Parent and Family Involvement

What is parental involvement?

 The Department of Education ( termed parental involvement as the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring

  • that parents play an integral role in assisting their child's learning;
  • that parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child's education at school;
  • that parents are full partners in their child's education and are included, as appropriate, in decision making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child;
  • the carrying out of other activities, such as those described in section 1118 of  No Child Left Behind

Does parental involvement impact student achievement?


Research overwhelmingly indicates that parental involvement for families of all economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds affects student achievement. In 2002, Ann T. Henderson and Karen L. Mapp, published a report in which they analyzed and synthesized many bodies of research on the impact of school, family, and community on student achievement. From the body of research as a whole, the study found a positive relationship between family involvement and benefits for students. The benefits for students include: higher grade point averages and scores on standardized tests, enrollment in more challenging academic programs, more classes passed and credits earned, better attendance, improved behavior at home and at school, and better social skills and adaptation to school. The research also found that with parental involvement, students are more likely to graduate and go on to postsecondary education. (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).


What does parental involvement look like?


Harnett County’s philosophy on parental involvement is based on Epstein’s framework (2001), which identifies six types of involvement:


1.PARENTING: Help all families establish home environments to support children as students.

·Parent education

·Family support programs to assist with health, nutrition, and other services.

·Home visits at transition points to pre-school, elementary, middle and high school.


2.COMMUNICATING:  Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school

  programs and children’s progress.


·Language translators to assist families as needed.

·Regular scheduled and as needed communication

3.VOLUNTEERING:  Recruit and organize parent help and support

·School and classroom volunteer program to help teachers, administrators, students, and other parents

·Parent room or family center for volunteer work, meetings, and resources for families.

4.LEARNING AT HOME:  Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and  other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning.

·Information on homework policies and how to monitor and discuss schoolwork at home.

·Family participation in setting student goals each year and in planning for college or work

·Information for families on skills required for students in all subjects at each grade

5.DECISION-MAKING:  Include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives.

·Active PTA/PTO or other parent organizations, advisory councils, or committees for parent leadership and participation.

·Independent advocacy groups to lobby and work for school reform and improvements.

·Networks to link all families with parent representatives.

6.COLLABORATING WITH COMMUN ITY:  Identify and integrate resources and services from the community to

  strengthenschool programs, family practices, and student learning and development.

·Information for students and families on community health, cultural, recreational, social support, and other programs/services.

·Information on community activities that link learning skills and talents, including summer programs for students


How Does Harnett County Schools Promote Parental Involvement?


The idea of involving families in their child’s education is not new. We are all familiar with parent teacher organizations, parent newsletters and participation on field trips as means to incorporate parent involvement in the schools.  It is sometimes difficult for parents to find time to get involved. Parents may not be aware of the many different ways they can participate in their child’s education.  Every family can participate in its own way despite any work schedules, cultural differences or life circumstances.  Some families may have younger children, a language difference, a health issue, be a single parent, a grandparent, a guardian, or a foster parent, etc. but every family can be involved in opportunities that positively impact student achievement.


At Home


·Designate a quiet area for homework and studying

·Provide appropriate materials/supplies needed to complete homework assignments

·Read to your child

·Play educational games

·Take your child to the library, museum or park

·Review homework each night    

·Develop good and open communication with your child

·Be a positive role model for your child

·Share information about your child with the teacher via phone, written communication, or email

·Read all messages from the school and respond as necessary

·Phone other parents about upcoming school events

·Volunteer to help classroom teacher (i.e., cut out or color simple materials)

·Help your child in setting goals each year and in planning for college or work

·Participate in transitional activities (i.e., open houses, job fairs, pre-registration for middle and high school) at your child’s school


At School


·Distribute parent handbook

·Invite parents with special interests, abilities, or experiences

·Incorporate parent volunteers

·Provide educational learning opportunities for parents and students (i.e., Curriculum Nights, Open Houses) 

·Utilize a parent lounge, center or resource room

·Establish a method for ongoing communication( i.e., telephone, email, newsletters, flyers, progress reports, agenda books, surveys, parent conferences, achievement packets)

·Be sensitive and familiar with the cultural diversity of the families

·Include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives (i.e., school improvement team, advisory council, PTO, or other committees)

·Provide interpreters/translators to assist families as needed


In the Community  


·Partner with schools to provide classroom assistance (i.e., Partners in Education)

·Provide proctors

·Provide family involved incentives to promote student excellence (i.e., Pizza Hut Book- It Program)

·Collaborate with state, county and local agencies to provide family support services ( i.e., workshops on child development, parenting skills, English as a second language (ESL) and GED classes, health/nutrition, and summer programs for enrichment)