There are many different types of parent engagement. Parents contribute to their children's learning at home, school, and the board:
- At home, parents create the conditions to support student learning (e.g. read to their children, talk about school and help with homework).
- At school, parents participate in parent-teacher dialogues, volunteer in the school and on school trips, and participate on school councils.
- At the board, parents provide advice on parent engagement and communicating with parents as members of the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) such as PIAC.
Parent engagement matters. Studies show that student achievement and wellbeing improves when parents play an active role in their children's education, and that good schools become even better schools when parents are involved. Students are more likely to be motivated, to earn higher grades, to have better behaviour and social skills, and to continue their education to a higher level when their parents are actively engaged in supporting their success at school.
There are many ways for parents to advocate for students in order to close the achievement gap.
A School Improvement Plan (SIP) (PDF, 1.4mb) is prepared by the principal in consultation with parents and the school community. The SIP is developed each fall and provides a set of research-based school improvement actions that meet the needs of every student, with a particular focus on reducing the achievement gap for students or groups of students who have been identified by school data to be at risk. The SIP has three umbrellas: Equity, Wellbeing, and Achievement. Parents are encouraged to participate in the development of the school's SIP. School Councils are also encouraged to review the SIP when planning activities and addressing parent engagement.
The parent section of the School Statement of Needs document is developed annually in the fall by parent representatives (school council) in consultation with the school community and the trustee (when available). The SSoN is used by the Superintendent to hire a new Principal in the event of a vacancy. The SSoN reflects needs that are specific to the school and community. Use these resources for completing your SSoN: SSoN Parent Guide, the Template for a Letter to Parents, and the SSoN Form (pdf) or SSoN Form (doc)
The Toronto District School Board includes a Parent Representative on its Principal and Vice-Principal Interview Committees each year. If you are interested in more information or participating, please contact email@example.com or contact the Parent and Community Engagement office firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do we get parents interested in School Council? More parents are attracted to School Council when council is a resource for parents and not a task.
School Council planning should incorporate the two arms of your mandate (as defined in O. Reg. 612): improving student achievement, and enhancing the accountability of the education system to parents. Evaluate the needs of your school using the School Improvement Plan (SIP) (PDF, 1.4mb), staff & family input, and feedback from School Committees.
Research has shown, time after time, that what parents do at home is what improves student achievement. Choose council activities that support student achievement by building parent capacity and representing parent knowledge on the required School Committees.
Supporting families and building partner relationships within your school community is fulfilling the School Council mandate. Striving for authentic parent engagement will make your council more meaningful within your school community.
Try incorporating some of these ideas into your School Council meeting schedule to develop deeper parent/family engagement.
*All parents of TDSB students are welcome to run for election as a PIAC Representative or Alternate in their Ward. Contact your Trustee to find out about Ward elections. For more information: mail email@example.com.