6 Ways To Get Involved At Your Child's School

Fuse/Getty Images.

Numerous studies over decades of research show time and again that parental involvement is a key factor in children's school success. If you want some ideas on what you can do, be assured that there are many different possibilities for involvement that any parent can take action to show the importance of education in their child's school life.

1. Volunteer at your child's school. 

There are is a large variety of tasks that volunteers can do to help a school be successful.

Chaperones are needed to help supervise children on field trips. If you are sharp in a particular subject, volunteer as a classroom aide during that subject teaching time. Help coach an after school sport. I know a grandmother who spent three hours each week sharpening hundreds of pencils for her granddaughter’s class. This simple act freed up time for the classroom teacher to work on lesson plans and grading schoolwork. Ask your child's teacher what volunteer opportunities there are at the school to get started.

2. Fundraising and Booster Clubs

Money and donations are often needed to fund after-school clubs and sports, or even to purchase extra classroom supplies. Become the point of contact for collecting box tops or other clip-and-save programs. Help write a grant proposal. Organize a fundraiser to raise money for new sporting equipment. This last year, I helped organize parents into a booster club to raise funds for our middle school rifle club.

It was the first year for the school's rifle club to have an organized booster club. We sold baked goods at a garden event, sold T-shirts and worked and sold concessions at other sporting events to raise funds to help purchase equipment and pay for the needed space to practice. Check with coaches or school principals to find out how to organize fundraising at your child's school.

3. Advocate for your child's school.  

Stay up to date on local policy and funding issues. If your child's school is facing budget cuts, contact your representatives to let them know that you care about your child's education, and why public education is important. Educational policy is made at the national, state and local community level. In many areas, the district school board is made up from local elected community members. If running for a school board seat is not your style, you can still find out what topics they are interested in, and give school board members your input. By being aware or getting involved politically, your input as a parent of a school child is important to create a successful learning environment.

4. Keep up with your child's progress.  

Communicate with your child's teacher. Go to parent-teacher conferences. Read newsletters. Don't just ask your child about their homework or what they are learning in school, look at the work they bring home. Ask your child to tell you about their assignments.

Find out if you can view your child's grades through an online grade book system. Join your school's parent-teacher association. By forming a good relationship with your child's teacher early in the school year, you will be in a better position to talk to your child's teacher if any concerns arise.

5. Be a decision maker for your child's school. 

Many schools now seek input from parents when hiring new administrators or to review curriculum changes. Committee positions that are open to parents are often advertised on schools websites or in news flyers. Surveys are also sometimes sent out to parents asking what priorities parents care most about. Schools need parental input to make sure that the schools are meeting the unique needs of their local community. This is your chance to make sure that your child's public school reflects your community's needs.

6. Work at the School.  

There are jobs at many levels for a variety of skills in today's schools. Teachers and administrators are only a few of the careers available in the public school system. Schools hire IT professionals to help manage computer systems. School lunch personnel may be part-time food servers all the way to salaried professional chefs who must make food menus that comply with National USDA guidelines. If you are an RN you may be able to work as a school nurse. Crossing guards and recess monitors are often part-time paid positions that allow a stay at home parent to bring in some earnings while helping in their child's school. Carpenters and repairmen may find work as school building maintenance staff. Tutors may work part or full time, in or out of the school. Tutoring can be a great way to learn exactly what learning expectations are for your child, and help you learn specific strategies to support learning. Find out where your open jobs at your child's school are listed to see what positions are available.

Continue Reading