Friday, November 26, 2010

The Four (4) Levels of Parental - School Involvement by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

      The Four (4) Levels of Parental - School Involvement by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

There is a distinct difference between being involved in a child’s education and being involved within his/her school. Although, and if you have a child in school, it is in the best interest of and beneficial to the child that you, the parent(s) get involved within the school. Today, we will look at and provide a brief overview of four levels of parental - school involvement and often the attitudes of parents at each level. The various levels of Parental involvement are as following:

Ø  Non-involvement Level- (Parents’ attitude- Don’t Call Me!) perhaps, the term appears contradictory in terms of being listed as one of four levels of parental - school involvement. Generally parents at this level do not visit or interact with their children’s school(s). For the most part, they show little to no interest in their children’s education. Repeated calls or notes are ignored and scheduled conferences unattended. There are two important facts to keep in mind; 1) even though non-involved, that parent or guardian was responsible for having enrolled the child in school and by law, he/she has certain rights of which the school must comply. So, even though viewed as non-involved, the parent remains involved, if from solely a legal standpoint. 2) You make a grave mistake dismissing or “writing a parent off” without attempting to obtain his/her reason(s) for non-involvement and/or fail to find a solution. Such is in the school’s best interest, because you will oversee and educate the child of that parent(s) for five to six years. I have personally witnessed parents who have gone from non-involved parents to supporters of the school and dedicated advocates for their children.
Ø  Involvement as it relates to the Child, but not necessarily the School- (Parents’ attitude- Call me only and when necessary). Parents at this level support their children, but may or may not be involved in their children’s education or school(s). They have clearly defined lines between parental responsibilities vs. those of the school and educators. They generally either have high expectations of the school or very little to none. Their role as they view it in education is to prepare and equip their children for school; they expect the school to educate their children. Under no terms, do parents at this level plan to do the educators’ jobs for them. They decide how, when and if necessary to involve themselves with the school. A parent at this level can become a staunch supporter of the school if involvement occurs on his/her terms.
Ø  Limited School Involvement- (Parents’ attitude- I will lend some support, BUT…) Parents at this level support their children, their children’s education and their schools. However, their volunteerism in and support of schools are limited. Precaution should be taken to insure that you respect their limitations of time and service in order to avoid the loss of their good will and support.
Ø  Fully Committed and Involved - (Parents’ attitude- I can help; I am willing, ready and able) Parents at this level are in for the long haul, generally from K-12; they get and remain involved. Schools count on these parents because they volunteer regularly and assist in numerous ways. They serve in various capacities within the schools and often become leaders of various school related organizations. Some sit school committees, attend school board meetings and keep abreast of legislation and policies that affect schools, education and children.

 I have shared with you on today what has led in my 16+ years of experience as a volunteer in our schools to view parental - school involvement at four levels; attitudes of parents at each level and generally what each level entails have been shared. Some may remain enmeshed in their perception(s) of what they think parents should be doing or face and accept the reality of what parents are actually saying and doing. I hope today’s post has shed some light on the subject of Parental-School Involvement.
Schools that are successful or most successful are those who have parental support within their schools.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author

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