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The Power of Partnership: Igniting Change Through Parental Involvement

Partnerships can help businesses thrive in a competitive market. They can increase brand awareness, drive demand for products and services, and improve financial performance.

Schools that successfully engage parents go beyond narrow definitions of parental involvement and focus on effective communication. They start with the belief that students’ success is a shared interest of both school and family, and envision parents as partners.


Schools have a number of ways to communicate with parents. They may use emails, newsletters, web sites, or meetings. However, effective communication requires two-way dialogue. Schools must be able to listen to parents and respond to their concerns.

Parents who are active in their children's education help their students learn at home and cultivate a lifelong love of learning. This can help them succeed in school and develop a strong work ethic. Parental involvement can also give teachers tools to better support their students.

Many different levels and types of parental involvement have been linked to student academic performance. Various forms of parental involvement include classroom volunteering, chaperoning school events, attending parent-teacher conferences and communicating with teachers. Some schools have even integrated parents into decision-making processes, creating a more collaborative environment. In addition, schools can use social media and text messaging to engage parents. This allows them to reach a larger audience and encourage greater participation.

Parent-Teacher Meetings

Parent-teacher meetings are a great way to talk about your student's academic progress, especially if you have concerns or worries. They also allow you to develop an action plan that can help your child improve. It's important to keep in touch with teachers after your conference, whether through phone calls or emails.

Parents in focus groups following six-month training shared that they felt that teacher/parent partnership is vital to students with disabilities, and that the meetings helped them to better understand each other's perspectives. These meetings are particularly helpful for addressing student behavioral problems or identifying a learning disability.

Meetings can be held throughout the year at progress reporting times, and some schools and kura use e-conferencing systems to enable parents to book a time that suits them. In middle and high school, student-led conferences are becoming popular. In these meetings, students share their strengths and weaknesses with teachers and other key adults. They also set goals for behavior and academic performance.

Support Groups

For parents of special needs children, support groups can play a powerful role in their educational journey. They may be the first place where they meet other parents who “get it.” Meeting others with the same struggles can be healing and empowering for them.

Groups can be structured around a particular theme or topic, such as parenting children with ADD or mental illness. Or they can be organized around life transitions, such as divorce or widowhood.

The goal of a support group is to empower members to work through their own problems and problems of those closest to them. This is done by establishing an environment of safety, altruism, and a sense of belonging. Members learn to identify and describe their own issues, seek out solutions for them, and provide guidance and empathy for each other. They also gain insight from others' stories. This helps them understand that they are not alone and gives them hope for the future.

Rights of Parents

Advocacy is a powerful tool to support families as they navigate through the educational journey of their special needs students. ADF’s Center for Legislative Advocacy fights to ensure the government can’t infringe upon fundamental parental rights. These include efforts to assert parents’ rights to direct the upbringing of their children, provide for increased transparency in curriculum, and prevent schools from making vital medical decisions for their kids without parental consent.

The term “parental rights” sounds unobjectionable — but that’s because it is a broad and vague concept. It can refer to any number of rights a person may have under federal or state law, school board rules, and more.

Parental rights can be terminated when a city agency (like NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services – ACS) files a case in Family Court to end a parent’s custody of their child and provides legal grounds for the termination. If the parents’ rights are not terminated, they are considered to have “residual” rights which can include everything from education and religious affiliation decisions to permission for haircuts and tattoos.