Already staring down another semester of lack-luster parent involvement? Try these 8 tips for getting more parents signed up and helping out!
1. Be clear, clear, clear! Help parents know where they can park, where to report, if they have to sign in at the office or not, what they’ll be doing and what time you need them til precisely; these details make volunteering in the classroom more efficient and gives parents the genuine feeling that their time in the classroom is well-spent.
2. Make it easier to sign up! Use free online signup sheets and class parent volunteer calendars to streamline the coordination process and get more parents involved. With mobile access, automated reminders and convenience apps, it’s way more attractive to parents than clunky spreadsheets and reply-all emails!
3. Don’t get lost in translation: Are language barriers preventing more class parents from getting involved? Communication breakdowns can leave room parents frustrated and parents feeling left out; if you think this is a problem, get help! Find a translator or ask a foreign language teacher at school to help you translate a letter to class parents.
4. Build on skills: Find out if your class parents have intriguing skills or talents they might be interested in sharing with students; it will get them helping in the classroom, enriching the lessons and paving the way for other parents to share too.
5. Show appreciation! Make a show of recognizing the parents who currently help in the classroom; email and facebook shout outs, special rewards luncheons, even cards from students are great ways to show parents they are appreciated and encourages others to get involved. More ideas here
6. Don’t get too serious: Helping in the classroom should be FUN, but sometimes coordination hassles and the politics of parent organizations can be overwhelming. Don’t take yourselves too seriously – incorporate a little silly into ‘the process’ with things like “throwback photos” where PTA members share embarrassing prom photos or glamour shots in the monthly newsletter.
7. Add incentives to the mix: Whether you connect with local retailers or restaurants to offer parent volunteers special offers or gift certificates, or even sneaking a latte for your reliable parent volunteer who is always there in a pinch, a little “carrot” never hurts in getting the job done.
8. Opt for at-home opportunities: Give working parents the option to help contribute to the classroom from home at their convenience; managing social accounts or classroom blogs, making cut-outs for the bulletin board, you name it, there are tons of ways to help. More ideas here