Parental involvement stands as a cornerstone for student success within the International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. By nurturing robust communication and collaboration between parents and teachers, IB schools can contribute to the holistic development of students both within and beyond the classroom. Here, we present impactful ways for IB teachers and administrators to engage parents as collaborative partners:
Initiate special presentations and campus tours tailored for parents before the school year commences. Outline the IB curriculum and its explanatory approach, emphasizing its distinctions from traditional instruction. Clarify the unique advantages it offers students for both college and life. This proactive orientation establishes parents as informed collaborators.
Establish accessible conduits for parents and teachers to connect beyond hurried in-person conversations. Provide teacher contact information with preferred communication methods, such as email, texting, or messaging apps. Keep an updated school directory to facilitate communication. Encourage parents to reach out with any questions or concerns and respond promptly to optimize the partnership.
Regularly email brief newsletters to parents, highlighting current topics, upcoming lessons and assignments, field trips, tests/quizzes, and noteworthy classroom moments. Solicit weekly student input to include highlights from their perspective, keeping parents engaged and supportive of their child's studies.
Conduct formal annual conferences that allow focused discussions on each student's progress, strengths, areas for improvement, and goals. Prepare for these discussions by reviewing student work samples and assessments across subjects. Collaboratively devise strategies to support learning at home and provide resources and support as needed.
Collaboratively develop Individual Education Plans for each student during conferences, outlining specific academic, extracurricular, and personal growth goals for the year. Clearly articulate how parents can contribute to these goals at home, fostering an ongoing partnership that revisits goals throughout the year.
Extend invitations to parents to volunteer their time in supporting various classroom activities, chaperoning field trips, supervising school events, assisting with administrative tasks, or sharing their areas of expertise. Cultivate a sense of welcome and value for their skills and energy within the school community.
Encourage parents to visit and observe classes at any time after checking in at the office. Experience their child’s learning environment first-hand. Follow up with a brief chat to address any resulting questions or feedback. This policy fosters trusting, transparent partnerships.
Include parent representatives on school committees addressing issues like safety, technology policies, special needs student support, event planning and curriculum design. Collaborative decision-making results in well-rounded policies attuned to families’ needs and input.
Proactively inform parents about lesson plans, textbooks and reading materials. Ensure they understand the educational purpose and ideas addressed. Being transparent about potentially controversial materials prevents misunderstandings about curriculum goals and content.
Ask parents to share insights about their cultural worldview, values, and customs that inform their child's identity and patterns of thinking. Incorporate these experiences into lessons and class discussions when relevant to deepen multicultural appreciation, valuing the voices of parents.
Keep parents informed about the physical and emotional changes children undergo during adolescence. Collaborate on how best to support students navigating peer dynamics, self-esteem, relationships, and more. Unified messaging strengthens the impact of these conversations.
Send home lists of discussion questions about class readings. Brief parents on how to effectively discuss literary themes without simply grilling about plot points. Make the text come alive in their everyday conversations to reinforce lessons.
Ensure parents can access digital learning platforms like online textbooks, educational apps and other online resources used in lessons. Monitor their child’s usage to continue learning momentum beyond school hours.
Go over formative assessments, test results, portfolio reviews and report cards with parents to contextualize student progress and involve them in improvement planning. Help interpret assessment data relative to learning goals and IB standards.
Tap into parents' expertise to give presentations on topics tied to their career or passions, like healthcare professionals teaching about anatomy. Tailor guest speaking roles to amplify curriculum.
Display student work samples and accomplishments on classroom bulletin boards when possible. Host showcases or presentations of final projects. Spotlight student effort and achievements to keep parents connected and celebrate learning.
Host evenings where families come to school and rotate through activity stations related to what students are learning, like a physics night with catapult competitions and robotic demonstrations tied to science lessons. Blend education and family fun.
Purposeful collaboration between teachers and parents provides crucial support that guides IB students to thrive holistically. By proactively partnering, communicating concerns, and reinforcing lessons outside school walls, parents and teachers can amplify the IB experience and unlock each child’s potential. The entire community shares responsibility in shaping globally minded, engaged youth.