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Involving Parents in School Activities

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    SITUATION: Unson Elementary School, the first barrio school in the town of Pagsanjan is situated in Cabanbanan, Pagsanjan, Laguna.

    It caters three barangays in the municipality that is why among the eleven schools in the District, it has the biggest enrolment. I assumed my assignment as Principal in this school last January 4, 2010. From that date onward, I have found out that every time there is school meeting, (General assembly, emergency and scheduled homeroom meeting with the teacher) few parents came. In School Year 2010-2011 out of 189 Grade III pupils, around 50 parents regularly attend General PTA and Homeroom meetings and other school programs.

    With regards to participation of parents in school activities specially volunteering service, last 2010 BRIGADA ESKWELA, – based from the attendance only 21 parents of this batch came to voluntarily help. Common attendees were parents of pupils who are in the cream section. With this observation I underwent brainstorming and did some readings to answer the problem on how can I increase the attendance of Grade IV parents of ordinary pupils in school meetings and in school activities.

    Involvement of parents in school meetings and in other school activities is indispensable because this will give them the chance to contribute in planning and in the implementation of school improvement plan. It will contribute in giving strength to the teachers and school head in achieving total development. Parental involvement and regular participation of parents will help increase the performance academically and non-academically of pupils furthermore it contributes to higher quality education and better performance of school as a whole.

    It is also tested that pupils whose parents usually involved in school activities tend to perform better and that they are not and they do not become the problem children in the school, they are the pupils who regularly attend classes, settled well in school and excel in class. I strongly trust that parents’ participation in school will become groundwork of pupils to become more responsible person of the future. For these reasons, parental involvement should then be fortified and heightened in school system. The main purpose of this action research is to increase active parental involvement of Grade IV parents in school activities.

    Participation of Grade IV Parents in School Activity – BRIGADA ESKWELA BRIGADA ESKWELA is the first activity of the school year. In order to increase the participation of parents of the incoming Grade IV pupils, intensive information dissemination was applied. Two months before the activity, incoming Grade IV parents were informed through discussing it on the last meeting that was held before the closing of the school year. It was followed by oral announcement and invitation done during recognition program and graduation rites.

    One week before the event, a letter of invitation to individual parents were sent through the PTA officers and Barangay Officials. In addition to the information dissemination, posting of banners and announcement in some conspicuous places and Alay Lakad which was participated by all the teachers, General PTA Officers and members and some invited organizations were done to inform the parents. After applying the stated intense information dissemination and campaign for the parents to participate in the activity, stated below is the record of attendance of the parents of the incoming Grade IV pupils in BRIGADA ESKWELA 2011.

    Attendance of Grade IV Parents in the Brigada Eskwela 2011 The data shows that in 2010 only 21 out of 189 parents or 11% of the parents of the incoming Grade III pupils participated in the BRIGADA ESKWELA while in 2011, 78 parents out of 181 or 43% of the parents of the incoming Grade IV pupils participated in the same activity. This means that there were 57 parents or 32% increase in the participation of Grade IV parents as compared to the attendance of the same parents being measured in their participation over the previous year.

    With this result we can tangibly say that if the parents are well informed and invited about the activities that will be done they will respond and participate. Soliciting parents’ assistance in Brigada Eskwela is always possible. If the school staff will exert efforts in inviting parents to participate in school bayanihan, they can generate volunteer services. I can fairly attribute the participation of this Grade IV parents to the award received by the school as 2011 BRIGADA Best Implementer, (Most Exceptional School Category) Division Level.

