Conversations Show #11 - 2008 10 05
This week our Conversation topic was parents and their role in the school. Lisa and Maria were joined by Lorna Costantini, co-host of the Parents as Partners webcast. The conversation was informative as well as thought provoking. There was a lively chat in our chat room that shouldn't be missed.
11:28:36Lisa Parisi: Good morning
11:28:41PeggyG: Good morning everyone
11:28:56Maureen/bcdtech: Hello everyone
11:38:37MariaK: anyone hear us
11:38:41Lisa Parisi: Stream is running..all is right with the world.
11:38:43Maureen/bcdtech: Hooray! I can hear you
11:39:38PeggyG: really loud hum in the background
11:40:15Maureen/bcdtech: Lisa is a little loud, but it's OK
11:40:34sheila: I think the hum is on Lisa's end. Fan?
11:44:22PeggyG: you're back
11:44:31sheila: sounds better!
11:44:36PeggyG: the hum is gone now
11:44:51jansmith: Much better, Lisa's vol is a little loud
11:44:58beth holmes: Sounds fine!
11:48:03PeggyG: Lorna-be sure to tell us about what's happening with your Parents as Partners webcast :-)
11:50:30beth holmes: When my son entered middle school, I noticed a distinct, unspoken "invitation" to disengage from my son's school experience. The contrast between welcomed involvement in elementary school and unwelcomed involvement in MS was astounding.
11:52:16jansmith: @beth was that teachers or administration or kids?
11:52:32Maureen/bcdtech: I have had parents in K who would talk about kids problems, etc.. out of school.
11:52:56PeggyG: @Beth-that is such a common experience-sometimes it's the students who are wanting to pull away from parents and become more independent
11:53:52Maureen/bcdtech: @peggyG@beth It is also a time for kids to become more independent, more responsible for their own learning- so MS teachers encourage this
11:54:11beth holmes: I think it was teachers and administrators who honestly believed that kids needed "freedom" from parents at the MS age.The belief seemed to be that parents needed to back off some - give kids more space.
11:55:08jansmith: Before I have parent volunteers work with kids, we have a conversation about the need for confidentiality. I tell them a story of a parent vol who shared private info about my son. Most are shocked & become more aware.
11:56:07Maureen/bcdtech: @jansmith- I agree, but in small community, some parents find it difficult to maintain confidentiality.
11:56:10PeggyG: building trust with parents is such an important point-they bring a lot of background about their own school experiences
11:56:11sheila: Good point - not accepting the roles. I see that on field trips too.
11:57:48beth holmes: The "parent talk" is a problem. The MS kids called it the "Mommy Hot Line." That may be one reason parents are not as encouraged in MS.
11:57:55PeggyG: Yes! Lisa's work with Voicethread mathcasts and many other things make her teaching much more transparent for teachers and parents can learn more about what's going on in the class and start to build trust with parents
11:59:22jansmith: Moodle may be another way to keep parents informed.
11:59:33PeggyG: parents don't necessarily want to teach their kids but they want to support them
12:00:50jansmith: I find I have to be very flexible because 30 different sets of parents have 60 different sets of expectations of my job and our relationship with kids.
12:01:10beth holmes: Yes, Peggy! Supporting your child is so different than teaching students.
12:02:28Maureen/bcdtech: What about parents who come in for special events, let their kids run wild- then think you have a chaotic classroom?
12:02:38PeggyG: teachers also need help with knowing what kinds of things to ask parents to do in the classroom-parents shouldn't be the "teacher"
12:03:17Maureen/bcdtech: Should be some kind of HIPPA for parent volunteers :-)
12:03:38lparisi: Anyone want to join the call?
12:03:58PeggyG: confidentiality needs to be a part of every school's policy for parent involvement at school
12:04:54jansmith: In my "job" as a parent, I do a lot of match making between my children and their new teachers. "You'll enjoy Ms. __, she really likes ___" This helps creates a positive relationship before we get going.
