How to Build Engagement with Parents and Key Stakeholders

July 14, 2015 by Crescerance

Creating an atmosphere where parent engagement is a purposeful partnership that is culturally responsive throughout a school or district starts with district and school leaders. School and district administrators set the tone for parent engagement that establishes an expectation of student success that can spread throughout a district, school, and community.

It’s no secret that parent engagement is important. Numerous studies show the positive impact engagement has on student achievement, graduation rates, and college readiness. The question that remains is what can be done to ensure this type of engagement between schools and parents?

Let’s take a look at some strategies to consider.

Set high expectations for engagement. Set high expectations for all. The same high expectations set for student achievement should also be set for successful parent engagement. This will set a tone that will benefit students, teachers, and community.

Establish time to plan together. An open door policy for students, teachers and parents is important to creating a school that feels welcoming and positive. It’s essential to have a sincere commitment to involve all key stakeholders in decisions. Before the school year begins, sit down with your staff and create a plan on how to involve parents and discuss the benefits of their involvement. Discuss what you can do to help continuously build the positive relationship between parents and staff.

Get Out in The Community:  Attend and sponsor local community events. Sponsor parent workshops to educate parents and help them engage in their child’s learning. You can partner with local outreach connections and host parent education workshops at your school, like technology and cyber-bullying workshops.

Show Your Appreciation: Recognize your parents and community supporters for their great work. Plan regular celebrations for parents, supporters, and staff to participate together, such as awards ceremonies and appreciation events.

Ensure ongoing communication and monitoring of engagement. Constantly seek ways to maintain the momentum of engagement by sharing successes, checking and adjusting strategies and moving forward cohesively. Parents really do want to know what’s happening at their child’s school. Many also want to participate, but may feel intimidated or unwelcome. Things that may cause the feeling of intimidation include language barriers, lack of transportation or childcare. Therefore, plan meetings that meet the need of the community. Have meetings in the language of the community, have translators at events, provide child care support and set meeting times that are convenient.  Offer and ask for feedback from parents on a regular basis. Make parents feel comfortable. When they develop that level of trust and confidence in the school they will become more engaged and begin asking questions related to testing, implications of grades, attendance and higher education; creating a positive culture of engagement.

Always keep student success first: All engagement activities should be centered on achievement for all students. Make parents an integral part of the teaching and learning process for student success by keeping them informed and involved. Parents are an important factor to helping create a climate where success for all students is expected and ensured Building and sustaining effective parent engagement is a process that requires both the will and the talent to form relationships with parents and community that are long-lasting, focused on academic success and mutually respectful. The execution of strategies that focus on student success can result in significant improvement in the quality of teaching and learning for generations to come. The key is becoming true and caring listeners of parents, building relationships in the community and keeping students at the center of all decisions. If you have any other ideas that you would like to share with readers, send them our way (email and we would be happy to add them to this post!