    After the preparation of the classroom during the BRIGADA ESKWELA week which involved the incoming Grade IV pupils’ parents, another meeting was scheduled to organize Homeroom PTA followed by four more gatherings. Attendance of Parents in School Meetings For a year of observation, it was noted that during the conduct of regular Homeroom PTA meetings, it was observed that most of the attendees came from the cream section so in order to increase the attendance of parents in the school meetings the advisers of the Grade IV pupils together with the principal applied the following strategies: Sending letter of Invitation and

    Posting of Announcement on the Bulletin Boards Oral announcement or PAKISABI SA MGA MAGULANG about the meeting that will be conducted is a poor way to inform the parents about the event. It is not only the parents of the lower grades that need to receive letter of invitation for them to come to a meeting but the higher grade parents as well. To make sure that the information about the meeting will reach the parents, the Grade IV teachers through the advice of the school head devised an invitation letter with reply slip and sent to individual parent of the Grade IV pupils.

    Each pupil is required to return the reply slip a day before the meeting. In this way the parents will then feel that the call on a meeting is stern and their response is very important. Another means done by the Grade IV advisers to make the parents aware of the meeting was they posted announcement on the bulletin board 3 days before the meeting. Giving Lecture to Parents about the Importance of their Attendance in School Meetings and other School Activities It is not only in this school that I observed negative attitudes of some parents when school meeting is being called.

    This kind of mind-set of parents about school meetings should be enhanced and tuned into positive thinking. This is why during the first school meeting, included in the agenda is to give a simple lecture on the important role parents should play in their children/offspring’s life when they are at the stage of formal schooling. The lecture was delivered in interactive approach. Some of the parent participants during the lecture were asked on what they observe when the teachers and the school head call on a meeting. Some attendances during the past meetings were reviewed.

    They came up to an answer that many parents do not regularly come to meetings or school gatherings. Reasons were cited and some of their answers were: walang oras; may trabaho – busy; may sinusubaybayang teledrama and others. Some of them were asked to give reasons why should they come whenever there is a meeting. With the sharing that have been done, in a very positive and courteous way the school head imparted to the parents that attending meetings and other school activities is an accountability of parents and that they are responsible for it.

    Parents were given ideas that important matters are being taken during school meetings. School Decision-Making and Advocacy that affect their children’s education were the reasons why school meeting is being conducted. Varying Meeting Time Some parents of pupils coming in the school are working; some are closely tied in their responsibilities with household chores. These denote that every minute counts on them. This is why varying meeting time was applied in the last General PTA Assembly meeting. Instead of setting the call time at 1:00 PM or 3:00 PM, this was done at 4:00 PM and lasted till 6:00 PM.

    This was conceptualized thinking that those parents who are working can have time to attend the meeting. Another meeting which was conducted on Saturday was the issuance of the form 138 of the pupils for the first grading period. Keeping the meeting short but substantial was effective strategy that was applied during this meeting. The parents actively participated during the discussion and evaluation of pupils performance for the first quarter of the school year. In order to find out on what schedule generated the most number of attendance, the attendance of three meetings were compared.

    The result is stated below: Based from the comparative results of the attendance of Grade IV Parents in school meetings which were held using varied time and day, the meeting that was held last September 3, 2011, Saturday at 8:00 AM generated the most number of participants which is 82% of the parents of the Grade IV pupils. It is 28% greater than the attendance generated on June 30, 2011 at 1:00 in the afternoon and 7% higher than the meeting held last July 13, 2011 which was started at 4:00 PM.

    This means that parents have time to attend school gatherings if it is to be held on weekend. Combining Meetings with School Event/Program Calling parents too often to attend in school meetings and other gatherings will mean disturbance to them especially most of them are working to earn a living and to support their children’s education. This is the reason why the strategy of combining meetings with other school event was implemented to increase the attendance of parents in school meeting. This strategy was applied during the nutrition month and buwan ng wikang pambansa celebrations.

    Before the program start, the parents of Grade IV pupils were convened for a short meeting to impart to them some important matters about the performance of their children. Through this strategy the teachers and parents were able to save time, effort and money – transportation fee to get into the meeting. First Homeroom Meeting held during every first month of S. Y. 2011-2012 The above data presents the comparison of attendance of parents of the Grade IV Pupils in the Homeroom Meeting conducted during the opening of classes in wo school year. During the first homeroom meeting held last June, 2010 only 63 out of 189 or 33% of the parents attended the meeting while in the meeting held in June 2011, 97 out of 181 or 54 % of the parents attended the meeting. This means that after the intervention made, there were 34 or 21% of the parents were added in the attendance. 1st General Assembly for S. Y. 2011-2012 The above data presents the comparison of attendance of parents of the Grade IV pupils in the first general assembly.

