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7 Tips for Improving Parent Engagement in Schools

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By Jay Cooper
Oct 24, 2023 12:30:00 PM

Positive parent engagement is, hands down, the great elixir for many of education's ails. If you’re not actively working to keep parents engaged in their child’s education, you may be missing the biggest influence on student success – parent involvement. Research shows that student success is most dependent on something that occurs mostly outside your building – parent involvement.

In numerous studies, researchers have found that student success in the classroom is most heavily influenced by his or her parents’ ability to:

  1. Encourage learning and education
  2. Set high – but not unrealistic – educational standards and goals
  3. Become involved in school and community activities

Researchers have also found that students who do benefit from strong parental involvement have:

  • Higher overall achievement, regardless of socioeconomic, ethnic or racial background
  • A higher completion level on homework
  • A higher level of self-esteem in all aspects of life
  • Better social behavior and a lower probability that they will get into trouble outside of school
  • Greater comfort navigating different cultural environments between home and school
  • Less likelihood of being placed in special education courses
  • Less probability of dropping out of high school

How to increase parent involvement

You can’t force a parent to be involved in their child’s education, but you can encourage and facilitate it. Parents are more likely to be involved if you make it easy for them. Twice-a-year parent-teacher conferences aren’t enough anymore. In a world of dual-income households, single-parent households, and unconventional work hours, you should provide multiple opportunities for them to fit engagement and interaction into their schedules.

The good news is that the digital age offers a wide variety of tools to allow parents to connect with your school and teachers. Using today's digital communications channels – and some old-school ones – can increase parental involvement:


1. Online advice videos

Parents and teachers can share ideas via web videos on your school’s website. Teachers can provide guidance on how parents can help with certain assignments and parents can provide feedback on areas where their child may need extra help.


2. A dedicated blog and online calendar

One of the biggest objections to parental involvement is that parents are so busy that they just don’t know when events are happening. A dedicated parent blog, accompanied by social media presence and an event calendar, can keep them in the loop.


3. Social media that connects to parents

The number of parents using social media is increasing at an alarming rate. Examine your school’s social media policy and begin planning to communicate on an ongoing basis using popular channels like Facebook and Instagram. Social media provides excellent ways to connect parents to your school’s website and begin engaging them.


4. Home visits and parent/teacher conferences

Just because we live in a digital world doesn’t mean that face-to-face interaction is dead. On the contrary, nothing can replace an in-person visit.


5. Family nights

Hosting an Open House event in which a student’s entire family can visit the school and classroom in an informal and laid-back setting builds the parent-teacher relationship. It also eliminates the pressure and expectations of a formal sit-down meeting. Allowing students to bring siblings and parents to their classroom ensures a greater sense of confidence within the student and lets parents see the day-to-day operation of their child’s education.


6. Volunteer opportunities

Special volunteer opportunities give parents the chance to transition from spectator to active participant in the school and their child’s education. It can also give them a greater understanding of what their child does on a daily basis and what challenges he or she may face.


7. School mobile app

All of us are relying on mobile apps to stay on top of news and entertainment, so it only makes sense your school has a mobile app to keep parents involved. Make sure yours is fully integrated with your website and has all the necessary links to calendars, school feeds, and all the resources your parents depend on to stay connected to your school. 


Plus a website

One of the best ways to coordinate many of these parent engagement activities is through the school website. It's a school communications hub where parents can easily find frequently accessed content like event calendars, forms (e.g., for volunteering), videos, and online conferencing options. A fully integrated website-mobile app school-home communication solution can help accelerate boosting your parent involvement.  

For more help on how to improve parent engagement, refer to the School Communications Planning Guide.

School Website Planning Guide Download Now

Two more related quick-reference articles:

7 Tips to Boost Parent Engagement – This article by Hannah Gross published in neaToday takes a look at how to spark community conversations to get parents more involved.

6 Key School Communication Channels and How to Use ThemMake the most of these digital channels to be sure you're reaching parents, staff, students and your community effectively.

Topics: Communication School Districts Private schools Parent engagement

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About the author

Marketing manager and content strategist for SchoolStatus, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who has helped school districts, universities, and businesses generate support and optimize relationships. Reach him at jay.cooper@schoolstatus.com.