PTO Today

Helping Parent Leaders Make Schools Great

Parent-Teacher Communications Improving, Boosting Engagement

May 9th, 2012 by


Parent and teacher communication, a key piece to effective parent engagement, may not be perfect, but clearly both parties are working on it, according to the results of a recently released national survey.

The report showed that nearly half of the parents surveyed would give teachers an “A’’ when it comes to communications. But the survey also revealed that parents and teachers do not always view their communications in precisely the same light. For example, 68% of teachers surveyed said they had had some difficulty in interacting with parents. Meanwhile, 63% of parents said they’d never had difficulty communicating with teachers.

Another disparity: Nearly half of parents surveyed said their opinions are always taken seriously by teachers, but only 17% of teachers felt their opinions were taken seriously by parents.

The report is based on a survey of 1,000 parents and teachers and was conducted by Parenting Magazine and the National Education FoundationWhile some of the data shows parents and teachers can view things differently, both parties are also clearly working on communications. The majority of parents said they believed teachers offered supportive responses to their concerns and a whopping 80% of teachers consider parents to be supportive of them.

Also, almost 90% of parents said they consider their child’s teacher as a partner and 54% of teachers said they felt parents were doing their part at home to help their kids succeed.

This survey follows a report earlier this year that highlighted big increases in parent engagement. That report, sponsored by Met Life and conducted by Harris Interactive, showed that nearly half of the students it surveyed reported their parents visit their school at least once a month.

For years, research has identified a direct link between parent involvement and a child’s overall performance in school. It’s simple: Kids do better when their parents play an active role.

Looking for ideas to get parents involved? One of the key things a PTO can do is build community and help parents create real connections with other parents, teachers and kids. Whether it’s a potluck dinner or a night at the local bowling alley, events that focus on building friendships (and not necessarily raising funds) go a long way at fostering an open environment where parent engagement can grow.

Also, it helps to reach out to families and spread the simple message to parents: the more they get involved, the more successful their kids will be.

Remember, you are the ground troops, PTO leaders! You are the ones running the events that can get the ball rolling when it comes to parent involvement.

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