Parents-Get Involved in Your Children’s Education

Just how important is parent involvement in school? Let us first look at the issue from a class-size perspective.

Studies suggest that in classes with 13 to 17 students per teacher, student performance goes up significantly. The average American classroom has 25 students, so if just one parent helped out in that classroom each day, you would reach that ideal ratio.

Is this possible? It certainly is, and many top-performing districts across the country cite parent involvement as a key ingredient in their success.

Parent involvement can come in many different forms. A stay-at-home mom may be able to volunteer in the classroom several times a week. Even if it is just helping grade papers, it frees up time for the teacher to be more effective in her job. And this is important when our schools are failing our children by many objective standards of assessment.

Sustained programs of parent involvement can help the school in so many ways. How about the unpaid volunteer parent basketball coach who effectively teaches the kid for an extra hour every day after school?

Parent involvement can also help the parent scratch that career itch that needs to be scratched. Perhaps you were a talented artist who had to give it up to pursue a more reliable career. You can share that gift with the kids at your child’s school.

We all know that schools have designated days each school year where the parents can come to school and tell the students about their careers. What about incorporating regular parent involvement into the lesson plans? A fireman, for instance, could come teach a science unit about fire.

Another great opportunity for parent involvement is fundraising. In these difficult economic times, the schools are some of the hardest hit institutions when it comes to budget cuts.

The bake sale is always a staple of parent involvement. If you want to take it up a notch, you can plan a dinner/dance with a silent auction or perhaps a school carnival—complete with a teacher dunking booth.

Another plus when it comes to parent involvement is the fact that the student of the involved parent generally does quite well in school. As parent involvement goes up so does student performance, especially for the student of that involved parent.

Parent involvement is often the great untapped resource in our schools. The truth is that every parent has something to offer our schools. Perhaps it is time for the schools to redouble their efforts in reaching out to the parents of their students.

Private schools have successfully tapped into parent involvement for decades. Perhaps it has something to do with wanting a return on investment. Whatever the reason, it works.

There are many public schools that do a very nice job on the parent involvement front as well. Unfortunately, this is the exception and not the rule.
As schools look for ways to make their dollars go farther, parent involvement should be at the top of the list. When parents are involved at their children’s schools, everybody wins.

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