Empowering Parents in Australian Schools

An action research project conducted by Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service

Parent engagement in a child’s learning has demonstrated positive effects on the child’s educational, social and long-term employment outcomes.  Yet with students from vulnerable populations as much as two and a half years behind those from high socioeconomic status backgrounds, enabling parental involvement is not easy.  Uplift: An Empowerment Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools, by Susan Maury, has just been published by the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service in Australia.  It details the piloting of an empowerment methodology that focuses on the parents’ voice and viewpoint. The research process ran three workshops in which the parents created a vision for their children’s school years, then identified actions that families, schools, and the community could take to better support their child’s holistic development.  This process became a leverage point for community action, with members working collaboratively with different agencies to achieve steady and sustainable community change for the benefit of their children.