Win at parent engagement

Possip / /

When Possip first started we heard with skepticism “do principals really want to know what parents think  Do they really want parent engagement?”

And the short answer is – not all and not always. That’s normal.  I don’t always want to engage with everything or everyone either, especially in high stress times. 

Principals are a mission driven, practical, thick-skinned group, and so like any effective leader, they don’t always lean into parent engagement because they WANT to do it they do it because they NEED to do it.

Parent engagement leadership types

Two drivers and leadership styles lead principals to use Possip and maximize parent engagement. 

Aspirational & values-based: These are principals who have a deep-seeded value that parents and parent engagement matters – and they want to make it as easy as possible for parents to connect and engage with the school. They don’t want traffic, language, or car lines and parking to be  a barrier.

They love having the open pathways available to parents.  They care about the outcome and they also care about the process.

Practical & outcomes-based: These principals know that whether they want to hear from parents or not, parents are going to share somewhere so they should create a plan for parent engagement.

They want to make it as easy as possible to hear from parents because they know otherwise they are going to have to spend disproportionate time on parent issues, risk social media hearing about issues before the school does, and they’ll only hear the negative and not the positive stories!

They love efficiency of their time, want to protect teachers’ time, and love creating a structure and system.

Both principals know, whether aspirationally or practically, an engaged parent and family population is the surest path to school improvement. 

What does the research say?

Here are a few things they know – perhaps intuitively but research supports it (and learn more at the PTA website):

  1. “Schools would need to increase spending by more than $1,000 per student to gain the same results as effective family engagement.”
  2. “Teachers are more likely to remain in schools where families are involved and are able to develop trusting relationships with families.”
  3. “Students with engaged families attend school more regularly, earn better grades, enroll in advanced level programs and have higher graduation rates”

Possip isn’t for the faint of heart.  School leadership is hard enough on an easy day.  Parents and their diverse – and sometimes divergent – opinions aren’t always easy to bring in. But they matter.

Win at parent engagement!

1. Houtenville, A. and K.S. Conway. (2008). Parental Effort, School Resources, and Student Achievement. Journal of Human Resources, XLIII. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
3. Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Annual Synthesis 2002. National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools