Working with Stakeholders (Manage the Home-School Partnership)
- We should see the work of schools and parents as a partnership, because both are essential for the success of the children`s education.
- The head teacher asks all the stakeholders (parents, teachers, students) for their suggestions before making a decision involving any of them.
Background Information / Content Description
Who are stakeholders?
- Persons who have an interest in the school
- People who may be affected by a school decision
- People who are affected by or who affect a school decision
Why should we work with stakeholders?
- The following have made the job of the school management more difficult and complex than before:
- The Population explosion and the subsequent enrollment in government schools
- Inadequate resources to cope with the ever-increasing demand for provision of education
- The head teacher represents the most influential stakeholder in the school stetting and is expected to set the academic tone for students, parents, staff, and community members through effective participatory leadership.
- To ensure effective and successful management, the school head must not only be innovative, resourceful and dynamic, but must also be able to interact well with people both within and outside the school.
The Importance of Stakeholders
- All the parties who have an interest in the school (staff, students, parents, members of the community) must cooperate and interact positively with each other towards common goals.
- All the stakeholders need to be brought into the decision-making process, in some way.
- Composition of School Council
- Before selecting potential members, considers the following questions:
- Who cares if a school problem is discussed and solved?
- Who is affected by the problem or issue?
- Who can help solve the problem or address the issue?
- Who has the knowledge or skills to help solve the problems?
- Who will benefit if the problem is solved or the problem is addressed?
Who can be stakeholder in a school system?
- School administrators and other school personnel
- School board members
- Respected members of the school community like business leaders, elected officials, social service, organizations, media personnel
- Parents of the school students
- Faculty members
What are the benefits of being a stakeholder?
- A sense of accomplishment from helping in the betterment of the community
- Gaining recognition and respect in the community
- Meeting other community members
- Learning new skills
- Fulfilling civic obligation to contribute to betterment of society
What are the school benefits?
- Students’ performance is enhanced due to parental involvement.
- Students` interest level in school activities is increased
- Students feel loved and secure in this home-school partnership
- Parents and the school decide on a course of action best for their child.
- Parents and school keep each other informed of important developments.
- Both emphasize areas to work on in the child.
- Parents feel responsibilities for the education of their child.
- Sharing in the school programs helps in gaining the parents` support, thus ensuring the success of the programme.
- There are many resources persons in a community, their services may be utilized.
- Parents and the community can be an important source of financial and material support essential for the developments of the school.
Potential conflict areas among stakeholders
- Problems with bringing about change community members may not understand the dynamics of a school and may make unrealistic demands.
- Narrow-mindedness of members
- External pressure- from political and social group
- Rivalry between groups in the community
- Rights of teachers-community members may have unrealistically high expectations which may infringe on the rights of the teachers
Formal activities involving parents
- Research has shown that parental involvement is the most important factor in a student`s success in school. In our schools, contact with parents is usually limited to the following:
- General Parent –Teacher Meetings (PTMs)
- Individual Parent-Teacher Meetings to discuss weak children.
- School diaries
- School notices / circulars
- We have to ensure that these five contact times are maximally useful.
1. General Parent –Teacher Meetings (PTMs)
The importance of PTMs
- For many parents, their involvement is limited to attendance at PTMs so the school must learn how to make the most of the opportunity.
- The school must ensure the attendance of all the parents to make the PTMs a success.
Steps to ensure attendance of parents
- Announce dates and times repeatedly, at functions, school assembly etc. use these opportunities to explain the importance of the importance of their attendance.
- Send notices to parents regarding schedule. Explain the importance of the meetings.
- Put up the schedule on the school bulletin board where it is visible to parents and students.
- Provide the information in English as well as in mother language.
- Subject to the availability of telephonic services, teachers can help by personally ringing up the parents who are habitually absent at meetings.
- They can also ring up those parents whose children are careless and have a habit of losing / misplacing the notices.
- The dates and times can be entered in the school diary too.
