parental involvement in schools
Sep 14 2023

Parental Involvement in Education & Schools: Benefits and Strategies

Positive Action Staff
Parents have a strong influence on their children. They have a direct influence that is stronger than that of teachers, friends, and media.

For this reason, a parent’s positive attitude and support towards their children’s education is considerable. It can inspire and empower the child to develop good learning habits.

This results in academic success. In the long run, the child experiences economic and social benefits.

Sadly, many schools are unsuccessful in getting parents to take an active role in their child’s education. Some common mistakes educators make are:

  • Making uninvolved parents feel guilty.
  • Inattentiveness to the parent’s perspective.
  • Poor communication.
  • Indifference to the individuality of the parents.

We share four simple but effective strategies that can promote productive parent engagement in your school. But first, here are a few reasons parental involvement is important.

1. Parent Involvement Leads to Reduced Absenteeism

Research shows that parental involvement encourages children to attend school regularly.

Findings from a study on middle school students in a public school, for instance, show a strong negative relationship between parental involvement and absenteeism. As the involvement of parents increased, absenteeism reduced.

Why is a high rate of absenteeism bad?

  • Research from the University of California shows absenteeism negatively affects social-emotional learning (SEL). It hinders the development of social skills like self-efficacy, social awareness, self-management, and a growth mindset.
  • Absenteeism causes a decrease in academic performance. Studies have proven that as students miss classes, their academic performance drops.
  • It can lead to student dropout. This is according to Jason A. Schoeneberger, author of the Longitudinal Attendance Patterns study. Dropouts have long-term consequences like unemployment, low income, and higher incidences of crime involvement.

2. It Promotes Better Behavior

The same study on absenteeism among middle school students shows that a parent who’s involved in a child’s academics makes a big impression on the student. This parental support, in turn, causes:

  • A boost in the student’s self-esteem
  • An improvement in their attitude towards school.
  • Less disobedience
  • The ability for the child to build and maintain healthy relationships with peers and teachers
  • Reduced inappropriate classroom behavior, such as bullying and fighting

Conversely, studies show that uninvolved parents or parents who disagree with the teachers may negatively affect the child’s behavior. The child could also develop a negative attitude towards the teachers.

3. Increased Student Achievement

Parent involvement motivates children to learn, leading to higher grades.

The level of involvement is crucial in producing a high impact on the student’s performance. The higher the degree of parental involvement, the higher the impact on the child’s academic achievement.

This research involves three types of parent involvement—high, medium, and low.

Results show a higher student achievement from high and medium-involved parents compared to children from low-involved families.

A similar study published on IOPscience further proves this concept. Results show that students from intensely involved parents have higher test scores in all subjects compared to children with uninvolved parents.

4. Parent Involvement Improves Parent and Teacher Satisfaction

Besides promoting student success, parental involvement in a child’s education is beneficial to the teachers and the parents. It builds a positive relationship characterized by mutual respect. They’re able to work together to promote student learning and performance.

This partnership benefits the child’s teacher in that:

  • Parents develop an appreciation for the challenges teachers face. It makes them feel valued. This gives the teacher morale and boosts their performance, creating higher job satisfaction.
  • The interaction between the teacher and the parent helps the teacher know the student more. It enables them to teach in a personalized way.
  • There is better communication between parents, teachers, and school administrators. Parents are more likely to accept teachers’ requests for help with homework completion.

The parents involved in their children’s learning process also benefit in that:

  • They understand their child’s emotional and intellectual needs better.
  • They gain confidence in their parenting capabilities.
  • The parent learns their children's development stages and how to use positive reinforcement for each stage.
  • The improved communication gives parents the confidence to raise any concerns they may have about the school’s practices.
  • The parents become more committed to the school. They could become more active in policy-making and other important processes in the school.

4 Strategies for Successful Parental Involvement in Children’s Education

Successful parent involvement entails active and continuous participation in the children’s education.

Here are some strategies that can promote successful parental involvement.

1. Educate the Parents

Some parents may not have any experience in getting involved in their children’s academics. They’ll need direction on where to start and tips on how to get involved in a way that benefits the child.

Engage parents by holding training and workshops that address:

  • The importance of parental involvement.
  • How to create a favorable learning environment at home.
  • Ways to track a child’s progress in classes.
  • How to encourage a child to develop positive study habits at home.
  • How to guide a child to create academic goals.

Many parents may avoid attending these training sessions. Try using incentives like food and prizes to encourage attendance.

