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Getting Involved in School

November 2nd, 2007

The PTA says:
“Be involved. Parent involvement helps students learn, improves schools, and helps teachers work with you to help your children succeed.”

Parent involvement helps students learn…

Imagine if at your work your boss walks around your work area every so often, and even if he doesn’t say a thing to you, wouldn’t you naturally be a little more conscientious with your work, maybe make sure your desk looks decent?

It’s that way with our children. If they know that you are taking a personal interest in what they are doing at school, even if you don’t interact with them when you are on campus, they will naturally perform better.

There are many ways to be involved in the school. Even if you work outside the home, there are avenues for you to help out.

Here are some suggestions from my experiences. We can all do some level of involving ourselves in our children’s school.

1. Call the teacher once a month to talk about the progress of your child, even if there is no problem. You don’t want to wait till there is a problem to call the teacher. Keeping in touch regularly sends the signal to the teacher and your child that you take your role as a parent seriously and you are paying attention. If you suspect problems, by all means, make sure you call the teacher right away.

2. Attend Back-To-School nights and Open House. I am surprised at how low the turn out is at some schools. These are opportunities to meet your child’s teacher, a person who influences him 180+ days a year, several hours a day. Parents think that when their children are in junior high and high school it is not necessary for them to attend. But let me tell you, the first time I walked onto my son’s high school campus, I immediately gained a better understanding of the mindset of a teenager. I see where he spends his time everyday. I see the posters, the lockers, where he sits for lunch. I sit in the desk he sits in everyday. I talk to the teacher that he listens to everyday. I come away more sensitive to my son’s struggles as I imagine what it is to be a teenager again. You may complain that your teenager doesn’t tell you anything. But you can find out a lot about what his life is like by being at school for Open House.

3. Take every opportunity to help the school whenever they ask. If they need someone to cut paper, sort books in the library, be a traffic monitor, I am there. The work may not directly affect your child or his class, but helping the school overall will certainly benefit all the children, including your child. And again, your mere presence at the school makes a difference for your child.

4. Take a day off to be a chaperon on a field trip. It’s quite an experience to ride in the school bus again – 30 years since the last time I rode on a school bus!

5. Give a small gift to your child’s teacher when there is no occasion. I realize from being a substitute teacher that full time teaching is not my calling! It is a tough job. A word of appreciation to the teachers will certainly brighten up their day. Junior high and high school teachers need the encouragement too.

6. Volunteer on the PTA or other parents group that is available at the school. I was on the PTA for all the years my children were in elementary school and we were always short of manpower. Volunteering is a lot of fun too. Many of the friendships I have today were made while working together on the PTA. It’s a great way to meet and find support from parents at the same stage of life as you are.

7. If your school has career day, that’s a great way for parents to be involved by sharing about their jobs. You may inspire a young person to join your field of work.

8. If you have expertise in an area that the school can benefit, or if you have resources such as getting discounted material, let the staff there know you are available. For example, at my children’s elementary school, a dad saved the school thousands of dollars by getting computers at wholesale through his business. We also had parents who speak different languages help with translation, parents with knowledge in gardening who help a class start a vegetable garden patch, parents who donated popsicles from their store for special occasions.

Every parent can contribute something. Make it a regular practice to stay in touch with the school in one way or another. Your child may not know it, but she will succeed because you were there.

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  1. […] posted on this topic of school involvement before and gave eight ways for parents to get involved. Since the school year […]

  2. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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