For a long time schools have focused their energies on parent involvement, measuring how often and how many parents show up to events and parent-teacher conferences. The higher the numbers, the more schools think they have high parent engagement. But parent involvement and parent engagement are two very different things.
An effectively engaged parent not only supports education at school, but also supports it at home. Such a parent engages in quality communication with teachers and school officials as well as with their own child. An engaged parent attends to the needs of the child while building the foundation for academic success. After all, 92 percent of a child’s life from birth through high school is spent at home while only eight percent is spent at school.
How do you know when you have effective parent engagement? Look for the following seven outcomes that are clear indicators that parents are effectively engaged at your school:
- Higher Attendance Rates – when parents make education a known value at home, they make school attendance a priority. Engaged parents insist their students show up to class ready to learn.
- Higher Graduation Rates – when parents have high expectations of their children, children thrive and succeed. Engaged parents encourage their students to persevere.
- Lower Teacher Turnover – a school culture that is built on family engagement and participation reduces the burden on teachers and allows them to get back to what they love: teaching. Engaged parents help to keep teachers from burning out.
- Lower Rates of Bullying – children learn morality, kindness, and compassion most effectively at home. Engaged parents focus on their child’s citizenship and personal value system.
- Higher Self-Control – parents provide necessary structure in a child’s life. Engaged parents set boundaries that students thrive within.
- Better Nutrition Choices – the habits that are developed at home are habits that a child will carry with him or her into adulthood. Engaged parents make health and well-being a priority.
- Higher Scores – decades of research have shown that one of the prominent components in children who succeed is having parents who are fully and effectively engaged in their education and their life. Engaged parents lay the foundation for success.
Parents will always bear the burden of a child’s growth and development, so when schools make parent engagement a priority, they are making their students’ success a priority.