I believe that parents are one of school’s most underutilized resources. I agree completely with Pugach & Johnson (2002) when they argue that “although some parents are apathetic or indifferent about their involvement in schools, this apathy often is overstated.” While I understand that my context is unique and that there are schools, that face many different barriers such as logistical and communication barriers, I still believe that all schools could make a greater effort to include parents in the learning community.
I struggle with knowing how much we should include the different stakeholders in our learning communities. Should students, parents and the larger community have a voice in all decisions? What are the risks if we invite them in the decision making process? How do we create an environment that is welcoming and respectful to various points of view? I often think a good first step is making the learning in our schools more visible. While this likely most often took place at showcases and parent teacher conferences, I believe that technology allows us as teachers and schools to share our learning more regularly and authentically. Creating a school blog that discusses not only the final product, but the learning process, could potentially invite parents into the process by allowing them to comment. I am curious to hear how some of you are engaging your parent community and particularly about some of the challenges that you have faced.