Parent Back to School Night Brain Dump Page (PBTSN)

Feel free to use this space to ask and answer questions, share ideas, push back around this concept. To tentatively sign up to hold a PBTSN “Meet Up” please fill out this form. 

See an idea you like? Hate? Don't understand? Add a + or - or ? to the end of any given entry.


        Please include ALL parents without distinction because all parents have the same basic desire for their student to succeed. I agree ...remember that at the core, this is about the kids not the parents necessarily.



Thoughts from group in session (@jonbecker, @samorra, @butwait, Rick Alfonso (Flint HS, VA), Melissa Scott (Flint HS, VA), Maryann Molishus (@maryannm), Yenche):

Might be better not to come in w/ too much of a pre-set message that we’re “preaching”... can we model an inclusive “we want to hear what you think” conversation?

@willrich45 Michelle Rhee has a message... we need to have something that can push back.  

What about the EduCon axioms:

  1. Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
  2. Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students — the 21st Century Citizen
  3. Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around
  4. Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
  5. Learning can — and must — be networked
  6. Learning must be results driven -- measured to be sure we are producing successful learners.  Agreed upon measurement tool(s) must be used. (That’s not one of the axioms.)

We need irrefutable language, ala Rhee’s... “We want all students to succeed”? “We believe that learning should be student-centered.”

Does the mission and vision of most of our schools/districts fit with the above? If not, will the inclusion of these ideas work?

Student work is the thing that traditionally gets parents to come to the school... something like a trailer? Put out a call to students for submissions along a central theme... so could we have one common video to use as a jumping off point.

“We care about education” “Why do you care about education?” Then everyone can put a their post-it’s on a wall.

Thinking about it from a reverse engineering perspective.. what can we do to get people enter into conversations ala Race to Nowhere, Waiting for Superman...

People might come around ideas of a challenge to engage, or a vision to coalesce around.

Examples of recent large-scale “movement-oriented” events, ala Hands Across America, Day in the Life video, or a giant Eluminate session, turning out your lights for an hour, Pay It Forward Day?

Does it need to be synchronous? Not necessarily. But it would be cool to have that capability in cases in which that was possible.+ Very cool if it could be synchronous!

What are our long-term goals? Is this just going to be a one-time thing? Do we ask people to aim to leave w/ an action plan?

Has anyone seen ?

Logistics--What will it look like?

Face to face but smaller, so break a large assembly into classrooms.

Math discussion about 10 people bringing 1, 100 bringing 10

PR campaign

“National Talk about Schools Week”

Get a (or many) spokesperson

At the core, there is/are a high quality multimedia product(s) that could go viral and that a kid would show to their parents

Make it an all-day event that kids could watch and participate in class during the day, then a follow up back to school night event with parents

Definitely get kids involved

Kids talking about how they learn best

kids help craft the message

Parents may want different things

The Harvard problem leads to short-sightedness

Ten or fifteen minutes of this is global and then the rest is local

Advance preparation during, just before, or “sent” ahead of time with encouragement to have a “family conversation”

Is it necessary to do this face-to-face?

Adaptable - different populations have to feel represented and invloved - minimize “Yeah, but” factor

Ideas for Spreading the Word


Make it a curricular item to take a message and make it national issue

Reach out to other organizations:, Parents Across America, there is one in Connecticut.

Something like the campaign “We don’t want your money- we just want your voice.” I like this idea a lot!

What Happens After


Facebook because that’s where the parents are

What did you learn by participating?

What did you learn by participating?

What’s the message?

Have conversation locally and ask parents/kids, “What would they like for their children?”

You know the world has changed. Schools haven’t. What do you want to do about it?

The purpose of school is different. How can we redefine the purpose of school?

Exposure to good things

“30 million students dropped out of school last year. Most of them weren’t failing. The schools failed, not the students.”

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