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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 6, April 2005

Teachers' tips: Parents—A great resource

by Anne Louise McFarland

There are many ways to maximize parent involvement in your classroom. Even at the secondary level, parents can be an invaluable resource. Here are eight ways to get parents onside and supportive of what you do.

  1. At the beginning of the class, take an inventory of what parents do, not only for work but also as hobbies or special interests.
  2. Make an e-mail list of parents.
  3. When doing a project, consult the inventory, and ask parents for help.
  4. Keep in touch with the parents, not just to communicate problems but also to tell the great things their children are doing.
  5. Following the lead of some schools, consider using a personal web site to post homework so that parents are aware of upcoming due dates for projects, as well as quiz and test dates.
  6. Let the parents organize the fundraising for trips, etc.
  7. Invite parents to observe student presentations in class.
  8. Invite a parent rep to district department head meetings. For example, in Saanich, the French immersion department heads, the superintendent, a French immersion administrator, and a parent rep have a breakfast meeting every six weeks to discuss the budget and the activities we are all doing together.

Involving parents reduces your workload and gives your students some extra incentive to do well. Parents who see what amazing work teachers do become advocates for public education.

Anne Louise McFarland teaches Français Langue 9–12 at Stelly’s Secondary School, Saanich.

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