There is extensive research indicating that parents' involvement in their children's education has tremendous benefits in terms of achieving better grades, behavior and university placements. In fact, research indicates that parental involvement in a child's education has more influence than the economic background of the family.
The model that we choose to use for the School Council is one developed by Professor Joyce Epstein from Johns Hopkins University in the USA. This model says that parents should be involved in the school in six different areas: communication, volunteering, decision making, collaborating with community, learning at home and parental training.
After holding the workshops we analyzed the feedback from those sessions and used that data to make plans to further involve parents in the life of the school in each of the six areas Professor Epstein outlines:
Communication – CIS Guangzhou is establishing parent representatives throughout the school. ‘Parent reps’ are a part of the CIS Parent Advisory Council who help to facilitate communication.
Volunteering – at the beginning of every year parents receive a list of school events for which they can volunteer and contact details in order to organize this.
Decision Making – CIS Guangzhou presents a schedule of lectures on topics such as subject and university choices as well as talks focusing on what it means to choose an International School education.
Collaborating with Community – in order to assist parents to use local community resources to enhance and support their children’s learning, CIS Guangzhou distributes a list of places to visit, books to read and websites to access for each subject studied at the school.
Learning at Home – research tells us that the most effective way parents can support children’s learning at home is to set high but achievable goals. To facilitate this CIS Guangzhou runs training sessions for parents on understanding target grades and having coaching conversations with children.
Parental Training – CIS Guangzhou holds a series of lectures throughout the year to help develop knowledge and skills that can enable parents to better deal with the most difficult job there is – being a parent. Lectures about parents' effectiveness training focus on both the physical and psychological health of the child (and the parents!).