• Nilmari Donate-Melendez, MA

Involving Parents in Schools

Parent engagement in schools is defined as parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents.

Parent engagement in schools is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage parents in meaningful ways, and parents are committed to actively supporting their children’s and adolescents’ learning and development. This relationship between schools and parents cuts across and reinforces children’s health and learning in multiple settings—at home, in school, in out-of-school programs, and in the community (CDC.gov)

Research shows that most parents start disengaging when their children are around 3rd grade. Most of them feel their child is big enough to:

  1. Walk to school alone

  2. Do homework alone

  3. Get along with peers and

  4. Understand rules and responsibilities

Another factors for parental disengagement are:

  1. Barries in childcare to attend school functions

  2. Not having reliable transportation

  3. Work/school obligations

  4. Language and cultural barriers

  5. Not "connecting" with school staff

  6. Feelings of "not being needed" and

  7. "Not sure how to help"

Sadly, most children won't have their parents involved in school after 4th grade.

Engaging parents in their children’s school life is a promising protective factor. Research shows that parent engagement in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement, and enhanced social skills. Parent engagement also makes it more likely that children and adolescents will avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as sexual risk behaviors and tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use.

Most of the time schools don't have the time or the staff needed to involve parents.

HKC Parenting and School Services has been able to increase parenting engagement and involvement is various schools in Chicago by more than 60%. We do this by offering:

  • Parenting needs assessments - to evaluate what the parents need and want to hear. Most of the times, what is offer in schools is not relevant to the parents and it is not offered at a time in which they can attend.

  • Parenting Workshops- after a "needs assessment" is completed by the parents (we offer incentives to the class rooms who have the highest return rates), an analysis is conducted and data is presented to the staff administration and community members. A "plan for impact" is created for the school with a calendar of events. We offer more than 50 workshops in English and Spanish.

  • Entertainment for children while parents learn- we have found that the first barrier for not attending functions in school is having younger children at home and not having childcare. Our "Family Engagements" Events are a combination of Parenting Workshops and a Shows with popular characters for children. *See www.HappyKidsChicago.com

Mental Health First Aid Training: is an 8 hours training/certification for parents and school staff on how to recognize mental illnesses in children and adults. Parents who complete the training, will obtain a certification valid for 3 years with the National Council of Behavioral Health.

Other services available for schools:

  • Linkage between school's social media and HKC social media- our Facebook page is followed by thousands of parents in CPS. Once workshops are scheduled, we will boost ads to reach your school community.

  • Linkage with community organizations

  • PAC & BAC consultations

Let us help you! Contact us today! ndonate@HKCconsult.com

And visit us at


Facebook: HKC Parenting & School Consulting Services

Nilmari Donate-Melendez, MA is the founder of HKC Parenting & School Consulting Services and the President of Happy Kids Chicago, Inc. She has over 10 years of experience working with parents and communities.

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