When I was in school, my teachers sent home a printed calendar every week listing the next week's events. Book fairs, holiday events, when report cards were going out — it was all there. It was simple, and it helped my parents stay in the loop and know what I had going on. Flash forward to today, and a folded piece of paper at the bottom of a kid's backpack probably isn't going to cut it when it comes to school-parent transparency. People are busier than ever, and everything a parent has to juggle continues to grow, especially with the amount of hours in a standard work week higher than ever.
At the same time, we now know how important parental involvement in school is for student success. A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement by Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp made that clear, as well as programs like the PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Their heavily researched findings concluded that when parents get more involved in their child's school life, those students feel more confident, prepared and supported. Their academic performance improves as well, and they have a greater understanding that school and their participation matters.
Given that the role of educational institutions is to facilitate student success as much as possible, what can schools do to help parents get more involved? That old event calendar on your school's website that has limited information and no one ever updates is probably just as ineffective as a wrinkled piece of paper. No matter how busy, most parents truly want to be involved, so it's a school's responsibility to meet them halfway by providing sufficient, up-to-date information on school events.
If your school sees low participation from parents in after-school activities, consider whether your line of communication about these events is open wide enough. How are you telling parents about events? How much notice do you give them? What kind of details do you provide? Parents today need quick, succinct information. They need to be able to pull out their phones and see the what, where, when and why all in one place, without further investigation.
That said, having a modern, responsive solution that puts the details of every soccer game, holiday play, choir recital, dance and science fair at parents' fingertips is the least a school can do to lessen the divide between schools and parents when it comes to student success.
Robust, easy-to-use solutions like Event Essentials Pro™ from SchoolDude allows schools to do their part for parents and empowers parents to get involved with their kids.