Thursday, April 14, 2016

How Parent Involvement Improves Schools

School districts all over the country are suffering from a lack of parent participation. Could you imagine a day when fifty percent more parents show up for a parent’s night?  Parent involvement can change an entire school system.  I challenge parents who are reading this article to use their social networks to encourage friends of your family to show up at Parent’s Night.  If more parents showed up it would let parents know what resources are needed and they could play a major role in helping schools to become better.  Gone are the days when a mother stayed at home to raise children and participate in school activities.  When a child’s parent is involved in their school it sends a message that they care. If a parent is working they can send a relative or a grandparent.  Something needs to be done to make parent involvement in K12 schools a high priority on their list of daily activities. Each parent should want to witness their student’s academic success. Their student’s achievements will draw them into the school and encourage them to participate.

What the educators are saying about parent involvement is true.  Parents who read to their children early develop children who enjoy reading.  Children are like sponges absorbing new knowledge at a tremendous rate.  Today parents are too concerned about keeping their children entertained.  Parents are great role models for their children’s love for learning.  If the majority of the parent’s time is spent in front of the television or laptop computer then it becomes their child’s main source of information and learning too.  In other words parents who demonstrate a joy of reading instill it in their children. A student’s enthusiasm for learning should begin in the home then spreads to a child’s in school instruction. Here are a few tips:

1. Parent Involvement – Make out a schedule of dates when you or a relative will show up for school meetings during the academic year. There are plenty or resources that are only announced during a parent’s night.  Also you are getting an opportunity to meet your student’s instructor to find out how they run their class.  You will also uncover ways that you can get involved with at least one activity for the year.
2. Encourage them to set goals for themselves – Children need to know that there is no limits to wait they can accomplish.  Encourage your child and stay involved in school activities.
3. Failure is success – Help your child to understand that there is a lot that they can learn from each failure.  Let them know that they will know to try something different the next time that they are pursuing a grade. The student may also need a tutor to help them to learn a particular subject.
4. Surround your child with positive role models – Get them involved in activities that promote leadership and determination.  An optimistic child can learn that they should never give up.
5.  Expose your child to the world -  Children need to know that there is more to the world than their immediate neighborhood.  There are a lot of positive things that they can learn from others.
6. Physical fitness and good health leads to optimism – A child who is physically healthy will have more energy and enthusiasm for life. A child who is eating write, physically fit and gets sufficient rest will be a very productive child.
7. Get a Tutor – If your student needs help with their academic achievement level talk to their teacher about tutoring. The teacher may provide it or have a tutoring recommendation.  If you ask you will find out that other parents are getting help for their children.

Some governors are saying we need more standardized tests to resolve the student achievement gap.  Testing is not the answer. Parent involvement is an alternative that costs fewer dollars to implement.  The resources that are allocated for testing could be spent to increase the number of parent leaders who are in the schools.  Some schools are finding ways to get parent’s involved in the daily activities of their schools.  Parents who are involved can learn about instruction methods that other parents can use in the home.  They are the catalyst to get parents who are not involved to volunteer for special projects.

Parents sometimes reflect on the bad experiences that they had when they were in K12 schools.  Student achievement can be raised when parents know that their active participation will make a difference in their child’s learning capacity.  Some parents are looking at their child’s achievement level to see if there are any differences.  They need to know more about the benefits of looking at the value of education from a different perspective.  Some parents do not know what a good education looks like.  School administrators and teachers must continually advocate for increased communication with parents.

Parents need more information about how K12 education is changing.  Most parents are not aware of the financial challenges that school systems are facing.  Many schools are underfunded when compared to school districts within their own states.  Parents can play a role in encouraging their local legislators to get involved in changing their states school funding formula.  Parents should invite the legislators to visit schools and to witness so that they can witness the challenges that they are facing.  It is easy to create a policy that eliminates school funding when you make assumptions that money is getting wasted.  Parents need to partner with schools in order to help with specific resources that their child’s school requires.

The United States is steadily slipping in terms of its edge in graduating students from high schools, trade schools, and colleges.  Starting a national campaign to help parents to understand their role in student achievement is a solution whose time has come.  New and innovative organizations are needed.  These organizations must take into account the changing trends in family structures.  Parents are looking for solutions to the achievement gap.  The solution lays in a combination of community and K12 schools working toward alternative education activities which are easily implemented in the home.

Some parents are raising the bar on their expectations for their student.  They are often interested in identifying resources that will prepare their child for college.  They participate in after school and weekend programs right along with their child.  They sign up because of their belief that their program will serve as a link between high school and post secondary education. Today is the day to get involved and make a difference in your local school. Parents are the key to a successful school and their child’s future career opportunities.

Dr Stephen Jones is and education advocate and an author of the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide. Get your copy . You can join his newsletter at .