Seesaw for Family Engagement
“We have 50 years of research showing that what families do matters. Whether it’s loving school, college access, good attendance, or academic success, family engagement has positive correlations with all sorts of indicators.” – Dr. Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D.
There are many studies about the academic and social-emotional benefit to students when parents or adults are involved in their education. If you are interested in doing some research on the topic the following website has a list of books, articles and key findings on the subject:
Espstein’s Six Types of Parent Involvment
(Epstein et al., 2002)
As a teacher, one of our roles is to create, support, and encourage parent engament and participation. I began to reflect on my own parent engagement and communication strategies that I use in my classroom. Luckily, our PTA, school and district have put a lot of effort into parent engagement. We host back to school nights, curriculum nights, conferences, social and content specific nights, open houses, Watch Dog Dads, volunteering and home visits. However, when I really think about this, it equates to parents coming in and meeting with me about 3-5 times throughout the year. When thinking deeper on how I am supporting the other 175 days of the school year my reflection has led me to realize that I rely on weekly emails/ newsletters as my main line of communication.
Currently, I send home a weekly newsletter on Fridays via email. In the email, I attach the letter and elaborate on any important dates or changes in what we are learning. The newsletter contains questions that families can ask their kids to better help them understand what we are doing at school. I have really enjoyed doing these newsletters as it has made typing weekly newsletters efficient for me and encourages students to take on an active role. At the beginning of the year, we were writing the questions as a class. However, recently with time limitations, I have been writing the newsletter questions. This idea from a teacher (@awordonthird) I follow on Instagram. Here is a blog post she wrote on the newsletter. http://www.awordonthird.com/2016/02/want-to-stop-wasting-time-learn-my.html