Parental engagement – a key to student success

Solutions are available today to help with student achievement and parental involvement that benefit everyone involved in education.

Parental engagement – a key to student success by Nancy Knowlton

The same conversation takes place in tens of thousands, if not millions, of homes every school night.

Parent: “What did you do in class today?”

Child: “Nothing.”

Parent: “What do you have for homework?”

Child: “Nothing.”

It probably goes without saying that both of the responses are not true – but they are common. With some coaxing and continued conversation, parents may discover what happened in class and what homework has been assigned, and they may be able to sit and work with their child on the work from the day or assignments.

Working in the dark

When parents don’t know, they can’t support. When they don’t know, they can’t reinforce. When they don’t know, their role in their child’s education can be significantly diminished, even marginalized.

In Parents in Partnership: A Parent Engagement Policy for Ontario Schools, it said, “Study after study has shown that student learning and achievement improve when parents play an active role in their children’s education and that good schools become even better when parents are involved.”

Greatest chance of success

Like any strategy, a multipronged parent engagement strategy stands the greatest chance of success – laying out both expectations and openly communicating about school and class activities. It also means offering education and information to parents to give them the skills and knowledge that they need to support their children in lifelong learning.

Using technology to engage parents in their children’s education is one way to communicate not just what happened in each class each day but also assignments and other important dates. This simple information alone can allow teachers and parents to align to support better student achievement. Something as simple as conveying a positive message of parental aspirations and expectations can have a significant impact on student achievement.

Parental engagement is much more than intermittent parent-teacher interviews or receiving student report cards. While important, these interactions do not offer the frequency that often is the key to successful student intervention and parental involvement. Parent engagement has to be a daily activity targeted at supporting students in a positive and encouraging fashion.


You’re going to hear a lot from me in the coming months about subjects like this. Please visit to learn more about our education solutions.

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Nancy Knowlton
Nancy Knowlton is co-founder and CEO of Nureva Inc. and previously the co-founder and CEO of SMART Technologies. She writes about education, entrepreneurship, business management, technology, innovation and other passions.