The goal of most parent workshops is to give families the support they need to improve their children’s education. But with today’s busy families and extended commutes, even the most committed parent cannot always attend. Consider offering some of these alternatives to traditional parent workshops:

  • A podcast or other recording that parents can listen to as they commute to and from work.
  • A recording of a presentation that parents can view on their smartphones or computers.
  • A link to a collection of articles that parents can read at their leisure.
  • A 30-minute YouTube video featuring a parenting expert, teachers and parents discussing a parenting issue.

Surveys can help schools find out what parents are thinking—but they don’t work if parents don’t answer them. To create effective parent surveys, follow these guidelines:

  • Have a specific goal and keep the survey short.
  • Translate the questions into the languages parents speak.
  • Keep the language simple and avoid jargon.
  • Minimize the number of open-ended questions.
  • Make it clear that surveys can be anonymous.
  • Share the results of the survey with parents. 

Engaging fathers in student learning involves more than hosting a once-a-year invitation to “Doughnuts with Dad.” To promote meaningful involvement, consider hosting regular programs for students and their fathers or father figures throughout the year.

  • Ask a group of parent volunteers to organize the events.
  • Include activities that involve both learning and fun.
  • Separate students and fathers for part of the event to allow for short parent workshops and dad-to-dad conversations.
  • Ask local grocery stores to donate food and local businesses to donate materials for crafts.

Studies have shown that 47% of high school students in the United States have experienced some form of hazing in school clubs and groups and on athletic teams. One of the most effective ways for schools to prevent hazing is to involve students in creating and maintaining a healthy environment.

  • Educate students, players and club members about hazing and how it is detrimental to a healthy and productive environment.
  • Talk to students about traditions, activities or rituals that have been passed down from year to year. Offer strategies for establishing and modifying traditions to ensure they are healthy, positive and safe.
  • Develop strong, positive student leaders who can be role models.
  • Display positive messaging and posters in meeting rooms and locker rooms—anywhere where students will see them.

Getting parents and teachers together for conferences can be a daunting task. To increase participation in parent-teacher conferences:

  • Change the time. Some schools offer parents the opportunity of an early-morning or late-afternoon conference.
  • Change the place. If parents can’t get to school, consider offering conferences in workplaces or in community facilities.
  • Offer phone conferences. No, they’re not as effective as personal meetings, but they are better than no contact at all.
  • Visit the home. Home visits are time-consuming and challenging to coordinate. But they are very effective. If all other efforts to bring a parent to the school have failed, see if school staff members may visit in the family home.

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