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Mar 17 2022

Parents as Partners

Grady Singleton

"If educators view students as children, they are likely to see both the family and the community as partners with the school in children's education and development. Partners recognize their shared interests in and responsibilities for children, and they work together to create better programs and opportunities for students."

-Joyce Epstein, "School/Family/Community Partnerships"


Joyce Epstein, a researcher from John's Hopkins University, is famous for her work on the relationship between schools, parents, and students. Such research has shown that increased parent involvement leads to better learning outcomes for students, but how can parents get more involved? Here at BCIS, we offer a wide range of ways for parents to become actively engaged, including Parents as Learners (PAL) workshops, an active Parent Teacher Association (PTA), as well as parent classes for parents to learn all sorts of skills. At BCIS, parents are our partners in education, and our many activities help parents to be active members of our school community, meet other passionate peers, and gain a deeper understanding of how to support their child's learning.


PAL workshops provide BCIS parents with extensive understanding of the school's educational philosophy and approach, delivered by members of our very own teaching staff. Teachers from all three of our school branches lead seminars on topics such as the teaching strategies the school employs and how to best support students both inside and outside of school. For example, a recent workshop led by our expert educators Chantelle and Alicia, gave parents an in-depth look at how the curriculum is delivered in the Elementary School, and even provided challenging activities for parents that mirrored the activities their children are tasked with every day. Secondary School parents navigating the complex world of college applications gained some important insights and tips from our counseling team, Ashley and Charles, at another recent workshop.


The knowledge and understanding parents gain from our PAL workshop significantly helps them connect with the topics their children are learning in class. One of our BCIS parents, Amy, believes that attending PAL workshops has dramatically helped her own learning. She explains how she hopes other parents can utilize the information from PAL workshops to become learners themselves, stating, "You can't find such high-level lectures outside of the school. I hope that our school's families can become more educated as parents." In addition to learning more about their children's experiences at BCIS, attending workshops allows parents to grow along with their students. PAL workshops help our parents become lifelong learners, an important trait that will transfer to our students as well!


If educational tools are not enough, parents are also welcomed to join one or more of the many wonderful classes offered by our PTA. Parents interested in fitness can challenge themselves in our jazzercise and badminton classes. Parents who prefer to relax with a good book are welcome to join our stimulating book club discussions. Parents hungry for new recipes can grab their apron and jump into cooking class. These PTA classes are taught by BCIS parents for BCIS parents and are a fantastic way to explore hobbies and make some close connections within our BCIS community.


For those still hungry for more after cooking class, joining the PTA itself is a great way to become more involved with the school. Our PTA works closely with the school and provides parents a platform to positively impact BCIS. The school appreciates all our parent partners, and the valuable perspectives that they bring to improve the experience we offer our students. "Studying is very important, but I think growing up happy is even more important," says Jerry, another of our parents. Having our parents as partners in creating a happy and welcoming environment for our students to learn and grow in is critical to the development of BCIS itself.


Currently, BCIS is building a ship to sail to new horizons by creating a new strategic plan for the coming years. Our strategic planning design committee is comprised of faculty, students, and parents, all of whom are important voices in steering the future direction of our beloved school. "It's not only the school's responsibility in terms of education or supporting the students, it must also be a joint responsibility of the parents too. Whenever there is a sharing opportunity or dialogue opportunity, I very much appreciate that the school listens to the parents or invites parents to contribute ideas and perspectives," says Jing, another member of our parent community. BCIS invites our parents to join our many wonderful activities, engage with our planning committee, and become partners in providing an exceptional education for our students.