Teachers and Parents Working Together

By Abby Hallford

One of the best known and most obvious ways for parents and schools to work together is through the PTA. An active PTA benefits children and their schools by providing connections, resources, and opportunities for school improvement.

However, it can be a challenge for schools, especially those in urban areas with poor families and at-risk students, to encourage their parents to join the PTA.

While challenging, it is possible for schools with limited parental involvement to increase parental participation and establish a stronger school community. I witnessed it first-hand when I worked as a counselor in such a school in Tulsa, Okla.

The district was the largest in the state, in a city of 500,000. The K-5 school is a neighborhood elementary school with a history of being a high-achieving African- American-majority school. Many of the graduates went on to the best high school in the city’s district, Booker T. Washington.

The student population changed over the years. The two-parent homes were replaced with single-parent, grandparent, and foster homes with a smaller white population from the surrounding area. Gang members occupied the school grounds, deterring students from playing on the playground after school hours. Graffiti and trash were left on the playground for students and staff to pick up during the school day.

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