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In previous blogs we highlighted the outstanding work of four partner schools connecting with their students’ parents:

Montclair Elementary School

Toledo Blade Elementary School

Warrington Elementary School

Milton High School

One goal for leaders and teachers is improved student learning. To achieve improved student learning it is important to enlist the parents of our students as partners in the teaching and learning process. Student learning and parent satisfaction results are key principles making up school accountability systems. A parent satisfaction survey is one way to gauge how satisfied parents are with their child’s school.

Consider the following question/item mean responses (Likert scale 1 to 5) from a recent Parent Satisfaction survey administered in one of our partner school districts (n=5,379):

Parent Satisfaction Item Mean Responses by School Level
The graph highlights a visible difference in the mean level of parent satisfaction across school level with Pre-K and Elementary parents reporting more satisfaction than Middle and High School parents. The largest differences in parent satisfaction across school-level were in the following four questions:

 I regularly receive feedback from school staff on how well my child is learning.

My child is recognized for good work and behavior at this school.

The teachers, staff, and administration at this school demonstrate a genuine concern for my child.

I receive positive phone calls or notes about my child from the school.

Unfortunately, teacher-parent communication is usually infrequent and usually occurs when the teacher is having difficulty with a student (How to Lead Teachers to Become Great). Teachers must learn how to have welcoming and genuine interaction with the parents of their students. When teachers do so, they are helping to make their classroom a performance-driven learning environment; when this happens according to How to Lead Teachers, parents feel that the teacher:

Cares to know them and their child;

Understands their needs regarding their child; and

Believes the parent and the child are important.

Of course, this kind of parent-teacher relationship does not automatically occur. Teachers need to do particular things beginning at the start of the year to begin building a genuine relationship with the parents. As with students, parents come from diverse backgrounds and are not always easy to connect with. No matter the situation, each parent or caregiver is important and deserves an opportunity to be part of a performance-driven classroom.

School leaders should not accept any excuses from teachers who do not do their due diligence by making serious attempts to connect with parents, knowing what parents value, and explaining the classroom procedures and expectations. In addition, sharing good news is important if teachers want parents to help them handle any negative student behaviors.

Teachers need to connect, listen, and respond to parents. In the graph above the one item earning the lowest satisfaction across all schools among parents was “I receive positive phone calls or notes about my child from the school.” When teachers develop partnerships with parents, they welcome the parents to the school year, listen carefully to understand their situations and needs, and remain mindful that parents need to hear good stories about their children.

 

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Pilcher, J., and Largue, R. 2009. How to Lead Teachers to Become Great. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we work with school boards, leaders, and employees to apply Evidence-Based continuous improvement processes and the principles from How to Lead Teachers to Become Great in their districts as they aim for excellence in every district department and in every school as they strive to improve teacher performance and student achievement. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership.