Parents as Partners in Student Achievement

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Parent-teacher conferences are key to boosting students’ academic success, and have long been the primary tool that schools use to promote school-family engagement. 

However, for many parents, traditional 15- or 20-minute meetings with teachers twice a year aren’t focused or strategic enough to help parents and teachers drive student achievement.

Traditional parent-teacher conferences often work well for students in upper- and middle-class families. College-educated parents routinely provide their children with a family environment that includes experiences and other resources that add layers of support to what is happening in school.

It’s different for families that historically have not expected children to excel academically, let alone attend college.

Through one case study, WestEd’s Academic Parent-Teacher Teams (APTT) developed a project that put a new and effective twist on parent-teacher interaction. It involved a systematic approach to:

  • Giving parents new ways to understand their children’s progress
  • Preparing teachers to coach parents so they grasp key concepts each child has to master at each grade level
  • Helping parents to understand that they themselves play a key part of the process
  • Setting specific, short-term academic goals for their own children, and learning how to work with them at home 

Learn about parents as partners in student achievement and family engagement in this article.