Parent Involvement in Schools

Ideas for Supporting Your Child's Achievement in School

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After many years of intense effort to increase parent involvement in schools, the results are beginning to appear in the educational research. The news is good for schools where parent involvement is high, and the benefits for children are encouraging. When parents are involved in children’s schools and education, children have higher grades and standardized test scores, improved behavior at home and school, and better social skills and adaptation to school.

When parents hear that they need to be more involved in their child’s school, the first reaction is sometimes a sense of guilt that they aren’t more active in the local Parent-Teacher Organization. If that motivates you to invest your time and energy into your local parent group, then you will certainly reap the benefits of that level of involvement in your child’s education. But according to Joyce Pollard of the Southwest Educational Development Library, the most valuable way you can become involved in your child’s education is to provide a rich learning environment in your home to support your child’s academic achievement. Other parent involvement activities that benefit children’s educational development are to communicate with the teacher and school; discuss school activities with your child; and, monitor and supervise his out of school activities.

Research on the demographics of parents who are involved in their child’s school finds that parents with higher educational attainment and income are attending school conferences, volunteering at schools, and supporting school events to enrich their children’s learning achievement.

Parents at all socioeconomic levels can “level the playing field” in their child’s education by taking the time to get involved. Teachers give kids more attention when they know their parents from school visits. So, make it a priority to attend school events and meetings that will help you understand and support your child’s education.

How can busy working parents be involved in their children's education? Get some quick ideas for ways to be involved with and support your child’s elementary education.

Page 2 > Learning Enrichment at Home

Page 3 > School Visits and Parent-Teacher Conferences

Page 4 > Parents' Volunteer and Financial Support for Schools

Make your home a rich environment for learning. Dinner conversations, trips, games, reading time, family sports, appropriate supervision, home organization, and daily routines all contribute to your child’s academic achievement at school.

Utilize resources in your community to provide enrichment activities for your child. Experiential learning through museum trips, music, dance, and art lessons, sports programs, libraries, and colleges' community outreach education will enrich your child’s store of knowledge and stimulate a lifelong learning habit.

Use your computer to enrich and support your child’s educational achievement. Start with understanding what your child is learning at school and what her learning strengths and needs are. Look through her textbooks and familiarize yourself with her test scores to get clues for finding the best online resources and software to enhance her understanding of the academic material and remediate where she has deficits.

Try these resources to enrich your child’s education at home:

Next > School Visits and Parent-Teacher Conferences

Meet the Teacher Day

Your first visit of the year is usually the day before school starts when your child finds out who his teacher is, and which of his friends are in his room this year! We make this a fun day to get into the excitement of starting back to school. Parents get a chance to meet the teacher and see the classroom where the child we’ll be spending his days. Take time to look at your child’s textbooks; the teacher might let you take them home.

Familiarize yourself with the material your child will be learning to prepare your home enrichment ideas. If your school doesn't have a "Meet the Teacher Day," get in touch with the school administrator to see if there's a way you can make contact with your child's teacher before term starts.

Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

This is your opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns you have about your child. Before you go, think of two or three issues that you want to discuss with the teacher. Take a notepad to the conference so that you can jot down important information the teacher gives you about your child’s test scores, homework, class participation and attitude, social adjustment, and curriculum. Ask the teacher how you can help your child achieve the goals for your child’s grade level. Be sure to remember the positive things the teacher says about your child to report to her when you get home!

Most teachers have an email account these days. If your child’s teacher is into technology, give her your email address and ask her to contact you when there is a problem or if she just wants to let you know something about your child. Ask her if you may also contact her by email when you have questions about your child at school.

Parent groups, whether affiliated with national advocacy groups such as PTA or if they function as informal and independent school groups, give time, energy, and finances to provide their school the extra resources and opportunities every school needs to support a high level of achievement.

It’s hard for busy working parents to attend every meeting or participate in every committee or event sponsored by the parent group.

Smart parent groups divide up the work so that no one is overwhelmed. If time for meetings is lacking in your life, go to the first and last meetings of the year at least, so that you will know what is planned. Choose an activity or event that works for you and do your part to support the goals of the group.

Parent groups give parents a voice in their local schools. They support schools in a variety of ways such as volunteer activities, Teacher Appreciation events, and fundraising for needed educational enhancements.

With a little help from the ‘Net parents can find lots of great ideas to make school fundraising fun and profitable:

  • New Ideas for School Fundraising

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