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Establishing a Positive Relationship B etween Parents and Schools. Dr. Timothy Mitchell Rapid City Area Schools 12/16/11. McRel -Research 2008.

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Establishing a positive relationship b etween parents and schools

Establishing a Positive Relationship Between Parents and Schools

Dr. Timothy Mitchell

Rapid City Area Schools


Mcrel research 2008

McRel-Research 2008

Astudy to get a better understanding of American Indian parent involvement and consider it as a possible solution to narrowing the achievement gap for American Indian students

Mcrel research 20081

McRel-Research 2008

  • Barriers-School Oriented

    • Unwelcoming school environment

    • Previous negative experience with education

    • Perceptions of the school’s lack of cultural sensitivity

    • Different styles of interpersonal communication

Mcrel research 20082

McRel-Research 2008

  • Barriers-Home Oriented

    • Scheduling

    • Transportation

    • Childcare

    • Financial Difficulties

Mcrel research 20083

McRel-Research 2008

  • Strategies that parents perceived that encouraged involvement:

    • Printed and electronic correspondence

    • Communication about children

    • School staff respectful of parents’ educational and cultural values

    • Open-door policy

    • Culturally respectful environment

    • Cultural activities and resources

Mcrel research 20084

McRel-Research 2008

  • Why do American Indian parents get involved:

    • To help children succeed and build confidence

    • To stay connected with the school

    • To monitor children’s progress

    • To address a problem

    • To respond to schools’ invitation or welcoming environment

Mcrel research 20085

McRel-Research 2008

Many aspects of American Indian parent involvement were largely consistent with the literature on parent involvement in the general population

Mc rel research 2008

Mc Rel-Research 2008

The challenges of increasing American Indian parent involvement are complex, residing in the overlay and sometimes clash of cultures in the public school

The vision

The Vision

Schools and parents need to focus on creating partnerships that will help ALL students reach high levels of social and academic achievement

Is t his just a dream

Is This Just a Dream?

This is practical and achievable:


Many Examples

The right environment

The Right Environment

  • How should schools ensure:

    • A welcoming school environment

    • A positive experience

    • Cultural sensitivity

    • Good communication

Core belief 1

Core Belief #1

All parents have dreams for their children and want the best for them

Core belief 2

Core Belief #2

All parents have the capacity to support their children’s learning

Core belief 3

Core Belief #3

Parents and School staff should be equal partners

Core belief 4

Core Belief #4

The responsibility rests primarily with school staff, especially school leaders

Looking in the mirror

Looking in the MIRROR

  • What would stimulate this improvement:

    • A more welcoming school building and front office

    • Positive phone calls home at least once a month

    • A center stocked with learning materials that families can take home

    • Workshops on reading and math

    • More time allotted to meet with parents

Partnership schools

Partnership Schools

1) Building Relationships

2) Linking to Learning

3) Addressing Differences

4) Supporting Advocacy

5) Sharing Power

Partnership schools1

Partnership Schools

All families and communities have something great to offer-we do what ever it takes to make every single student succeed

Establishing a positive relationship b etween parents and schools

Building Relationships

Building relationships

Building Relationships

  • School is open—interesting learning materials are available to borrow

  • Home visits are made regularly

  • Activities honor families contributions

  • A wide variety of services are available to families

Developing trust

Developing Trust

The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust is not only vital to our personal and interpersonal well-being; it is a key leadership competency.

Elements of trust

Elements of Trust

  • Respect-mutual esteem that recognizes the important role each person plays in a child’s education

  • Competence-a feeling that colleagues work together to create effective working environments and get the job done

Elements of trust1

Elements of Trust

  • Integrity-a feeling that colleagues keep their word and do what they say they’re going to do

  • Personal Regard-a feeling that colleagues care about one another and are willing to go out of their way to help

Speed of trust 13 behavior

Speed of Trust- 13 Behavior

Talk Straight

Demonstrate Concern

Create Transparency

Right Wrongs

Show Loyalty

Deliver Results

Get Better

Speed of trust 13 behavior1

Speed of Trust-13 Behavior

Confront Reality

Clarify Expectations

Practice Accountability

Listen First

Keep Commitments

Extend Trust

Establishing a positive relationship b etween parents and schools

Linking to Learning

Linking to learning

Linking to Learning

  • All activities connect to what students are learning

  • Parents and teachers review student work and assessment results regularly

  • Tutoring and homework programs are available

Linking to learning1

Linking to Learning

  • Do More:

