In the dynamic landscape of education, collaboration between teachers and caregivers is a cornerstone of student success. PTA (Parent Teacher Association) plays a pivotal role in promoting open communication channels between these two crucial stakeholders, fostering a strong partnership to create engaging learning environments both at home and in the classroom.
Setting the stage for effective collaboration
At the heart of PTA's efforts lies a commitment to uphold six key tenets as outlined in National PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships, which National PTA updated with GoGuardian’s support in 2022 to strengthen collaboration between teachers and caregivers.
These principles include welcoming all families, communicating effectively, supporting student success, speaking up for every child, sharing power, and collaborating with the community. Two of these standards, "Communicate Effectively" and "Support Student Success," hold particular significance in bridging the gap between teachers and caregivers.
Under the "Communicate Effectively" standard, teachers are encouraged to share learning goals for the school year, while caregivers are urged to provide insights into their child's progress and home life. This two-way dialogue ensures both parties remain informed and engaged. In addition to this, caregivers and teachers are prompted to collectively define communication norms, enhancing the consistency and quality of their interaction throughout the academic year.
Empowering caregivers in education
PTA takes its commitment a step further by involving caregivers in the planning and execution of educational activities that complement classroom learning. Programs like STEM + Families offer hands-on STEM experiences, fostering engagement at school, at home, within the community, and through online learning. The Family Reading Experience program encourages a love for reading by providing caregivers and their students access to books and a supportive reading environment. These initiatives not only enhance learning but also create a shared sense of responsibility in nurturing a stimulating educational atmosphere.
Promoting shared responsibility
National PTA's collaboration efforts extend beyond just programs and initiatives. The organization has joined with Representative Suzanne Bonamici to advocate for meaningful family engagement through initiatives like the Bill of Rights for Students and Parents. First introduced in March 2023, the resolution highlights the importance of meaningful and inclusive caregiver engagement in K-12 education, as well as recognizes the importance of sufficiently supporting public schools so they can provide all students with a high-quality, equitable, and well-rounded education in a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment. The resolution also celebrates and encourages the engagement of students and their caregivers in education and collaboration between educators, school leaders, and community members with the goal of supporting student learning, growth, and development.
National PTA is urging all members of Congress to support the resolution as well as increase investments in meaningful caregiver engagement to ensure all schools, districts, and states have resources to reach, engage, and strengthen caregiver-school partnerships.
The power of collaboration
Collaboration between teachers and caregivers is vital because it capitalizes on a diversity of perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. Research highlights the positive impact of such collaboration on student outcomes. Caregivers contribute unique insights into their child's development and well-being, while educators offer expertise in pedagogy and learning strategies. Together, they create an ecosystem that supports holistic growth.
For a wide variety of other resources to help caregivers support students’ learning, be sure to visit its website at PTA.org/FamilyResources.