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Advice offered to help parents work effectively with schools PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Research indicates that children whose parents get involved with their education are more likely to earn better grades and less likely to have behavior problems in the classroom.

The concept of parents working in conjunction with schools is nothing new. A 1987 study by Paul G. Fehrmann and colleagues documented the importance of parental involvement on their child’s grades.

Published in the Journal of Education Research, the study found that when parents stayed directly involved in their child’s studies throughout high school, the child’s grades improved.

There are many different reasons for parents to get involved with their child’s school and the community. Helping their children succeed is just one of them. The choice is just how to go about connecting with the school. Here are a few ideas.

—Work with the teacher. Teachers are increasingly facing obstacles with regards to time and funding. Many must preside over large classes and are responsible for outfitting their classrooms with certain supplies. This presents ideal opportunities for parents to step up and pitch in.

Volunteering in a child’s classroom is a good way for one to help his or her teacher and get a firsthand account of what their child is doing in class. One may be asked to prepare and package homework assignments or put together materials for craft projects. Some teachers welcome parents who come in to read books to the class or even give spelling tests.

Think about chaperoning a field trip or helping with the setup and cleanup of class parties. If one keeps an open dialogue with the teacher through phone calls or e-mail, one may be presented with plenty of opportunities to get involved.

—Attend meetings. Parent-teacher associations or organizations are often instrumental in helping a school to run smoothly. They are the people behind fundraisers and special activities outside of the classroom. The PTA is also privy to information on upcoming events before the rest of the school community.

Attending monthly meetings can keep parents up to speed on the goings-on at their child’s school. It will also ensure one’s voice is heard with regards to school policy. This will also give parents the opportunity to meet other parents.

—Attend special events. Not every parent can serve on the PTA or be present in the daily activities of the classroom. However, parents can show support by attending special events hosted by the school, such as fundraisers or field-day activities.

One can volunteer their time with the setup of teacher-appreciation lunches and bake sales, serve as a tour guide for the school when new parents are invited, build sets or make costumes for a school play or take pictures of events and create a collage to be put on display in the school.

—Volunteer one’s skills. Some schools can benefit from the specialized skills of parents. Parents should ask if they can come in and talk about their job or hobby and demonstrate it to the class.

Individuals who have technology skills can volunteer to install computer software or to run networking throughout the school. If a parent has a background in print layout, find out if they can help design and publish the school newsletter or yearbooks.

Anytime a parent volunteers his or her time, that means less funding has to go to hiring an outside vendor for the job, saving the school money it sorely needs.

Being involved in a child’s school sets a positive example for the kids and provides their school with some much-needed assistance.

Holyoke Enterprise August 30, 2012