10 Partnering Tips for a Strong School Community

February 12th, 2013 posted by National PTA

Principals and Parents Working Together

The main reason people join PTA is to gain access to the organized, high quality parent involvement opportunities that will help their children achieve in school. This list is one National PTA resource you can keep and refer to as you bridge the gap between home and school, initiating conversations and implementing programs or events that will enrich the learning experiences of your school’s children.

A principal can host a “welcome” night

where all the parents are invited to the school and the principal gives an opening address, establishes basic expectations for the year, and invites parents to ask questions. Provide a form on which parents can write their contact information, best times to contact them, and preferred methods of communication. The principal can provide the same information to parents.

Parents can establish PTAs

that are inclusive and representative of the school community’s cultures, family structures (single parent, blended, etc.), and abilities. (Invite the principal to become a member.) PTAs must value and embrace all parents and caregivers in order to implement successful school programs.

Invite the principal to take part

in developing the PTA’s plan of work. The principal can work with the PTA to set goals for their collaboration for the year.

Make the principal-parent dialog visible.

Invite the principal to write an article for the PTA newsletter or listserv. Ask him or her to host coffees or “chats with the principal,” inviting bilingual parents to translate as necessary.

Network with community establishments

(hospitals, community centers, banks, libraries) to get free services or informational sessions for the school. Before moving ahead, a PTA might ask the principal for a list of priorities regarding services for the school and its families.

Invite community groups and youth-serving organizations

to school shows, sporting events, and showcases of service-learning projects, thus publicizing what the students have accomplished. Ask these groups how you can work toward shared goals in support of the school. // Carry out fundraisers tied to specific goals relevant to the whole school community. Examples of such PTA fundraising goals might include campus beautification, providing school playing fields, or underwriting classroom field trips.

Nominate the school or principal for awards, including parents in the recognition process.

(Consider National PTA’s Parent Involvement Schools of Excellence Certification or the outstanding principal programs of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.)

Encourage two-way messaging.

Establish a principal approved voice-mail system in which teachers regularly leave two minute voice-mail messages for parents about the classroom curriculum, and parents can leave messages for teachers as they strive to support their children’s homework and study habits.

Promote health and nutrition.

Form a task force of parents, the school principal, and pertinent school district staff to examine the school lunch program. (This refers to schools not participating in the federal school lunch program.) Look at the time allotted for lunch; the food options available; and the accessibility, pricing, and placement of healthy foods. Make recommendations for change if necessary. Developed by National PTA with the help of parents and principals, these tips are part of an overall strategy for building relationships with principals to improve student achievement. This effort to encourage the principal-parent connection has been made possible by a grant from the MetLife Foundation. These tips fit into the parent involvement program Building Successful Partnerships, and are based upon the six National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs developed by National PTA.

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