Using webinars also makes it possible to have face-to-face discussions with parents from any location.

2. Create All-Round Activities

Academic activities that get the parent involved such as collaborative homework are great. But it’s important to include school activities that promote SEL.

Use SEL enrichment materials that encourage family involvement.

Our evidence and research-based Positive Action Family Kit promotes SEL learning while strengthening family relationships.

Each lesson is a short 15 minutes, which the parents can teach their child at home or in school. It promotes the child’s feeling of self-worth while increasing their interest in learning. As the parent teaches their child, their parenting skills will also improve.

You can also organize special parenting classes using the Positive Action Family Curriculum Kit. Parents can learn alongside their children about the importance of positive behavioral choices in improving feelings of self-worth.

3. Personalize Parent Involvement

Personalization is important in encouraging parents to be involved in their children’s education.

It’s essential to know each family and its unique characteristics. Work on tailoring school-based activities and communications to suit these needs.

In a multicultural class, parents with limited English skills, for example, could get frustrated with your communications. This could cause them to avoid getting involved in their child’s education. They could feel uncomfortable attending school meetings and working with teachers.

Work on building successful partnerships with this group by providing information and materials in their first language. Bilingual school staff can also help in making communication, such as emails, in the parents’ first language.

Find innovative ways to address the specific needs of parents with disabilities. Accommodate them in the learning environment by including varying types of school events and activities.

As much as parental involvement is beneficial to the child, some parents may take time to acknowledge it.

Understand these parents and give them time to warm up to the idea. Make it clear that no child will be mistreated if the parent is not ready to get involved in the child’s education.

At Positive Action, we know the importance of building relationships with all types of parents. We provide a variety of family kits that can easily fit into the lives of busy families. A Spanish Family Kit is also available to cater to non-English speaking families in your school.

4. Encourage Open Communication

Open communication between teachers and parents can help in establishing trust and building relationships. This can increase parental involvement.

Start by arranging parent-teacher conferences at the start of the school year. Parents and teachers can share a bit about themselves and the parents can ask questions and give their opinions. This will set the tone for open communication throughout the year.

Open communication will encourage parents to share their child’s strengths and weaknesses. They’ll make the teacher aware of events happening at home that could affect the child’s behavior in class.

Teachers can freely share the child’s progress and make recommendations to improve their SEL and academic growth.

You don’t want to overwhelm parents with one or two long, extensive messages. Instead, plan for short and regular communications throughout the school year.

Parents should know:

  • When to expect communication from educators.
  • Which tool they will use—text, email, social media, school website—it’s best if all the teachers use one channel.
  • They have an option to choose which updates or information they can receive from the school.
  • How to raise concerns and give feedback. And as educators, it’s important to make the parents feel that their opinion counts.

Whichever tool you choose for communication, ensure that it’s available to all parents.

Be sure to share actionable information. You can share details on upcoming activities or homework assignments that the parent can get involved in.

Ready to Promote Student Success Through Effective Parental Involvement?

Our family involvement programs help parents get and stay involved in their child’s school progress.

They encourage family members and children to work together to act, think, and feel positive about themselves. This helps them to become better parents and successful students.

It leads to a continuously positive learning environment in school and at home.

Many schools have benefited from the Positive Action program. Here are some positive results from Noonan Elementary School in Alice, Texas.

“The assemblies are creative and fun,” Jackson says. “It’s how we link the program to parents; it’s a part of our PTA program. We send news of our achievements to our local paper.”

“Our parents are involved in a big way and our superb staff is dedicated to the program. They teach the lessons faithfully, and they recognize and reward positive actions every day,” says Carvajal. The principal and the staff—including our kitchen staff and our maintenance crew, as well as our teachers and administrative people—believe in the program.”

“When we started the Positive Action program, we were at the 11th percentile in writing; now we are consistently in the 90th percentile,” Jackson reports. “We are the second largest elementary school in our district and we are recognized as one of the top 25 percent of the schools in Texas academically. Our walls are covered with trophies and plaques we’ve received over the years for our efforts—academically and behaviorally. Our test scores, which started out low 16 years ago, have steadily climbed over the years, and we have very few negative behaviors.”

“I’ve been an educator for 32 years,” Carvajal laughs. “Positive Action helps me handle anything that comes my way!"

We have effective school programs suitable for young children in Pre-K, middle, and elementary school as well as high school students. Grab a Positive Action Family Kit and begin the transformation in your school.