12:05:32PeggyG: I think the more you try to keep parents out of your classroom without an alternative to get involved causes parents not to trust the teacher/school.
12:05:52Maureen/bcdtech: Our former head used to invite the "exotic" parents to be class parents. Got them more involved in classes. Sometimes a good thing, sometimes not.
12:06:31Maureen/bcdtech: The 5%rs the ones who always cause problems, the ones with issues...
12:07:31Maureen/bcdtech: Always think that 100% of parents want the best for children, but 5% have their own baggage that gets in the way... really in the way.
12:09:09sheila: On field trips, I make sure I don't have a group, so I can monitor each group.
12:10:07jansmith: I also try to remember that the parents are learners, they too need feedback on what they do--a thank you, a gentle clear reminder about confidentiality. Bridge building,
12:10:19PeggyG: do your schools allow parents to make choices about their child's teachers?
12:10:27Maureen/bcdtech: I've had parents take their fieldtrip group to the snack bar, museum shop, and buy them treats... ugh!
12:10:54jansmith: @peggy no.
12:11:12Maureen/bcdtech: @peggy we're too small, but MS parents would love to have choice- rarely given the opportunity.
12:12:14Maureen/bcdtech: Do we need/want parent volunteers in the classroom? Or do we just want their support with their kids
12:12:33PeggyG: we always allowed parent choice when I was a principal but it's important that parents get first-hand information by visiting classrooms and understanding teaching philosophies to make good decisions--not just their friends are in that room
12:12:35jansmith: We just took 65 kids to camp, 7 parents came with us. Our first conversation was about safety, confidentiality, and who handled discipline. (us)
12:13:05PeggyG: @jansmith-great process for your field trip!
12:13:40jansmith: I too would not be about to give kids the program I do without a good relationship with the parents--and their involvement.
12:13:56beth holmes: Right! I love what you are saying about "whole family" participation.
12:14:13sheila: We have a parent volunteer group for both elem and MS. We are now very specific about what we need and the coordinators are very good at matching. Often, I get no volunteers for what I need at the MS. Parents don't want to do it the jobs. . .
12:14:14Maureen/bcdtech: Do you think that this relationship radically changes as the kids leave elementary school?
12:14:46beth holmes: Love this turn in the conversation - "parents as partners!"
12:14:46jansmith: does anyone have a confidentiality form they (or the school admin) ask volunteers to sign?
12:15:26sheila: Numbers change between schools. Class of 24 becomes 90 in the MS.
12:15:45beth holmes: Gotta run! Thoroughly enjoyed the conversation!
12:15:59jansmith: bye beth!
12:16:02PeggyG: bye Beth-glad you could join us
12:16:09MariaK: thanks for joining us
12:16:22Maureen/bcdtech: @sheila Our numbers don't change, but parent involvement changes from in the room to complaints about grades.
12:17:03sheila: I meant #'s for teachers. Class size, therefore, family contacts.
12:17:17jansmith: I think parents want to know that I like their child, that I care about their hearts as well as their minds, and that I have a vision of them as unique and capable.
12:17:37sheila: @jansmith - How true!
12:17:50PeggyG: I think parent involvement in school decisionmaking on school councils is essental but not all parents want to be involved on this level
12:18:19PeggyG: that's why we need many ways for parents to feel welcomied, included and involved
12:18:27Maureen/bcdtech: @sheila- Yes- I understand now. I used to have 16-27 kids when I taught K- now I have 1-3 and 6-9 ...140 kids. I don't even know all the parents now. Used to know too much :-)
12:19:56JoseRodriguez -> -Puentes al Mundo: si poco a poco... quizas con un proyecto
12:20:08PeggyG: @jansmith-I completely agree about parents knowing you care about their child and that you share common goals--it's not teacher vs parent
12:20:22jansmith: Like teachers, the best parent involvement requires listening with your whole self.
