TSWRS (Telangana Social Welfare Residential Society) Godavarikhani, is a girls-only residential school with around 640 students from 5th -12th grade. Many parents would come to school seeking permission for their children to skip school for attending functions.
School Leader Ms Aparna Pothula saw that this was causing a major disruption in students’ learning. She wanted to change the attitude of the parents towards their child’s education through having and thought of multiple ways of initiating parent-teacher meetings. However, she only had limited time because, Aparna also took on the role of District coordinator, Peddapalli in September 2016 with an additional responsibility to oversee seven other schools.
After attending the ISLI workshop on parent engagement, school leader brainstormed on what kind of parents-teachers meeting would best suit her problem – school leader led/teacher led/student led. Based on her discussion with ISLI Programme manager Mr Sai Pramod Bathena, she outlined a detailed plan to conduct ‘a student-led parents-teachers’ meeting in which students would highlight the benefits they get in the school.
She involved students of 8th grade to display their talent at the meeting. The students spoke to parents and highlighted various skills that they learnt in the school along with efforts taken by the school management for the welfare and development of children. After, the success of the first ‘student-led parents-teachers meeting’, the school leader gave the complete responsibility of leading the quarterly parents-teachers meeting to the student council. The student council planned and executed the meeting showcasing various initiatives taken by the school in the current academic year.
Impact on parents: At the end of the parents-teachers meeting, the school leader received feedback from all the attending parents that they were very happy with the initiatives taken in the school. They also promised to send their children to school on the reopening day.
Impact on students: Through this initiative, the student council learned to plan and execute meetings. Also, with increased support from parents, it was reported that 70% of students attended the school on day 1 of reopening, compared to just 50% before starting this initiative.
Impact on school principal’s leadership: The school leader learned how to involve students in parents-teachers meeting. Earlier she used to conduct meetings where mostly only she used to talk.
Through the initiative, she realised the importance of student-led activities and will continue to encourage student-led initiatives in the school.