjustment, but not associated with school engagement. Moreover, parental involvement was a better predictor of school adjustment and engagement than other measures of parenting behavior, including monitoring and expectations.

Munoz (2000) studied the differences in student learning on reading and mathematics related to parental volunteerism in Kindergarten. …