Monday, July 12, 2010

Parent/Community Involvement

As I sit here stalling instead of doing what I should be doing (call it procrastinating, call it multi-tasking, or make up a creative name for it), I have to reflect on a tweet from one of my new network connections, alexgfrancisco.

Ms. Francisco posed the question, "How do we as leaders promote engagement of teachers, parents [and] students?"  Her tweet guided me to Rliberni's Blog – Radical language, which poses the same question.  I quickly noticed two responses that stand out:  1) parents and community members should be invited into the school as often as possible, and 2)  schools need to overcome the preconceived notions parents have of school (based on what school was like when they attended).

My mind began whirling with ideas:
  • schools can hold evening workshops for parents/community members
    • photography workshops
    • art workshops
    • science experiments
    • fitness nights/mornings
    • computer workshops
    • office software workshops
    • woodworking workshops
    • metalworking workshops
    • math workshops
    • book clubs
    • technology workshops (blogging, wiki's, social bookmarking, etc. - whatever the emerging technology happens to be)
    • music workshops (guitar lessons, piano lessons, voice lessons, etc.)
  • these workshops can be led by teachers and students
  • a minimal fee can be assessed to cover costs of the workshop
As parents and community members become more active at the school, communication will become better between school and parents/community.  Students who lead workshops - teaching parents and community members - will not only gain self-esteem, but will gain valuable leadership skills.

The workshops don't all have to occur at the school either.  Virtual lessons can be taught using the plethora of available Web 2.0 tools.

In addition, students could practice broadcasting skills by commentating on streamed home games of indoor sports.  Links to the streams can be provided to the community.

I'm sure that some of these ideas could be criticized as "better in theory than in reality," but I wonder the effects if any of them work!

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