Family Engagement: Parents and Teachers Coming Together
Teachers and TA’s at our school take a variety of courses to gain certification hours. One
course that they may become certified in discusses the importance of family engagement in a
child’s education. In that training, different resources and strategies are shared as ways for our
teachers to be able to connect with families. Together, we all can work as a team to provide the
best support possible to help the child in his or her academic career.
If you’re considering bringing your child to the Bilingual Genius Academy (BGA) or if
your child already attends our school, then you are likely very invested in your child’s education.
As you read this article, you will be provided with an understanding of the effectiveness of
parent engagement as well as some examples of strategies parents and teachers can work
together to implement. If one of these strategies sounds appealing to you but has not yet been
implemented, feel free to bring up the strategy to your child’s lead teacher.
It is important to understand what research in education says about what parental
engagement looks like and how effective it is. In an article entitled, “The Effects of
Comprehensive Parent Engagement on Student Learning Outcomes” (2004), researchers looked
at 129 schools in Illinois to determine just that! In the study, researchers encouraged certain
strategies such as having parents participate in decision making at the school and receive
education focused on home reading and study habits. For teachers, the researchers suggested a
multitude of outreach methods which include home visits and family nights. Additionally,
parents and teachers engaged in, “explicit discussion of the roles of parents, teachers, and
students around compacts, learning standards, and homework policies” (Redding, Langdon,
Meyer, & Sheley, 2004). This highlights a very important tool in our toolbox we can all use to
best support your child: open, explicit communication. We want to help your child reach all of
his or her academic goals and by working together, we will be more effective!
Once these strategies were implemented, the academics of the children were assessed
using the scores they received on the state’s assessment. The scores of the children in the
experimental group (received family engagement strategies) were compared to those in the
control group. The experimental group’s scores were also compared to their own scores from
two years prior. The students whose parents and teachers utilized parent engagement strategies
not only met the state’s expectations of their scores but also scored statistically significantly
higher than the control group. Also, the students demonstrated, “significant gains on the Illinois
Standards Assessment Test (composite score) between 2001 and 2003” (Redding et al., 2004).
Therefore, as compared to other children and to their own past scores, students whose parents
and teachers implemented these strategies benefitted significantly.
Now that we can see the advantages of parental engagement, we ought to do all we can to
facilitate this at BGA! Some strategies that New York State suggests in the aforementioned
course include creating an anonymous suggestion box for parents to be able to assist in how the
classroom operates as well as sending home a parent survey that can give you another
opportunity to give feedback to your child’s teachers. NYS also suggests for teachers to create
newsletters and memos to let you know all that is happening in the classroom. Additionally,
facilitating parent support seminars and providing a resource center for parents in the classroom
are all wonderful ways we can supply you with tons of helpful information.
If any of these strategies seem interesting to you, feel free to bring them up to the lead
teacher in your child’s classroom! For more examples of how you can become engaged in your
child’s education in the classroom or for some strategies that you can do at home to assist in their
education, you can use the following links:
Parent-teacher partnerships strategies:
Some examples of some parental resources:
Redding, S., Langdon, J., Meyer, J., & Sheley, P. (2004). The Effects of Comprehensive Parent
Engagement on Student Learning Outcomes. Harvard Family Research Project, 1-8.