COVID Successes: Parental Involvement

Dr. Lyne Ssebikindu
Dr. Lyne Ssebikindu
Elementary school principal; Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
Dad helping his young son with writing.

How Involved were Parents Pre-COVID?

This article will address COVID-19 successes with parental involvement. Before COVID-19, attendance was an issue for a lot of students, especially students in the low socio-economic statuses. Many students did not have transportation; some did not have the right clothing for school.

Parental Involvement has always been a big concern in most school districts, because parents’ engagement is a key to students’ success. Collaboration with parents is essential to the success of students, necessitating programs such as Title 1 to enhance parental involvement. Through Title 1, funds are earmarked to ensure parental inclusion in their children’s education while the school districts are required to give effective information to parents concerning the ways learning needs are met. The federal education law requires that all parents in a Title 1 school be informed about the professional qualification of their child’s teacher and paraprofessional who is instructing their child.

Parents have a right to know how well their child is progressing. Schools are required to generate a report card for every student that explains how well that student is doing.

Relying upon traditional measurements of parental involvement, studies find that families from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds are not typically involved in their children’s educations at the same degree their counterparts are (Li & Sun, 2019).

COVID Success: Increased Parental Involvement

The pandemic changed the way we educate our children, requiring families to adapt the physical home environment while parents had to adapt to a “new normal” by making room for the educational needs of their children. Initially, parents did not have the skills to help their children; they had to learn quickly. Homes became school, the workplace, and the social/activity space. COVID affected the way parents interacted with their children as schools and workplaces merged into the same space and parents were thrown into the dual role of “at home worker” and home-school teacher.

The home school experience addressed a lot of needs for students by giving parents more time with their children. The parents became tutors and teachers, an experience which helped with the socio-emotional support of the students. Parents, realizing that virtual schooling isolated their children from peers and teachers, were forced to come up with strategies which addressed these needs.

Positive Impacts of Increased Parent Involvement in Schools

Increased Student Achievement

During the ongoing lock downs, parental involvement played a major role in improving student achievement. It is important to understand how a child is receiving an education; doing so helps with reducing school avoidance and the incidence of dropouts. Parents played an important role in their children’s academic achievement once given the responsibility to review the school, teachers, and the learning environment and to contribute to innovations relative to individualized academic, social/emotional needs and students overall well-being.

Parents were compelled to help with their children’s assignments and discovered that they had to work with their children. Nationwide, parental involvement increased during the pandemic. Educators and parents collaborated to devise strategies which enhanced the successful education of students, while parents came up with creative ways to increase student engagement in education, develop broader nutritional options, and explore other activities which could be pursued by the home-bound students.

Parental Support

Educators and families must work together to ensure the success of every child. The family matters in a child’s life. Parents’ love for their children is the most important factor in a child’s life. Parents of all racial demographics and income levels should be included in school decision-making. COVID-19 gave educators the opportunity to build relationships with parents and opened doors for parents to be academically engaged with their children. Students were able to receive quality education with the help of their parents. Many students began to “keep up” academically because of the support and interest of parents who kept them engaged during the prolonged periods of instruction.

Many districts have observed that parents have become newly aware of obstacles that teachers face daily and are appreciative of the complex role of educators. Parents have embraced the new academic climate, now regularly communicating with the teachers and building effective partnerships which had not before existed. That outcome is one of the greatest benefits of the pandemic.

The classroom setting makes it difficult to individually support every child. During the pandemic parents were given an opportunity to offer that individual attention to their own children. Families living in poverty sometimes have difficult in engaging in their children’s education. The pandemic helped us realize the untapped teaching potential of our parents.

Concerning the culture of the classroom, relationships are an essential ingredient for school success. The pandemic provided educators many unique opportunities for professional growth, learning, and self-discovery. The COVID-19 pandemic provided us with an opportunity to build relationships between school and the home. If we are going to succeed and close the academic gap, we need to keep this relationship. Parents gained the opportunity to bridge gaps in their students’ academic performance resulting in many students flourishing.

Increased Use of Technology

The stress of the pandemic has been overwhelming for many parents, but technology tools provided by the schools gave parents the aids which helped them cope. School systems were forced to equip families to support learning at home. School districts distributed Wi-Fi-enabled devices. COVID-19 forced parents and their students to collaborate online, and many parents were enabled to interact with their children in new ways and in broader contexts than before.

Students, along with their parents, learned how to use technology in more complex ways, while the districts developed training and online support broad enough to meet the burgeoning needs of an exponentially increased user market. Districts introduced thousands to the varieties of “how to use technology” resources available online, and the virtual world enabled parents, educators, and schools to serve children in their home environments, elevating the outcomes and successes of all partners in the educational process.

In conclusion, this article has addressed COVID and the successes of parental involvement. COVID-19 caused the entire world to adjust to a new way of living. Educators, students, and parents’ lives had to adjust to a new normal. We looked at some positive impacts of increased parent involvement in schools. We need to help our educators, parents, and students be successful.

References
Li, G. 2019. Asian immigrant family school relationships and literacy learning: Patterns and explanations.
The Wiley handbook of Family, school, and community relationships. Hoboken, N.J. John Wiley and Sons.
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