We are a grassroots group of parents, educators, trainers, counselors, psychologists, legislators, and school administrators who believe the meaning of parent involvement must expand beyond bake sales and volunteering at school.
We think it is time to acknowledge that although volunteer work makes a significant contribution to schools and kids, it is not the full picture of what it means to be an "involved parent." For children to reach their full potential, families must teach respect, discipline, and a love of learning at home. They must hold their kids accountable for their behavior and academic performance and provide an atmosphere at home that is conducive to learning. Schools, too, must be advocates for meaningful family engagement. They must reach out and listen to parents, help them find a meaningful role in education, collaborate with them, and help them become effective advocates for their children's learning and development.
So how does this type of engagement happen? Not overnight. Not through money spent on quick fixes. Not through one workshop or event. It happens through small collaborative steps, one step at a time, over many years.
How do we know this? We worked personally with more than 40 schools and supported many others since 1996 to develop the type of process that would help parents and schools do exactly what we just described. Before ParentNet was available from this website, over 8000 families and 2,000 volunteer leaders and educators participated in and helped shape the program.
Rather than following "prescriptive" solutions, we believe parents and schools are capable of developing their own collaborative communities where children thrive. This takes proactive rather than reactive efforts on the part of both families and educators. When a school commits itself to increasing meaningful family engagement and partners with parents to help lead the effort, we know that extraordinary results can be achieved.
When we completed the development phase of ParentNet in 2006, we wanted to make sure it would be freely available to everyone. And we saw a need to encourage collaboration between advocates for family engagement and the schools and parents they serve. Our hope is that this website will become an incubator for new and innovative ways to increase meaningful family engagement in schools, homes, and communities across the country.
The responsibility to help our children succeed in school and in life belongs to all of us -- families, schools, and educators. We hope you will get involved!