12:21:10PeggyG: why should parents who come into the classroom be the only ones with information--excellent point from Epstein!! :-)
12:21:20jansmith: @peggy that "versus" part creates such alienation and breeds problems
12:21:39JoseRodriguez -> -Puentes al Mundo: http://classroombraids.wikispaces.com/
12:21:53PeggyG: Yes and that goes back to the trust-parents feel it's "vs" if they don't trust the teacher
12:22:32jansmith: I wish I could have an hour long conversation with every parent: we learn so much in those conversations.
12:23:26PeggyG: Lisa-in your example I think the partnership would come from working with parent, child and teacher to work out a plan/solution for getting the child to assume responsibility for his medication
12:23:41lparisi: Hi Nicole
12:23:43Maureen/bcdtech: Maybe this dates me, but my parents were not actively involved. Dad worked, mom kept the house, raised 6 kids. Their expectations were that we would work hard and do well. Different now.
12:24:19sheila: Hi nhill! :)
12:24:25nhill: Hi Sheila!
12:24:26jansmith: An insight for me was that a parent read my professional (reflective) blog and mentioned it in a conversation as a window into my philosophy (yeah!)
12:25:01PeggyG: @jansmith that is so awesome!! good for you!!!!
12:25:06Maureen/bcdtech: I think the expectations are that the school has more responsibility for education vs the family expectations. If something is not working it must be the school's fault. Not saying this well...
12:26:07PeggyG: yes, Lorna!! such an important point!!
12:26:34PeggyG: I agree! Lisa and Maria need to come on your show! :-)
12:28:34Maureen/bcdtech: @Maria I love this story!
12:29:08nhill: LOL...great story!
12:29:14JoseRodriguez -> -Puentes al Mundo: muy buen audio en ustream
12:29:27Pilar Soro -> -Puentes al Mundo: esperar un
12:29:28PeggyG: wonderful example of parent involvement, Maria. You did it in a very kind, supportive way and the teacher accepted it :-)
12:29:59JoseRodriguez -> -Puentes al Mundo: si puedo escuchar a cecilia
12:30:01MariaK: she sort of accepted it - she was embarrassed too. Experienced teacher – not a newbie.
12:30:22PeggyG: but you modeled problem solving for her!
12:31:16jansmith: Lisa, I suspect many of us have a similar story (my daughter's gr. 4 teacher had a BAD row) aaak!
12:32:10PeggyG: kids are very aware of which kids in the class are the "problem kids"--no different than 40 years ago with the "bluebird" reading groups
12:32:45Maureen/bcdtech: My daughter's 4th grade teacher had students rip up other kid's papers and throw them away in front of the class- if they had no name on them. I pulled her out of the school the next year.
12:33:30PeggyG: did anyone see the Dr. Phil show this past week about "helocopter parents"? Very interesting show.
12:33:31jansmith: @ Peggy, if we talk about diversity and arer humane in our discipline, this can be partly avoided
12:34:26Maureen/bcdtech: We all turn into Mama Bear when it's our own child. Got to remember this as teachers as well.
12:34:43PeggyG: helicopter parents are those who totally control everything about their child's live and don't give them any choices or independence
12:34:46jansmith: I can handle helicopter parents...it's the lamprey ones that are challenging!
12:35:11Maureen/bcdtech: @jansmith :D
12:35:34Maureen/bcdtech: So we can take this out of school?
12:35:39PeggyG: I was a college professor who had a student bring a parent to our conference
12:36:05lparisi: Thank you all for coming.
12:36:25PeggyG: Lorna-your insights and experience are invaluable! Thanks a lot!
12:36:47nhill: k12 yeah...coming soon!
12:36:55sheila: Thanks all!
12:37:07jansmith: Thanks all, have a great week!
12:37:17PeggyG: I'm really looking forward to all of the great presentations on K12online! Can't wait!
12:37:43Maureen/bcdtech: Great topic- see you next time. Thank You!
12:38:17PeggyG: next week's conversation will be an adventure--grading! :-) Great!
12:39:23PeggyG: so proud of all of the ETT leaders on K12online!
12:39:37MariaK: thank you everyone. see you next week.
12:40:01PeggyG: Thank you for another great conversation.