201 Ways to Involve Parents: Practical Strategies for Partnering With Families


Betty Boult

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    For the past forty-seven years, I have been involved in education in a number of different roles and locations—from classroom teacher to assistant superintendent to adjunct professor. Most recently, I have worked with teachers and administrators pursuing their doctoral degrees and site-based administrators seeking district positions. These career experiences have revealed the need for teachers and administrators to determine how to best partner with parents. Educators know that this relationship is integral to good education, but are somewhat concerned about how to involve families effectively. They see this both as a challenge and as an opportunity.

    At every stage of my career, the topic of parents and their involvement in the system has conjured up a variety of reactions from educators. As a beginning teacher, some of my colleagues told me how much I would enjoy the extra pair of hands, the skills parents brought to the classroom, and the insights parents would share about their children. I was told by other colleagues that parents were to be guarded against, as they were unreasonable and wanted teachers to do everything for their children. Some stated that many parents did not assume responsibility for their children’s actions. Above all, I was warned, parents could not be pleased. Many schools I worked in had minimal parent involvement, and in more than one situation, parents were treated as unwelcome intruders. Many staffs worked hard at keeping parents at a distance.

    During the course of my career, I became very interested in understanding the dynamics and impact of parent involvement. I believed I would provide quality education to children if I worked closely with parents. The ideas presented in this book have been gleaned from years of working with educators and with parents. I have watched this work improve the quality of education for children by groups not only believing in the partnership, but also finding ways to work together.

    I would ask the reader to know that when the term parent is used throughout the book, it refers to the primary caregiver of the child. The reader may use the word parent interchangeably with family. I use the definition published by the Milwaukee Public Schools (2015).

    The Title I law defines “parents” as the legal guardian or other person standing in the place of the parents or legal guardians. . . . This may include a person such as a grandparent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, older sibling or other person either with whom a child lives or who has been designated by a parent or legal guardian to act in place of parent or legal guardian regarding all aspects of the child’s education. (p. 1)

    Children may live with one parent, but the role of parent could be assumed by members of the extended family. It is also a cultural matter, as extended families will often have a major role in raising the child.

    Society is undergoing an era of greater public accountability, which results in tremendous implications for education. It is evident that education must be a collaborative venture between parents and educators. I hope your school can benefit from the ideas in this book as you take up the challenges of partnering with families to continue to offer quality education for children in the twenty-first century.

    Publisher’s Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers.

    • Dr. Pamela Quebodeaux, Principal
    • Lake Charles Charter Academy
    • Lake Charles, LA
    • Dana Salles Trevethan, Assistant Superintendent/Educational Services
    • Turlock Unified School District
    • Turlock, CA
    • Janice Wyatt-Ross, Assistant Professor
    • Asbury University
    • Wilmore, KY

    About the Author

    Betty Boult, EdD, is currently an educational consultant. She retired from the position of assistant superintendent of School District No. 43 (Coquitlam) in British Columbia in June 2000. She has served as director of instruction (curriculum), supervisor of staff development, principal, assistant principal, teacher-librarian, and classroom teacher. Her background experience ranges from primary to adult education in both Canada and the United States. In addition to these full-time positions, she has served as a provincial community education consultant, a guest lecturer for the University of Lethbridge, a sectional instructor for the University of Alberta, and instructor for Nova Southeastern University. She has also served as a part-time consultant with an international consulting company. During the past fifteen years, she has been contracted to do workshops and seminars at the district, provincial, and international levels. In addition, she has appeared on educational television and published numerous articles. Currently, Betty is in her eighth year as superintendent/program consultant of a British Columbia Offshore School just outside Shanghai, China. The student population is 1,200 students (900 of the students are in Grades Ten to Twelve). She also is a lead auditor for the Ministry of Education in British Columbia and continues to consult for various jurisdictions throughout the province.

  • Resources: Websites Focusing on Involving Families

    Using all the popular browsers, I identified more than 17,300,000 different websites using the key words “Involving Families in Education.” I reviewed a significant number of the sites, paying special attention to the level of relevancy identified by the browser. The sites that best spoke to the issue of involving families at all levels are listed here.

    Each site is identified with its relevant Internet address. The Web protocol for each site is http://. In addition to domain names (as in the fictitious example www.involvingparents.com), subdirectory information is provided so that the user can obtain specific data. Information stored at a site’s subdirectory is separated from the domain name by a slash (as is the case with www.involvingparents.com/resources).

    BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils


    This organization is the voice of the provincial parent advisory councils and as such is the “collective voice of parents for the best possible public education of all children in British Columbia.” Its purpose is to improve public education through the support of parents and students. It focuses on proactively advancing public education by participating in every level of education (from site-based to provincial levels).

    The site provides insightful information for projects like advocacy and understands the fundamental concept that parents are an integral part of the education system.

    This is an interesting educational source for educators as well as parents and the community.

    Communities in Schools


    Communities in Schools, is a not-for-profit organization previously called Cities in Schools. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, the organization and its website offer down-to-earth ideas and conduct partnership classes for interested organizations. Regardless of whether Communities in Schools has a regional office in your area, they can provide help and direction to your programs.

    Education Commission of the States


    This website provides current news clips and links to what is taking place in education. It includes “background and basic information about an issue, links to more information on the ECS Web site, and places and people to contact if you need still more.” The stated purpose is to help state leaders form educational policy.

    Education World: The Educator’s Best Friend


    This well-designed site is an extensive resource for parents and teachers. It deals with school issues ranging from teacher retention to legislation and assessment as well as offering excellent, well-researched archived articles. The site is organized into topics of interest in addition to roles and responsibilities.

    Involving Hispanic Parents in Their Children’s Education


    The article called “Family Involvement: Promoting Involvement of Recent Immigrant Families in Their Children’s Education“ at the web address above provides research-based information on how to involve Hispanic parents in the education of their children. It presents a training model that was developed by both educators and members of the Hispanic community.

    Offered by the Harvard Family Research Project, this site has links to extensive research on the topic of family involvement. A site well worth exploring for both educators and parents.

    Middle Web


    A site devoted to educational reform at the middle school level. Proponents of this reform include strategies for involving parents in their child’s education.

    National Center for Education Statistics


    This site reports findings from the National Center for Education Statistics. It is the primary organization for the U.S. federal government in collecting and analyzing educational data for the country.

    It provides insightful information for educators as well as families. Well worth browsing through to gain a more global understanding of education.

    National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education


    This organization was founded in 1980, and its mission is “to advocate the involvement of parents and families in their children’s education, and to foster relationships between home, school, and community to enhance the education of our nation’s young people.”

    Provides current research from experts in the field of parent involvement. The intended audience is parents, administrators, and teachers. Excellent site with an extensive list of resources as well as legislative information.



    This site allows educators to post class and school information as well as homework. It is a free community service with a stated purpose of connecting teachers with families by allowing them to post up-to-date information. The site is user friendly and has free registration. Teachers can create notes, and families can view them.

    Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL)


    This monthly newsletter reports on current issues related to teaching and learning, with a special emphasis on student achievement. The findings cover best practices from local and national perspectives.

    The purpose of this private, not-for-profit corporation is to “work with educators, parents, community members, and policymakers to build, find and use strategies and tools addressing educational problems.”

    Excellent site for practitioners and the community at large.

    Teachers Helping Teachers


    A site featured in Education Week and Teacher Magazine that has very current and interesting ideas written for teachers, by teachers. The teacher chat board is a good place to network and share ideas with other professionals about involving parents.



    In addition to chat and lesson plans, search this site for ever-changing implementation plans and ideas on how to bring about and use parent involvement.


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