    • Displaying of Student Work

    • Contact parents about student progress regularly

    • Hold Math, Literacy, Health and Ask a Question Nights

    • Offer Student-led Conferences

    • Hold Workshops for families based upon need

Linking to learning2

Linking to Learning

  • Do Less:

    • Contact of parents only when student misbehaves

    • Offering of parenting classes

    • Focus on behavior and shortcomings at Parent-Teacher conferences

Establishing a positive relationship b etween parents and schools

Addressing Differences

Addressing differences

Addressing Differences

  • Teachers use books and materials about different cultures

  • Parent organization include all families

  • Local cultural groups work with staff to reach families

Addressing differences1

Addressing Differences

All families, no matter what their income, race, education, language or culture want their children to do well in school and can make an important contribution to their children’s learning

Addressing differences2

Addressing Differences

  • The Culturally Competent Classroom

    • All students are respected and responded to in warm and accepting ways

    • All students have opportunities to find connections between their lives and what they are studying

    • All students prior knowledge, culture and learning styles are considered and incorporated into class instruction

    • Teachers and school staff are familiar with their students culture and know how to work in multicultural situations

Addressing differences3

Addressing Differences

  • Addressing Racial Tension:

    • Use the power of the school to promote positive relations and open dialogue

    • Determine the results you want-maintaining a safe and productive learning environment free of intimidation, threats or harassment

Addressing differences4

Addressing Differences

  • Addressing Racial Tension:

    • Identify Vital Behaviors-Elimination of racism and all intimidating, threatening or harassing behavior

    • Promote Inclusive Actions-behaviors that support diversity

    • Reward Respectful Behavior and have consequences for inappropriate behavior

Addressing differences5

Addressing Differences

  • Addressing Racial Tension:

    • Leaders need to evaluate, endorse and partner to lead the enforcement of positive social norms

    • Build Awareness, share experiences and teach skills

    • To change behavior-emphasize this is a moral issue

Establishing a positive relationship b etween parents and schools

Supporting Advocacy

Supporting advocacy

Supporting Advocacy

  • Clear and open process for resolving problems

  • Regular contact by teachers about student progress

  • Student-led parent teacher conferences

  • Training and use of effective advocacy skills

Supporting advocacy1

Supporting Advocacy

The more parents feel that they have the power to influence their children's future positively, the better children tend to do in school

Supporting advocacy2

Supporting Advocacy

  • Parents have to understand how the school works

  • Parents need to know how to resolve problems that their children are having in school

    • Chain of command-who to contact

    • Where do they go next?

    • How do they work with teachers to define and solve problems

Supporting advocacy3

Supporting Advocacy

  • What’s Good

    • Requesting a teacher, with the needs of your child in mind

    • Questioning the placement of your student

    • Requesting a change in placement-with rationale

    • Talking to school staff about a problem, policy, or program

    • Suggesting curriculum or instructional modifications

    • Question discipline policies and methods

    • Requesting the excuse of your child on religious or cultural grounds

Crucial conversations

Crucial Conversations


A discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high (2) opinions vary, (3) emotions run strong

Crucial conversations1

Crucial Conversations

How are they handled ?

1) We can avoid them

2) We can face them and handle them poorly

3) We can face them and handle them well

The results can have a huge impact on the quality of your success in the classroom!

Establishing a positive relationship b etween parents and schools

Sharing Power

Sharing power

Sharing Power

  • Parents and teachers work together to research how to solve critical issues

  • Parents are focused on improving student achievement

  • Families are involved in decision making

Sharing power1

Sharing Power

Provide workable mechanisms for teachers, parents, and students to take part in decision making

Sharing power2

Sharing Power

  • Give families information about how the education systems and local government work

  • Encourage families to lobby local and state officials as to the programming needs in your school

  • Involve families in action research-ask them to develop, conduct, and participate in collecting information on problems in the community

  • Make it as easy as possible for parents to meet with school staff to discuss concerns

Sharing power3

Sharing Power

  • When problems arise, openness about the matter from the start is usually the best approach

  • People who are involved in making the decisions tend to support those decisions

The vision1

The Vision

Schools and parents need to focus on creating partnerships that will help ALL students reach high levels of social and academic achievement

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