Educators: 10 Ways to engage busy families

One of the biggest obstacles to parent involvement is parents’ lack of time.

To be sensitive to the time pressures that parents face, here are some things you can do:

  1. Be flexible when parents visit the school without a formal appointment. For instance, teachers can cover for each other to allow for impromptu parent-teacher conferences.
  2. Schedule meetings at night, before shifts or on weekends to accommodate parents’ work schedules.
  3. Hold parent conferences and school events off-campus (nearer families’ homes) to lessen travel time.
  4. Give parents early notice of meetings and activities. This will give them adequate time to adjust their schedules so they can attend.
  5. Set up homework hotlines and voice mail systems, so parents can keep track of children’s homework from their homes.
  6. Ensure the telephone system adequately handles incoming calls. For example, if it forwards all incoming calls to separate extensions, the line should remain as free as possible so parents don’t get a busy signal.
  7. Offer the same workshop or other event more than once throughout the year.
  8. Send parents who weren’t able to attend a meeting notices of important information they might have missed. Post the information on your website.
  9. Include children in parent meetings, so school events don’t take parents’ time away from their family.
  10. Coordinate volunteer activities that parents can do from home, such as preparing mailings and making telephone calls.

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