A gifted teacher has discovered that the secret to engaging parents in student success is to make interaction with parents accessible and inviting.

Catching Up in Math With an Innovative Computer ProgramFifth grade math teacher Brandon Eiland at Jenks East Intermediate School starts every period welcoming students to his classroom with music. He believes in a well-rounded view of math, and that means incorporating literature and music in with the lesson.

“The idea is it sets the hook for day and gives them something to relate back to,” Eiland said. “It gives a narrative to math, which is something mathematics often lacks.”

Eiland connects with students outside the classroom, volunteering for after-school bus duty every day.  He also makes special efforts to connect with parents, many of whom are refugees.

This year, he brought parent-teacher conferences to the parents, by holding them at the apartment complex where many of the families live.

“The parents are extremely supportive of school but aren’t sure what they can do to help their students,” Eiland said. In addition to teachers, he brought counselors, interpreters, and administration staff.

“We saw an enormous outpouring of gratitude and appreciation,” he said. “Parents that maybe wouldn’t have come to the school before now do and trust that they needn’t be fluent English speakers to be an active participant in their child’s education.”

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