Parent Engagement: Why a Parent Ambassador Program?
Research shows that parent involvement in schools, even at the most basic levels, has an immediate, positive impact on student performance. However, actively engaging parents has long been an elusive goal for many schools and school districts. The Network Room's Parent Ambassador program is a research-based, multi-tiered, structured approach to engaging one of the most important groups of stakeholders in the educational process with one goal in mind – increasing your district's parental involvement.
Essentially, the Parent Ambassador program takes a demographic (however big or small) of already-engaged parents and trains them to be outreach ambassadors for school messages, achievements and activities. A peer-to-peer outreach model dramatically increases the chances that the parents you are trying to reach will re-examine their roles in the educational process and take some ownership for the educational goal set by schools.
Contact our Parent Ambassador Trainer, Steve Nash, at 708-623-9764 to begin this exciting program in your school!
Here is a synopsis of the components of the program:
The first step the program takes in creating Parent Ambassadors is establishing a credible rationale for parent/school team-building by dispelling common pre-conceived notions of educators' (and parents') expectations for school engagement. We utilize national surveys and additional research to emphasize the fact that parents and educators essentially want the same things out of students.
The next portion of the training institutes a common framework within which parents can effectively be involved in the educational process. We examine the virtues of Joyce Epstein's Framework for Parent Involvement to create this operational structure.
The Parent Ambassador program then introduces the concept of family protective factors in order to equip future outreach parents with language and solutions to those parents they may have some struggles within their family structures.
The final portion of the training walks participants through a structured approach to creating and implementing a parent outreach campaign. These campaigns can be centered around a singular topic (e.g. youth violence reduction), or can be focused on a central school-sanctioned parent event (e.g. a parent conference or open house), or can be designed to increase participation in all school activities.
The beauty of the Parent Ambassador program is that it can be tailored to any demographic and any school situation. A typical Parent Ambassador segment generally takes about 8-10 weeks from start to outreach campaign completion. Additional components of the program can be added according to the needs of your school(s):
- Parent Cafés – informal gatherings aimed at discussing parent concerns
- Parent University – continuing parent education on topics that either parents or the school chooses.