As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education, this week’s topic focuses on working with parents.
The prompts #Edublogsclub provides are great ways to sit and reflect on topics that we don’t talk much about. And this one, parents, at the high school level, is rarely talked about without the ubiquitous comments that parents are no longer invested or connected at the high school level with their students and their teachers.
Yet, we find ways to keep them connected. In our high school, parent-teacher conference day is held on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break and is for K-12. This was implemented a few years back and has become a positive event at the high school. This day coupled with Open House at the beginning of the year are two times we try to really make the library shine and be welcoming.
For Open House, usually some activities are held in the library to showcase certain activities that wouldn’t otherwise have a place and my colleague and I stand at the doors (wide open) with information to help, ready to talk, and a smile. I have had more positive interactions with parents looking like a doorman than at many other points in the school year. Whether it starts with how different the library looks since they have attended or the fact that they love that their kids come to the library, we’re always quick to share what programs we have going on and how they as parents can stay connected along with reacquainting them with the library and what we can offer to their students.
It may be difficult to engage parents at the high school level, but we try with
- occasional physical mailings home,
- fervent activity on our library social media,
- invitations to be chaperones or volunteers for library-related events
- posts to the school’s notification system, and
- visitations to parent-orientated meetings like the school’s Coffee Klatch through our Parent Information Resource Center or PTSA meetings
Yet it all starts with being present. We try to be as visible as possible, whenever possible because we know that “just showing up is half the battle”… for both sides.