Parent Involvement - Introduction
The Family Engagement Commission acknowledges parents as the first teachers of their child and realizes the integral role that parents play in the total development of the child.
- Strengthening/teaching parenting skills and encouraging involvement in schools and at home
- Supporting the understanding of childhood development stages
- Providing resource materials such as Parents Empowering Parents - PEP Guide (Los Padres Eligen Participar).
- Networking with agencies and groups focusing on parent involvement
The California State PTA recognizes that involvement of diverse populations enriches PTA activities and, more important, enhances the well being of all children and youth. Outreach is PTA's commitment to include the entire community in all phases of PTA programs and activities. A concerted effort must be made to involve every member of the community in PTA. Everyone needs to be included.
Suggestions for Improving Parent Involvement Among Culturally Diverse Families
- Develop goals, objectives, and an action plan for increasing participation by culturally diverse parents.
- Choose a bilingual person to be responsible for outreach.
- Look at the ethnic and racial composition of your students. Identify groups not represented in parent involvement programs, and focus efforts to include these groups for involvement.
- Find out how your parent involvement program is viewed by a diverse sampling of parents including those who do not return surveys or participate in events.
- Build trust among parents of all children and teachers through focus groups and small group discussions.
- Set up a telephone tree for parents and volunteers to call other parents. Initial contact should come from a person of the same language and ethnicity.
- Be aware of ethnic and religious holidays and observances, and include them in your PTA calendar.
- Avoid scheduling meetings and events on major holidays.
- Identify the strengths of different groups within your community.
- Focus on aspects of each group's culture, or beliefs that can enrich your parent involvement program.
- Get to know opinion leaders in the community, how they make decisions, and how they communicate. Tap into this network.
- Talk openly about divisions in your school community. Acknowledged differences can be the first step toward better relations.
- Produce publications in other languages.
- Adapt content to the group you are trying to reach by consulting with ethnic organizations in your community.