The Pinnacles Group Blog

Where do the parents fit into dropout prevention, and how can we make them accountable?

Posted By on February 14, 2011

Parents  can be very reluctant to come into the school building when it may have been a very negative environment in their own lives. In spite of everything, if they themselves don’t have a high school diploma, they may feel judged by you just because you are a figure of authority. SO, start there.

Put ALL your efforts and dollars into winning over the reluctant parents. Make it a massive campaign. If you really want to do it, you will. Imagine your job depended on it-and sometimes it does. Deeply analyze your own reluctance to get to know some of these people better. Sometimes, if they are already hostile towards the school, it is very difficult to want to get to know them-after all, they avoid you, none of us want to be around people who want to avoid us! Do you attend all the community events? Do you do business in that town? Have you joined local organizations? These are all critical to bringing the school and the community together.

But in this case, we are the professionals and these are your students’ parents. You have to overcome your reluctance. Again, I have used the method of “killing them with kindness” and it has worked.

Have you ever been in a conversation with a particular parent of a particularly unpleasant young person and said something like, “We all really like Chris, he’s a great kid,” and the mom breaks down into sobs? Begin by getting to know your parents personally. Meet them for coffee at Subway on a Saturday if they can’t get to school for conferences. Approach them at community events. Are you visible at community events or only at school events?

Remember, you are the professional in this situation, and you must make the first move.

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