Classroom Insights / Jul 06, 2023

5 Questions School Leaders Ask For Family Involvement Planning

5 Questions School Leaders Ask For Family Involvement Planning

Summer break is a time of rejuvenation and reflection for school leaders, a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the academic year to reset in every way. It’s also an opportune moment to lay the groundwork for stronger positive parent-teacher relationships that will contribute to a thriving school community. 

TL;DR for “5 Questions School Leaders Ask…

    • Family involvement planning for teachers can reduce burnout and workload, so creating a well-thought-out parent involvement plan is essential. 
      • Train staff by building around the questions:
        • What can you start this week?
        • What can you start this school year?
        • How will you support your staff during the school year?
        • What tools will you use to support your staff? 
        • How will you monitor effectiveness?

Making your Family Engagement Plan? Use our template!

As you enjoy the quiet office to accomplish tasks, keeping parent involvement at the forefront of your mind is essential. By dedicating some time this summer to crafting a well-structured parent engagement plan, you can set the stage for fruitful collaboration and effective communication with families in the upcoming school year. 

Creating a comprehensive, actionable family involvement blueprint can be manageable when approaching it with a practical mindset. By helping teachers navigate the process with essential questions, you can empower them to take meaningful action and make the most of the summer break. 

So, let’s explore the five crucial questions that will guide you this summer to build positive parent-teacher relationships and strengthen your school’s community fabric.

Increase Parent Involvement With An Engagement Plan

Think of outlines and timelines to improve parent involvement planning in your school or district. Create a well-thought-out plan to outline the strategies, actions, and support needed to foster effective communication and collaboration with families. 

But don’t do it all at once. After all, that would be overwhelming for you and the staff, and it is only natural that teachers and staff will have different strategies and timelines that work best for them.

Instead, consider helping yourself and your staff to organize their plans practically around these five key questions. And, once created, commit to them by displaying the goals prominently where you are sure to see them daily– no burying them under a forgotten stack of papers!

The Five Questions

1. What can you get started on this week or month?

If you plan over the summer and/or during a school vacation, determine what actions you can take now or within the next month

Summer is ideal for teachers to prepare for effective family involvement planning, so encourage your educators to use this period to plan with forethought. Teachers can also familiarize themselves with communication tools, brainstorm ideas for personalized outreach, and collaborate with colleagues to share best practices.

Pro-tip: If you encourage teachers to plan over the summer, provide a very specific request as to why, and seek a way for them to earn incentives (like PD credits).

Searching for free Parent-Teacher Professional Development for yourself or your staff? Discover our 1 HR and 4 HR PDs here!  

Elevated Family Involvement

2. What can we start this school year?

Although everyone wishes they could knock out all the updates over the summer while they have the time, much of your updated plan will roll out once the staff is back in the building.

Provide teachers with professional development and training opportunities to equip them with the knowledge and skills to engage with parents effectively. Offer workshops, seminars, or online courses on building parent-teacher relationships, creating effective communication strategies, and expanding cultural competence. 

By investing time and resources into professional growth, staff will feel supported and empowered to engage with parents confidently.

Join various school and district leaders, teachers, family liaisons, Title 1 coordinators, communications team members, and more for a collaborative sharing and learning conversation to take away ideas for your Parent-Teacher involvement. 

School Resource Library

3. How will staff be supported throughout the school year?

Research and select strategies and actions to enhance parent engagement throughout the school year. Not all of them are costly. Some are free, while others can be covered with grants and funding.

Consider a combination of the actions outlined below in this blog (proactive outreach, streamlined communication, setting boundaries, allocating dedicated time) and any other approaches that align with your school or district’s unique needs and context.

Provide ongoing support and resources to teachers as they implement their parent involvement and communication strategies. Offer guidance, mentoring, and collaborative opportunities for sharing successes and challenges. 

Pro-tip: Create a repository of resources, including sample communication templates, effective practices, and research-based articles, that teachers can refer to for inspiration and guidance.

Thinking of creating a repository of resources for your staff? Feel free to take from ours, based on Parent-Teacher Communication and Engagement!

5 Modified

4. What tools should staff use?

Regularly assess the impact of your parent-involvement efforts to make data-driven decisions and refine your approach. Collect feedback from teachers, parents, and students to gain insights into the effectiveness of different strategies. Then, use that information to make adjustments, celebrate wins, and address any areas with further support.

Help teachers select appropriate tools and platforms for effective communication with parents. Consider options like ClassTag Connect for the school or district, which sync with your SIS system and offer features such as messaging, event reminders, and progress updates.

How will you monitor for family involvement effectiveness?

5. How will you monitor effectiveness?

Decide how to assess the current state of parent involvement in your school or district. If you have already planned for Question #4, this question will be easy to answer. 

Using a tool can help normalize findings and make the methodology consistent. Then moving forward, it makes monitoring effectiveness easier and more accurate. Additional ways you can go about monitoring for effectiveness include gathering feedback from teachers, parents, and administrators to identify improvement areas. 

Your assessments will serve as a baseline for measuring progress and identifying specific goals.

Some data to collect to set your baseline:

  • Family Surveys
  • Reach & Connectivity Data/Open Rates
  • Involvement & Communication Data
  • Event Attendance
  • Communication Audits/Documentation

Want more guidance on creating a full school improvement plan? Read this.

The Bottom Line

As the summer unfolds, seize the opportunity to engage in thoughtful family involvement planning, equip your staff with the necessary tools and training, and establish a supportive framework for ongoing collaboration. 

Remember, strong and supportive parent-teacher partnerships don’t happen overnight. It doesn’t come from a one-off effort, but a continuous exploration that requires consistent dedication and nurturing. Start by implementing the strategies and actions to address the five questions and adapt them to the unique needs of your school or district. Although the first couple of years may be more of an experiment on what works best, the five questions will eventually become part of your success routine. 

Want user-friendly all-in-one parent communication tools, aligned with your school’s data privacy and security policies? See the comparisons

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