New York City schools will soon be rated based on how well they work with parents. This new metric was announced by Chancellor Dennis Walcott on October 26 in a meeting introducing an overhaul of how the city’s education system engages with families. Walcott said the plan would start with 10 to 15 pilot schools that have yet to be chosen.
He didn’t reveal how parent interactions would figure in formal school ratings but said they would be judged on whether they successfully communicate with families and “provide a diverse range of roles for parents in the school community.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the position of parent coordinators in an attempt to maintain a local link between parents and their schools when he first started his term. However, Mr. Walcott indicated that greater parental involvement is necessary to make sure students are ready for college.
Mr. Walcott said he would address the problems by opening “parent academies” in every borough. He did not lay out a specific vision for what these academies would look like, but he said they could provide services as simple as giving parents tips on working with their children on homework or help parents become school leaders. (See full article.)
Parental involvement is much more than attending parent-teacher conferences and helping children with homework. With increased pressure to improve schools, many educators are looking for effective ways to enlist the support of parents to create a learning community during the academic year as well as during the summer months. It is essential that educators give parents the tools they need to participate and demonstrate that learning is not confined to the classroom.
Teaching Safari, a division of Chicago School Supply, now offers professional development seminars that specifically address improving parental involvement.
Schoodoodle.com offers a wide variety of instructional materials that can facilitate parental involvement for students in preschool through high school and enable parents to be true partners with educational organizations.