At this year’s Back to School Night we wanted to do something different, something unique. So we set out to see what positive message we could send to the parents as they arrived at one of the most important events in the school year.
Fortunately, our teachers are always seeking opportunities to welcome the parents into the school community. So we partnered with a National Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, to take this opportunity to the next level. In preliminary meetings with the fraternity, we were able to sketch out a basic format to the partnership or “Adopt A School.” Here is the brief overview of the plan:
Reading to students
We are also going to be capturing this amazing story in an upcoming documentary titled, “A Year in Transition.”
All this has been (and will be) fostered by building relationships. The champion behind this entire project is one of our parents, Bruce Cooper. Last year he assisted with activities in the classroom, organized a Spelling Bee and helped students find their voice through a public speaking program “Bacon Speaks.”
At the Clap In we had about 80 people come out to welcome the parents. We had teachers, Board of Education members, local Politicians, volunteers, and members from the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. According to some of the parents I spoke with, they were so inspired by the support shown during the Clap In. I received many positive emails, messages, and phone calls about how the parents felt about the Clap In. It was a great start to a unique partnership!
Here are a few video clips and pictures from the Clap In:
As a school/district what are your plans for parents this year? Each school/district have so many awesome ideas for increasing participation and engagement! I am going to share a few things we are doing!
At our school we are really focusing on engagement this year. Over the summer we installed a Digital Sign for the parents to watch as they drop off or pick up their child. On the first day of school we invited the parents to our All School Assembly and encouraged them to visit the classroom to meet the teacher. We are continuing with our convenient arrival and dismissal procedures we established last year. Basically, the car riders are dropped off and picked up at the same point allowing the parents to stay in their car and relax while we ensure their child is ready.
We are committed to sharing our school information on Social Media. Our staff uses everything we can to get our message to the parents:
#rmbacon on Twitter
You Tube channels
In addition to the plethora of free Social Media tools, we are committed to printing monthly newsletters, calling home, visiting homes, informal conversations, Home and School Association, and opening the classroom up for collaboration. We were even recently adopted by a local fraternal organization (Phi Beta Sigma). Sounds like a lot? Yet, we are always seeking ways to improve and get better.
At this year’s Back to School we are planning a “Clap In” for our parents. They deserve a round of applause and well wishes from the community as they are a key component of our school family. Check out the Smore flyer we are sending throughout the community here.
What are some ideas that you have to help increase parental engagement? Share your ideas in the comments 🙂