Parent Involvement: Schools Need Partners
By EduGuide Staff
Being a partner with the school can help your child improve grades and have a better educational experience.
- Support and encourage your child at home. You show your child that education is important by asking what your child did and learned each day, showing interest in school papers and students' homework, and ensuring that such supplies as pencils and notebooks are available.
Parent Involvement in Education Means Being There
- Show up at school. If you really want to make a positive difference in your child's school year, you have to be there. You have to be physically present at your child's school.
- Meet the teacher right away. You can show you care about success in school by spending a few minutes during the first week of school introducing yourself to your child's teacher. Return a couple of weeks later to see if any problems are developing.
- Be a frequent visitor at school. This does not mean that you shadow your child and request your own desk in the classroom. Plan to spend a half-hour or so at your school's open house, and as much time as allowed at all scheduled parent-teacher conferences. But don't stop there. Whenever you're invited-and your schedule allows it-show up at school. Teachers need chaperones for field trips, extra hands at craft time, and audiences for performances.
Volunteer: Community Service Needed at Schools
- Volunteer when asked. Many teachers also want parents to assist in the classroom. My daughter's first-grade teacher regularly asked parents to come in to read stories or share a career interest or hobby. She made excellent use of our time and talents, enabling us to work with students in everything from computer usage to baking bread for a Thanksgiving feast. I know because I was there every Thursday morning. The kids always seemed glad to see me, but you should have seen their eyes sparkle when they told me their mom or dad would be visiting also.
- Volunteer if you're not asked. What if the teacher doesn't request your assistance? Step right up and volunteer anyway. Be bold, be daring, just be helpful. Your involvement may help a teacher retain her sanity. More important, it will ensure that your child is known. Sometimes the sheer number of students, and their widely varied abilities, can overwhelm even the best of teachers. Parents who persist in their efforts to help their children will see the most results.
Parent-Teacher Communication Aids Everyone
- Share information. Be sure to tell the teacher of any special needs, from help with the basics for struggling students, to more challenges for an already high-performing one. Don't leave these needs to chance, especially if you are new in the school district. As a parent, twice I failed to speak up-and twice my children missed out on opportunities because they were newcomers and had slipped through the cracks in the system. However, when parents do express themselves-politely but firmly-most teachers and administrators will listen.
Teachers need help and children need advocates. This year, be there for your children.
Excerpted from an article by Nancy Elwell, a freelance writer of more than 200 published articles. A former computer programmer/analyst, she now teaches mathematics. Elwell lives with her husband and their two daughters in Muskegon, Michigan.