An Important Message
Parental involvement is one of the most important influencing factors for the educational success of students (source).
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the creation of the video above. The video was shared during a parental involvement evening at one of our elementary schools.
All of the students in the school were given a half-sheet of paper with the question, “How can your parent/guardian help you with your learning?” The answers in the video were the unguided responses from the students and represent a sampling of the 264 total responses collected.
I believe the essential message from the students was both clear and powerful. Students want the attention, investment, and care of their parents. They want to sit down and simply spend time with the most important people in their lives. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. It’s powerfully evident.
The content of responses themselves are also very interesting. The vast majority of students asked for help with reading, math, or homework.
This year, we significantly increased our students’ access to technology. We are now 1:1 in grades 5-8, and we have grade level carts of computers at each elementary building in grades preK-4. We are also having excellent conversations about how we should be changing the way we are engaging teaching and learning to create well educated students for the 21st century. I know many people don’t care much for the 21st century nomenclature, but I think it sets important context for our district and community as clearly, the world in which we live now is dramatically different than it was 20 years ago. As it will be when our students complete their formal education in the years to come. We are working to let that impact the way we create learning experiences for our students. We are only three months into the full implementation of this change, so I think this video provides us an excellent opportunity to set a baseline with this type of feedback from our students. I believe if we ask the same question one year from now, we will get a variety of different responses.
The video also presents us, as a district, with an excellent opportunity to consider and discuss the student responses. Are their responses what we hope they would be?
What is it that we hope they would ask their parents/guardians? What does what they say tell us about what we’re saying? Or doing?
If you were to ask your students the same question, what would they say? How could that inform your practice? Your district’s direction? Your focus?