Youth Share Ideas on Getting More Parents Engaged in Schools

Oct. 11, 2013 / By

Thanks to the voter-approved Local Control Funding Formula, parents, students and community members will be having more control over school spending and the decisions being made to improve schools in California.

But studies show that parents are not as engaged in schools as they should be. So how do you get parents more involved in making those decisions?

VoiceWaves asked some its young people, “What do you think it would take to increase parent involvement in Long Beach schools?” The excerpts below highlight their responses.

Understandably, living situations, finances and other factors should be considered. The responsibility of parents should be treated as a duty to their child rather than an obligation to the school. By changing this mentality, pressure can be taken off the teachers, allowing them to concentrate on engaging parents with their children’s education. A parent shouldn’t only get a call because their child is failing in class, but because they are succeeding in it as well. –Oscar Bautista, 22

If there were more direct communication from the child’s school to the child’s parent, parent involvement would increase. When there is room for improvement, parents should be told what they can do to help and what their involvement’s benefits will be. –Piper Olefer, 16

Schools should hire certified food handlers to prepare food for school meetings with parents. Children can be sent home with flyers that offer information about the meeting and making sure it is known that there will be free food. After the food brings parents, educators can engage them about educational issues. –Kallayan Thuch, 26

I believe increasing parent engagement begins with educating the parents on the things they can do to aid in their child’s success. –Jaymar Latchison, 24

Engaging parents in their child’s education can be done through three main methods: furthering communication, adding incentives, and bringing parents together for more parent-focused social gatherings. –Anna Leon, 19

A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health, social services, youth, community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. With all the tools, models and strategies parent engagement should be at an all time high. I truly believe in the community school model to increase parent engagement in schools to improve student health and success. –Christopher Covington, 22

It would greatly improve each student’s education if the schools promoted and began parent involvement programs. Schools should offer more regular parent meetings, give parents regular updates on school events, and perhaps promotional incentives. These ideas could effectively make the parent feel as if they are participating in the school as regularly as their child, making them more concerned and informed about their child’s education. –David Shelton, 16

A solution to this problem would be to use technology to keep parents updated on their child’s schoolwork and school related events. A simple email or letter in the mail explaining the importance of education and how parents should be involved could make a difference to some families. The school website and their bulletins could always help get parents involved with their child’s education. –Jocelyn Sanchez, 16

I believe by convincing parents that to get a better understanding of their kids, they should attend a seminar with their children about how to improve the way they live in the community. If they have better knowledge as to what really goes on when they’re not around, they’d understand why motivation is lacking lately. It’s not something that someone just decides to not have one day. It is built up day by day. –Violet Galdamez, 18

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VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of community health issues and activate change.