At Cornerstone, our families are important to us. We love connecting with our parents and caregivers and welcoming their involvement in a variety of ways throughout the educational journey of their child. Parent engagement is the best predictor of overall student success and there are many recorded studies that talk about its benefits. Research shows that building positive relationships between schools and parents helps students to achieve more academically and socially, resulting in a better educational experience overall for families. When parents are actively involved in their child’s education both at school and at home, their students tend to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, and show improved behavior. In short, when a student feels like they have a strong support system of caring adults who want to help them succeed, they do.

 

Though parent engagement is not a new idea, what it looks like has shifted as society grows and changes. Where parent involvement used to be mostly mothers assisting in the classroom, chaperoning field trips and other school activities, and fundraising, it is now a much more inclusive model which includes parent-school-community partnerships with innovative and creative volunteering opportunities that involve all genders and caregiving roles as well as business and community leaders.

 

This means there are many ways to offer opportunities for involvement. The six “types” of parent engagement are identified as:

 

Type 1: Parenting

Helping all families to have the basic home conditions in place including active parenting strategies and regular communication with school

 

Type 2: Communicating

Designing effective home-to-school and school-to-home communication methods which engage all parents regularly

 

Type 3: Volunteering

Recruiting volunteer parents to help in classes and in extra-curricular activities

 

Type 4: Learning at Home

Providing good information to enable all parents to help with homework and offer other family learning activities

 

Type 5: Decision-Making

Including parents in decision-making activities to build a sense of ownership

 

Type 6: Collaborating with Community

Finding and using resources from the wider community to enrich school life, including community groups, businesses, agencies, cultural and civic organizations, colleges, and universities

 

[Source: Joyce Epstein, Center on Family, School, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University]

 

In the Cornerstone family, we have community leaders who volunteer at Partner Morning, and many parents who are closely connected with the faculty and staff at their child’s school, taking advantage of many ways to be more involved with their child’s education. I encourage active dialogue to create even more opportunities for parents, caregivers and community members to help our students succeed. Contact me if you would like to get involved! Kalyani.Bhatt@CEGSchools.org