How involved are the parents at your school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Dec 23, 2012

    I'm kinda shocked by the lack of parent involvement at my school. I teach at a lower income district, but (for those of you familiar with NJ) it's not like it's Newark, Paterson, or Camden. There are many middle-class families there. However, many or most of the parents speak little or no English so that might be a factor.

    Some examples of the lack of parent involvement:

    The PTA board is almost exclusively school employees - teachers and paras some of whom have children enrolled in the school, but many of whom do not.

    There are almost no "class parents." If the teachers want to do something for the kids like a holiday party, we are on our own. This can get really expensive, BTW.

    We had an event a few weeks ago, like a "meet and greet" for parents and teachers to talk and plan class events. We have about 600 students in our school. At most, 20 parents showed up - none from my class.

    I don't know if the language barrier is the reason. Many of the teachers in my school are bilingual. I'm even gifting myself with a Rosetta Stone set. :) It does make me sad, though. One of my kids told me that she asked her mom if she could buy a holiday card to give me and her mom said no. This is the same mom who doesn't return any of my phone calls (or more accurately speaking, the secretary's Spanish translation of my messages) when I'm basically saying to her that I want to tell her how well her daughter is doing since mom didn't show up to parent-teacher conferences.

    What's it like at your school?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 23, 2012

    I'm in an exact opposite category in NJ than you, Jerseygirl:(. We have high parent participation. Last week I had 7 parents come in over 4 days to share holiday traditions. We learned how to play the dreidel game and ate jelly donuts for Chanukah, made ornaments and listened to a Christmas story, and created a rangoli floor decoration and ate sweets for a Diwali activity (I even got a henna tattoo on my palm):). Parents come in to read with kids one afternoon a month at each grade level, serve as lunch helpers with our lunch program, and are active PTO participants. I have 3 room parents.:love:
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 23, 2012

    My school has very involved parents. Most classes have a room parent and have parents who actively volunteer in the classroom on a weekly, biweekly or monthly schedule.
     
  5. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Dec 23, 2012

    Parents are very involved at my school. We have close to 100% participation at Meet and Greet and conferences. All of our classes also have room parents who can help in any way needed.
     
  6. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    The idea of a room parent is so foreign to me. Their presence in the school is almost non-existent, however they are active in other ways. I would say my school has moderate parent participation. All my parents showed up for conferences. We, too, have the English barrier. It is also not culturally acceptable to question authority for my families, so I find them almost too agreeable with what I have to say. I spend a lot of time trying to convince them that they actually know what's best for their children.
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Dec 23, 2012

    Most of our parents come to Open Houses, and it is usually easy to find a gradeparent.
    However, volunteering and PTA- not so much.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We have almost zero parent participation.
     
  9. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    We have no parent participation outside of open house and conferences. I usually don't even have any chaperones for field trips. The district requires background checks and TB tests for all volunteers, but they also will only allow a certain number of volunteers/year to get the background check and test.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Parents are not encouraged to volunteer in my school for safety reasons. If they want to, they have to pass a background check first and go through a pretty heavy screening process. We had no parents at holiday parties and honestly I think it was a great idea. Things ran much more smoothly without the parents in the way (teachers that have had parties with parents in the past agreed). We just asked them to send treats to school with the child if they wanted to contribute anything. We ended up with tons of stuff. I had about 50% turn up for conferences. I've had a parent call me with a concern one time all year. It's hard for me to contact them because I don't speak Spanish well enough, and I know our parent liason gets overwhelmed, so I try to limit it to things that are really important. I send out a weekly newsletter, but unfortunately it's only available in English (no one to translate). About 50% of my parents speak/read English and I just hope that a sibling or the child themselves can read for the other half. I have heard that we are the only school in the district that actually has a PTA. The parent who runs it has a child in my class and she is extremely involved. However, it does not seem as if many other parents are.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 23, 2012

    I'm not sure some of my kids even have parents.

    We don't have a parent organization.

    Only involved parents are with sports teams.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 23, 2012

    :agreed:

    It's like pulling teeth to get parents to attend parent-teacher conferences!

    Here's a true story:

    Me: (Student name)--Is mom coming to your conference this afternoon?

    Student: Actually, she told me to tell that you she got a job!

    Me: Oh, really? That's awesome! :D

    Student: She didn't really get a job, though. She told me to tell you that because she doesn't want to come to my conference.

    Me: :(
     
  13. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Dec 24, 2012

    I guess ours is about average. I have a homeroom mom, but many classes don't. We have about 50% turn-out for Open House, and a little more than that for conferences. Our PTO tends to be about five or six parents who do it all, along with some teachers.
     
  14. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Dec 24, 2012

    I teach in a small rural school (2 classes per grade level), and the parents are very supportive and involved! :hugs:
     
  15. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Dec 24, 2012

    I think my feelings about that would have progressed through these stages: :lol: :dizzy: :| :mad:
     
  16. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Dec 26, 2012

    I'm blessed to work in a school with a good amount of parent involvement. Our PTA is wonderful and a great resource for us teachers. God bless those PTA moms, they get things done!
     
  17. cateste

    cateste Companion

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    Dec 28, 2012

    You might try to liaison through the local church. Meet parents there, or have church people make the contacts for meetings and bring parents to the school.
     
  18. Resentful

    Resentful Rookie

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    Dec 29, 2012

    The parent here always attend parents nights and conferences, but other than that they have very little to no involvement unless it's a holiday or some sort of party.
     
  19. Resentful

    Resentful Rookie

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    Dec 29, 2012

    I think that's really sad you have to learn another language when this woman has a daughter attending school in a country that speaks a certain language and the laws are written in a language she clearly has no intentions of learning. This has always been a peeve of mine. America is only country in the world where one can come and not learn the language. I know it might not be the "offical" language, I've had this debate irl before, but it's language American laws are written in and court is held in. Yes, before anyone asks, I would learn another language if I planned or had to live in another country. I do speak two other languages, one of which I also read and write fluently in, but not because I had to learn them to deal with ignorant parents.
     
  20. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    Dec 29, 2012

    I'm in NJ too and our parental involvement is almost 0.
     
  21. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Dec 29, 2012

    That's a pretty sweeping assumption!

    Many of the families in my district are immigrants who don't speak English fluently. Fortunately, our secretary is bilingual. Although she is very helpful to those who aren't native English speakers, I know that almost every parent speaks some English. It may not be enough to communicate effectively during conferences, but every one is learning English.

    I also think you're wrong in stating that the US is the only country in the world in which one can live here without learning the language. I'm pretty sure that most countries are much more ___lingual (bi,tri, quad, etc.) than the US, and have been for years longer than the US.
     

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