Go ahead and give that post above a spin before you read the solutions our amiga Alma gave us that she and her comadres think would suit every school district just fine in ensuring that more Mexican or Hispanic families get involved.
Though Alma's honesty about district's proceeding to go about their habitual family engagement business was raw and necessary, I felt the sting nonetheless because I knew that the family engagement she was talking about was going to require a systematic overhaul and that interpreted into a different kind of work. Then I thought, well we are working really hard now regarding family engagement and for the most part nothing is working except for pockets of schools throughout the country so we might as well consider the changes she is suggesting and this is what she came up with:
First and most important: Send paperwork home in the student's home language. If possible send homework instructions in the home language as well. May I suggest using http://translate.google.com/ , it takes less than 5 minutes and will keep your parents smiling and feeling accepted.
Second and more fun: Consider going out, IN GROUPS, to the neighborhoods where your students come from. Don't overdress and be comfortable. If you need to take a translator go ahead. Take your contact information in the home language along with some of your most important information that you want to make sure your parents have.
Third and a little bit of work: Have your parent meetings outside of school and consider having them at a restaurant that your families frequently attend, a place of worship, or a recreational center. If your goal is to REALLY get parents involved in schools then you best get out of your campus and into your community. If your goal is to check off a title I box to keep receiving funding then stay in your campus. :)
Fourth and a little unconvential: Find our what a lot of your dads do for a living and find something for them to do on your campus in the evenings and on the weekend. Everybody wants to be needed and if they are good at painting, carpentry, gardening, or speaking then find something for the dads to do. Shake their hand and the next thing you know you're striking up a conversation about what they can do in the home to promote education! Voila!
Lastly, stop taking pictures and making your parents feel like cattle. If you must take photographs ask the parent to take it with you and give them a little hug! It works every time!
What have you done at your district or campus to promote real sustaining family engagement relationships? Let us know please. You won't win a prize but you will potentially effect the academic achievement of another student and what's better than that?! Juntos. Podemos. -Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar, founder of eJucomm