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Parent and Educator Perspectives

In addition to research-based information on effective family engagement practices, we wanted to hear directly from culturally and linguistically diverse parents and other family members about what they need to be meaningfully involved in their child’s education.  We also wanted to hear from educators about what tools, support, or resources they need to promote family engagement with these families, with the shared goal of increasing student achievement. We gathered this information by conducting culturally-specific parent focus groups and facilitating interactive school-staff discussion groups.

Parent Focus Group Questions on Parent Involvement and Engagement with the School

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When contacting parents to invite them to the focus group.

Share the purpose of activity: What we will do with the information; Reason for taping; confidentiality; etc.  Find out needed demographic info: parent’s primary language, ethnicity; ages/grades of children, Special education (primary disability); ELL

Focus Group:
Introductions — Name, ages of children, and answers to opening questions:

Parent Questions:

  1. What does your child like about school? What do you like about your child’s school?
  2. Do you feel welcome in your child’s school? If yes, what does school staff do that shows you that you are welcome?
    1. If no, what could the school do differently that would make you feel welcome?
  3. Are you satisfied with how often and in what way school staff communicates with you about your child?
  4. About school activities? (give examples)
    1. If yes, what are they doing that is helpful? 
    2. If no, what would you like them to do differently?
  5. What do you do to prepare your child to do well in school?
  6. What do you consider to be the parent or family’s role in a child’s education?

Schools talk about the importance of “Parent Involvement” or “Parent Engagement.” Schools use these terms to mean several different things. Some of the main ways parents are “involved”—or participate are by:

  • Volunteering in the classroom or at school events or activities; 
  • Attending school events such as Orientation, Open House, Family Nights and meetings about your child such as parent-teacher conferences;
  • Working with your child at home on homework, reading to your child, preparing them for school;
  • Being a part of a group that advises the school or helps make decisions such as the school site council.
  1. How does the school ask you to be involved?
  2. How does this work for your family?
  3. What kind of school activities do you like to attend?
  4. What would you like to do to help your child in their schooling but don’t know how to do?
  5. What could the school do to help you be more involved?
  6. What kind of things has the school done that helped you to help your child more at home?
  7. Is there anything else you would like us to know about what is important to you as a family about your child’s education?

Teacher and Support Staff Questions:

  1. Opening question: What do you find rewarding about working with families from diverse cultures?
  2. Do you feel respected and valued by your student’s families?
  3. Are you satisfied with how often and in what ways the family communicates with you about their child? 
    • If yes, what are they doing that is helpful?
    • If no, what would you like them to do differently?
  4. About their level of participation in school activities?
    • If yes, what are they doing that is helpful?
    • If no, what would you like them to do differently?
  5. What do your student’s families do that contribute to their child’s education?
  6. What do you consider to be the parent or family’s role in a child’s education?
  7. How would you like parents to be involved in school or in the classroom?
  8. What challenges have you observed regarding participation by families?
  9. What outcomes have you seen from this type of involvement?
  10. What would you like to do to help parents to be more involved or engaged in their child’s schooling?
  11. What tools do you need to increase the level of Parent Involvement and Engagement?
  12. Is there anything else you would like us to know about what is important to you as an educator about the home-school partnership with families from diverse cultures?

Parent Perspective Videos - Parent Voices on Parent Involvement Series

María Morra - Hispanic Mother

Videos in this Series

Video 1: What Does Parent Involvement Mean to You?

0:52 min

Video 2: How Have You Participated in Your Child's Education?

1:22 min

Video 3: What Do You Wish You had Known Before Your Child's Education?

1:05 min

Video 4: What Was a Challenge or Barrier That You Had to Overcome?

1:35 min

Video 5: What ideas do you have to share with other parents?

1:58 min

Sai Thao - Hmong Mother

Videos in this Series

Video 1: What Does School Involvement Mean to You?

1:55 min

Video 2: What Do You Know Now That You Wished You Learned Earlier?

2:01 min

Video 3: What Was a Barrier That You Had to Overcome?

1:21 min

Video 4: Do You Have Tips That You Would Share with Parents?

1:25 min

Hodan Hassan - Somali Mother

Videos in this Series

Video 1: What Does School Involvement Mean to You?

0:57 min

Video 2: How Have You Been Involved in Your Child’s Education?

2:20 min

Video 3: What Do You Know Now That You Wished You Learned Earlier?

1:31 min

Video 4: What Was a Barrier That You Had to Overcome?

1:22 min

Video 5: Do You Have Tips That You Would Share with Parents?

2:33 min

James Vue - Hmong Father

Videos in this Series

Video 1: What Does School Involvement Mean to You?

1:43 min

Video 2: How Have You Been Involved in Your Child’s Education?

2:57 min

Video 3: What Do You Know Now That You Wished You Learned Earlier?

1:10 min

Video 4: What Was a Barrier That You Had to Overcome?

1:10 min

Video 5: Do You Have Tips That You Would Share with Parents?

1:22 min
 

Visit PACER's other sites: Teens Against Bullying | Kids Against Bullying | FAST Family Support | FAPE | MN SEACs

Translated content: Hmoob/Hmong | Español | Soomaaliga/Somali

    ©2017 PACER Center, Inc.