The teachers` role to ensure success
- Getting the parents to attend a meeting is only half the battle. Once the parents are there, you have to make it clear that their involvement is absolutely essential for their child`s success.
- To ensure success:
- Start each meeting on time
- Be dressed professionally
- Remain positive and calm
- Listen carefully, think before replying
- By your attitude make it clear to the parents that you like their child.
- Remember, if you are nervous-many of them are as nervous as you. You have to make them feel comfortable.
Tips for Teachers:
- Welcome the parents
- Thank them for coming
- Establish friendly terms by sharing a pleasant incident about their child or asking about an activity of the child outside the school.
- Always mention the student`s strength first. Sandwich the negative remarks between two positive remarks.
- Briefly discuss the child`s progress in your subject. Show examples of the student`s work. Show don`t tell.
- Briefly discuss the child`s work habits, behavior and social skills.
- Don’t` take over the conversation, strike a balance, 50% for their talk-time and 50% for yours.
- Set a couple of goals for the student plan with the parents on how to implement the goals.
- Let the parents know how they can reach you in case problems arise.
- When they are leaving, thank them for coming.
- Quickly jot down the particular points if any, especially any follow-up points / dates discussed.
- After the PTM, prepare the report, review the highlights and any areas of concern, write the percentage of parents who attended and hand over to the head.
2. Individual Parent-Teacher Meeting to discuss weak students
- PTMs are usually enjoyable and flow smoothly but occasionally a tough meeting comes along which tests your professionalism and your patience.
- This meeting is either called by you to discuss poor study habits, disruptive behavior, class repeat etc. Or then, requested by parents to discuss difficulties being faced by their child. They may complain about you too. In that case try to learn the nature of the problem before the meeting so that you are prepared.
Preparing for the meeting
- Document the difficulties
- Keep a log of the child`s disruptive behavior.
- Keep track of the child`s grades and missing assignments.
- Keep a record of all communications with parents.
- Keep notes and records concerning the child`s behavior in other classes.
- Share with colleagues and take their advice on handling students who are creating difficulties.
At the meeting
- Have the meeting in a senior management member`s office. The senior person should be present.
- Welcome the parents with warmth.
- Put everything in writing. Use specific samples of the student`s work when explaining.
- Don`t use difficult terms while your conversation with parents. Language should be simple.
- Weigh your words when speaking. Allow for parental anger.
- Seek parents` suggestions. Add your suggestions too which you have prepared beforehand.
- Be selective when discussing student`s difficulties. Focus on only one or two areas.
- Always summarize meeting at the end.
- Assure them that everything discussed is confidential.
- Thank the parents for coming.
- Always have a senior management member present and apprise him / her of the situation beforehand.
After the meeting
- Schedule a follow-up meeting and remember to follow-up.
- Keep communicating. Remember, parents welcome positive communication.
- Document everything that is decided / discussed at each meeting and file it.
- Some suggested functions are:
- Annual Prize Distribution Day, sports Day, Parents` Day etc.
- Steps to a successful function
- Set your goals
- Set a deadline
- Plan for the events
- Select chief guest and invite
- Prepare guest list and invite
- Assign tasks and prepare follow-up sheet
- Plan your programme
- Make event arrangements like tent age etc.
4. Maintaining Student diary / notebook used for this purpose
- The first page should include the student`s home address, phone number, father`s name, his contact number, the number to call in an emergency etc.
- Ensure that the student knows the above information by heart.
- Always check the student`s daily entries.
- Always sign the students` entries.
- You can put in short messages in the diary.
- Whenever a parent writes messages read it and write: ‘Seen’ and sign to acknowledge that you`ve read it.
- Don`t let the student scribble in the diary or do any other work in it.
5. School Notices
- Steps to prepare a good circular / notice:
- It should have the school name in official font at the top.
- Write the subject, date and circular number.
- Always have the same format for all notices.
- Word your notice and proof-read with great care.
- Remember, circulars are a reflection on your school.