Parents on Your Side

Parents on Your Side, Lee Canter and Marlene Canter
Solution Tree, 2001
The focus of this book is communication; schools communicating with
families about school programs and student success.
Schools have many mandates and families face many challenges, but effective
parental involvement and meaningful, two-way communication provide
a pathway to student improvement.
“Through effective communication with parents, teachers can have the
greatest impact on their day-to-day success with students. With parents
on their side, teachers can more effectively manage most academic and behavioral
issues that arise. When the most important adults in a child’s life are working
together, students benefit enormously.”
This book is divided into three sections:
ƒ Why Teachers Need Parents, and Parents Need Teachers
ƒ How to Work with Parents to Establish Positive Relationships
ƒ How to Work with Parents to Solve Problems
“Why Teachers Need Parents, and Why Parents Need Teachers” lays an excellent foundation extolling
the value of parental involvement. It is affirmed that parents are the most important person in a child’s
life; therefore, educators need to respect parents and include them as partners in the child’s education.
Educators need to have an attitude that enables them to work successfully with parents. As educators
work with parents they need to be professional, confident, demonstrate they are concerned for the
child, and above all else must treat the parent the way they would want to be treated (the golden rule).
This section concludes with a helpful description of common myths and roadblocks and how to
address these potential obstacles.
“How to Work with Parents to Establish Positive Relationships” provides step-by-step suggestions for
proactive parental involvement. The emphasis is upon the teacher following an ongoing strategy to
communicate with parents on a regular basis to establish and maintain a positive relationship. This
section addresses communicating with parents before the first day of the new school year, making the
back-to-school night work, including parents in the homework process, and successful parent teacher
conferences. Included are many sample documents, lists of reminders for Do’s and Don’ts, and
various checklists a teacher could use for implementing their parental involvement strategies.
“How to Work with Parents to Solve Problems” acknowledges that some student problems, either
academic or behavioral, require a team approach to resolve. The team is the school and the family.
The student needs to understand that home and school are working together with agreed upon
expectations, rewards, and consequences. Furthermore, the teacher and parents will consistently
follow this agreement for the child’s benefit. This section provides some practical advice for teachers
as they work with parents to address problematic situations. As in the previous section, many sample
documents are included as are lists of reminders for Do’s and Don’ts, and various checklists a teacher
could use when engaging families in these strategies.
Effective parental involvement is not one-directional but relies upon regular, two-way communication.
There are many ways families may become involved in a school, but it starts with a relationship of
mutual respect and trust with the primary goal being student success – academic achievement and
age-appropriate behavior.
Review, Skip Forsyth, 03/21/10