As a parent, do you consider yourself involved or engaged in your child’s education? Is there a difference?
When parents are involved, it is usually through school or staff ideas and initiatives, or through directives mandated by the government, such as the Thames Valley Parent Involvement Committee (TVPIC) in the London area.
- From the Ontario government website, it states: “PICs and school councils encourage parent involvement in their children’s learning in support of student achievement and well-being.”
- From the TVPIC website, their mandate is: “The purpose of a Parent Involvement Committee is to support, encourage and enhance parent engagement at the Board level in order to improve student achievement and well-being.”
When parents are involved, they are often given resources or told what they should be doing to support their children’s education in school. Schools and school boards often focus on supporting students through school programs and initiatives, and ask parents to support these initiatives by becoming involved with them.
When parents are engaged, they often bring their own ideas — from parents to other parents, as well as staff and the community at large — in order to reach a goal that supports students, while also taking the community into consideration. Through this engagement, parent leaders are able to work towards and achieve goals to support specific student or community needs in their areas. The experiences students have at school — in addition to what they learn — helps them grow into positive and contributing members of their community.
- The role of the Thames Valley Council of Home and School Associations (TVCHSA) as stated on their website is: to engage parents, foster communication between the school and the parent community, and to organize events and activities to enrich the whole school community.
Parent involvement is supported and represented by two groups recognized in the Thames Valley District school board who fulfill different roles — the School Council (TVPIC) and the Home and School Association (TVCHSA). Yet both organizations see their roles as helping to engage parents in their children’s lives.
Maybe there is a difference between involved parents and engaged parents, but both are important roles — for both schools and for communities.
How do we build these parent-school relationships?
Communicate – Whether through school newsletters, websites or social media, let your parents know what is happening at the school and how they can become involved.
Volunteer – As engaged parents, take the initiative to attend Home and School meetings and events, go on those school field trips and help out in your child’s class.
Be part of the community – Whether being part of School Council (TVPIC) or a member of your Home and School Association (TVCHSA), as a parent you are choosing to become involved with your school or engaged with your school’s community.
Sharing your ideas and concerns and being part of what happens at your school and in your community is important. Choose to be both an involved AND engaged parent, and students will be the ones who will benefit from your participation.