How to Involve Hard to Reach Parents: Encouraging Meaningful Parental Involvement with Schools

Since 1990, around 60% of U.S. households with children under the age of 18 were dual income families. And, over this 30-year period, there has been a constant challenge for learning environments to find creative ways to engage with parents beyond conventional activities like parent-teacher conferences.

Clare Campbell, a Research Associate at England’s National College for School Leadership (since absorbed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership in 2013 and again by the Teaching Regulation Agency in 2018) set out to explore this topic in depth and provide resources for how leaders can be better resources for parents to engage with their child’s learning. The “How to Involve Hard to Reach Parents” report distinguishes what a “hard to reach parent” is, discusses the barriers that exist for “hard to reach parents” to engage in their child’s learning, and provides strategies to encourage parental engagement and overcome barriers. The strategies cover seven elements of parental involvement, which include parenting, communicating, volunteering, family learning, decision-making, collaborating with the community, and remote involvement. If you experience barriers when engaging with parents, this resource might be a great starting point.

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