    In the meeting conducted in July 2010, there were 43 out of 189 parents or 23% of the parents attended while in the same kind of meeting held last July 2011, 135 out of 181 parents or 75% parents of the pupils attended, this means that there were 92 or 52% of the parents of the pupils enrolled in Grade IV increased in attendance for 2011. Issuance of Card for the First Grading Period S. Y. 2011-2012 The above graph shows the comparison of attendance of parents during the parents’ day meeting in the First Quarter issuance of pupil’s form 138 or the report card.

    During the issuance of report card for the first grading period on 2010, 102 parents out of 189 or 54% of the parents attended in the parent’s day while in 2011, 148 out of 181 or 82% of the parents of the Grade IV pupils attended the same activity, this means that there was an increase in the attendance of 46 parents or 28%. This increase can also be attributed on the lesson imparted by the school head and Grade IV teachers that attending meeting is one of their primary obligations with their siblings who are at their school age.

    Also giving them the chance to contribute in making classroom improvement plan is a great privilege for them to become instrument in the upgrading of the class performance in school. Attendance of Parents in School Program To increase the attendance of Grade IV parents during school programs like nutrition month celebration and buwan ng wika, aside from what had mentioned above, another alternative solution and one of the positive contributing factors in enticing parents to come in the school program is the 100% Involvement of pupils in the program. 100% involvement of pupils means that all the pupils will participate in the school program.

    Teachers are instructed to practice a piece or number to be presented in the program. All pupils from the cream section down to the lowest section are required to participate in the activity. This was made possible because no expenses were involved. Uniforms are the main costume pupils wore during the presentation. For props, indigenous materials were utilized. No money was collected for the presentation in the school program. After the implementation of this innovation, the RESULT of the attendance was: Attendance of Grade IV Parents during the Celebration of Nutrition Month.

    The graph presents a very clear image that in the last year’s celebration of nutrition month 6 out of 189 or only 3% of the parents came to school to watch the event while in 2011, 112 out of 181 or 62% of the parents of the pupils enrolled came to school to witness the presentation of their children. The attendance that was generated during the Nutrition Month Celebration indicates that implementing 100% Participation of the Grade IV pupils in the presentation number during the program was effective. Furthermore it is not only parents’ involvement in the event that became successful but also pupils’ skill in choral recitation was enhanced.

    The school then fulfilled one of its goals, to serve as a training ground not only to gifted children and to those who are trainable as well. Attendance of Grade IV Parents During the Celebration of Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa The data shows that during the Buwan ng Wika Celebration held last 2010, 23 out of 189 or 12% of the parents of the pupils enrolled came to watch the program while in 2011, 135 out of 181 or 75% of the parents of the Grade IV pupils came to watch the program. After applying 100% participation of pupils in the presentation of the special number of the Grade IV classes, 66% increase was attained.

    This means that parents tend to come to see the event if their children are involved in the presentation. VI. Conclusion and Recommendations Conclusion In order to encourage parents to attend in school meetings and other school activities, school head and teachers should exert efforts to encourage them. All the cited alternative solutions generated positive results not only to the school staff and parents but to the pupils as well. The main benefits for the pupils is: if their parents have a greater involvement in the school process, they can include better grades and better classroom behavior.

    Attendance of pupils also generally progress if parents are more involved. Pupils tend to feel better about themselves and their confidence increases. Another advantage is pupils complete homework responsibilities more readily. Parents who get involved tend to have a more co-operative and compassionate attitude toward teachers, as well. Pupils and parents raise their academic prospect with greater school involvement. The school can benefit from the additional resources volunteering parents can bring.

