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DC Program Focuses on New Ways of Engaging Parents in Learning

WASHINGTON — At Beers Elementary School, the PTA hosts a daddy-daughter dance, a fish fry, and an art auction to raise money.

But this school’s efforts to involve parents start even before the first day of classes, when teachers visit parents at home and build a rapport by asking about their hopes and dreams for their children.

Then, three times a year, teachers host group meetings with parents to explain precisely what their children will learn over the next several months and hand out educational games and activities that reinforce those lessons at home. Throughout the year, teachers e-mail and text parents tidbits of good news — when their child finishes a book or project — so they don’t hear from school only when their children misbehave.