I put in my application for the provisional appointment to the school board yesterday. I think it is important I take every opportunity available to me to increase parent involvement in Beaumont.
I think the district is continuing to ignore the most valuable resource they have to improve the opportunity for our kids to be successful. I'd still like to see the district work with parents and establish a serious parent involvement policy. I think the district should work to increase parent attendance at the board meetings. Many parents want to be involved but are unable to find the child care or time away from work to attend two board meetings a month and participate in committee meetings held during the work day.
A while ago, I asked the board and superintendent to hold one board meeting a month at Mountain View Middle School and offer child care for parents who want to attend. I suggested they plan the agenda for this meeting to include items important to parents. I also suggested they could schedule committee meetings to be held on the same night before the board meeting to increase parent participation on committees.
Three years ago, I asked the district to improve their use of technology and to use the internet to keep parents engaged. The website was re-created and is a great improvement over what I saw when I first visited it. They have added audio minutes to their site and now, after I asked the district to use technology to reach out to parents for their input regarding the school calendar, they have added a survey to their site (see my previous post for the link).
It would be good if the district would supplement their automated phone calls with emails and RSS feeds. These could be offered for parents on an opt-in basis, it wouldn't have to be a blanket email sent to those not interested. More parents who want to stay connected would be able to. While the district has been responsive to some of my requests they are still a little slow to fully embrace the technology available today.
I don't believe the administration will ever work to fully include parents until they receive direction from the board. This is why I submitted my application. Regardless if I end up on the board or not, I will continue to work to improve parent involvement in our schools.
I want to leave you with the following from the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education's website. You can find the link on my research page.
Building Family-School Partnerships That Work
The evidence is in: when schools and families work together to support learning, everyone benefits.
- Students do better in school and in life.
- Parents become empowered.
- Teacher morale improves.
- Schools get better.
- Communities grow stronger.