    Getting parents on board, in cases where children have learning disabilities or challenging behavior, can often improve the situation. Customary meetings and communication is important. Involving parents in the school’s decision-making process can give parents “ownership” and help reduce negative attitudes. Improved communication also encourages parents to discuss problems, such as bullying or health and family situations if any, at an early stage. Recommendations: The same interventions/strategies will be applied for the next schedule of meeting in order to prove its effectiveness.

    Increase volunteering time and skills is one way parents can get more involved in schools but these should be clear in intensions and motives. Some parents can be members of development committees in school to participate in making classroom and school improvement plans. If all the parents in all grade levels are actively involved in the school activities and regularly attend meetings, the school can offer “training” to parents who want to know how to help their children with homework or with behavioral problems, offer livelihood programs and other.

    It is highly recommended that PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT in all school activities should be encouraged and strengthened. VII. Reflection: School Head Parental Involvement is very important in the school system. A good leader can be functional if he/she has resources and human resources are the best asset of the school because material things will follow if the human resources move and find ways to answer the problem on material needs. This is what I have experienced working with Grade IV parents. They contributed a lot in improving the physical condition of the school.

    Furthermore, they also helped the class advisers in solving behavioural problems and absences among Grade IV pupils. In fact in the 2nd quarter of the month, they were able to create a TINOLA Garden an entry to the school level Gulayan sa Paaralan Kitchen Garden Contest and for the last quarter of the School Year, the Grade IV parents committed themselves to devote time and effort to work on the enhancement of the Science Park. As a school manager, I powerfully assumed that I can accomplish huge tasks through the support of the teachers, pupils, parents and community as well.

    They are the wings that will help me in realizing goals to increase performance. Support from the internal stakeholders like pupils and teachers are always available but getting important time of the parents is a challenging one. This is the reason why alternative solutions were tried to Grade IV parents in order to win their hearts and to give their support to the school. The turnout of Grade IV parents’ participation in school activities and meetings on the first quarter of the school year is splendid.

    Their response on the invitation given to them is an inspiration to offer more devices to improve the total performance of the school system because for me, working with parents harmoniously is one of the pleasant achievements a school head can have in his/her leadership. For the next school year, all Grade level will implement the same innovations in encouraging parents to come and participate in school meetings and other activities. Parent’s Feedback: I congratulate the Grade IV teachers and the school head for introducing different ways to encourage parents’ involvement during school meetings and other activities.

    One of its notable strategies that was applied is the 100% participation of the pupils in the Nutrition Month and Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa celebration. Being the parent of 4 children who had graduated in this school and now the guardian of my grandchildren, this is the first time that all the pupils were involved in the presentation in this kind of programs. Moreover, you did it without giving burdens to parents to buy costume and props for the presentation. Pwede pala un. Nakakatuwang panoorin. Nanay Lucy Grandparent of one of the Grade IV pupils Galing, ngayon ko lang napanood na sumayaw ang anak ko.

    Eva J. Realeza Parent of John Rafael Realeza I am a working mother, it is good that parents’ meeting was done on weekend, I don’t need to be absent from my work to attend. Mylene T. Perez Mother of Ana Krishia T. Perez As a parent of 2 children in this school, I am convinced that parents should participate in all meetings and other school gatherings. It is our obligations to help develop the physical facilities of the school Ritchel Torralba Mother of Lorie ann Torralba Activities in the school are being implemented not just for the benefits of the school but most of all for the benefit of the children.

    Leah R. Mondalla Mother of John Amiel Mondalla PUPILS FEEDBACK on their parent’s involvement in school activities: My mother helped in BRIGADA ESKWELA, I am so proud of her. Ramil Robale Grade IV Pupil This is the first time I participated in the school program. I know now how to dance manlalatik. Angelica P. Romulo Grade IV Pupil I will study hard in exchange of my mother’s involvement in all school activities. Kay Chelsey C. Aquino Grade IV Pupil My parents are working that’s why whenever it is issuance of cards they cannot get mine.

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