How to Involve Parents in School Change

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This post originally ran last year, when teachers in Coppell, Texas introduced their student-centered, Results Only Learning Environment to parents. If you are transforming your classroom or school, this is a wonderful model for involving parents in your transition.

parent meeting

Coppell East Middle School ROLE parent meeting

Some remarkable teachers at Coppell Middle School East in Texas are piloting Results-Only Learning. I spent an amazing day with them before the school year began, and they are now knee-deep in converting their classrooms into Results Only Learning Environments.

Teachers want to involve parents any school change, so they recently convened a special open house, which they called a symposium, designed specifically to distinguish results-only learning from the traditional classes parents are used to seeing.

Elaborating on the symposium, one ROLE pilot team teacher, Megan Boyd, says:

“In a traditional classroom, a lot of communication comes simply through posting grades. Parents see a good grade, and they assume all is great with their child. Parents see a bad grade, and contact the teacher to get more information. Since we have taken away that resource, parents feel clueless about their child’s progress. . . We designed the ROLE parent meeting to be a symposium of information to educate parents on the day-to-day process of a ROLE and to settle their concerns that their child really is getting the support they need while being taught the same standards they need to be successful on the state mandated test.”

One particularly effective part of this unique parent meeting was the involvement of students at the symposium. Says Boyd:

“It was very beneficial to have the students involved. It made the meeting more relevant and valid. The bottom line is the students, so if we have proof that it’s working for the students then we have proof that it’s working.”

The symposium helped parents envision the workshop setting of a results-only classroom. Some were concerned that instruction was missing. Another pilot team teacher, Laura Melson, explains it this way:

“Instead of talking for 45-50 minutes straight, we condense the talking and give students the time to apply the concept instead of them taking notes and dying of boredom.”

Now, that sounds like a sound explanation of a Results Only Learning Environment, complete with a perfect, interactive parent meeting.

Stay tuned for more comments from the ROLE pilot teachers about their symposium and about their transition to results-only learning.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 115,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.