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As a new school year is about to begin, now is the time to make a new commitment to be involved in your
child’s school. Schools that are successful have high parental involvement. Many parents who work all day
long or are single parents find it very difficult to find time to squeeze one more thing into the already busy
schedule. I would argue that being involved in your child’s school is part of that life balance.
Meetings are boring and it creates late nights that are a struggle at times. However,
here are four reasons why making this commitment is worth the late nights every once in awhile:
1. Research supports parent involvement in schools – This subject has been studied for decades and
consistently the research shows that parents who are involved in their child’s school communicate a
higher expectation and value of education. This important piece of communication is shown according
to studies at John’s Hopkins and The National Center for Parent Involvement in Education to increase
grades, students have better attendance, improved behavior, better social skills, decreased use of
drugs and alcohol, higher test scores, go on to higher education. The University of Michigan found that
regardless of socioeconomic status, the single best predictor of a child’s success in school, is if the
parent is involved in the school. Who would not want these outstanding benefits for this child? These
should be reasons alone for being involved.
2. You benefit too – Being involved in your child’s school gives you the opportunity to get to know the
decision-makers in school. Meeting the administrators, counselors, teachers and other involved
parents help you understand how the school works, who to reach out to when you or child need
something and develops a perspective about school you might not have considered before. You will be
surprised what you learn. Often, the parent organization will bring in speakers that will discuss topics
like testing, how to talk to your kids about sex and see the exciting things the students are learning at
your child’s school. Being a face that school staff and parents recognize can help get questions
answered, solve small problems before they become large problems and gives you sense of belonging.
3. The School Needs You – once upon a time, school was about a teacher and a student. Over time, the
expectations of students has raised and the stakes are higher, students need all the stakeholders to be
successful. Teachers and schools as a whole cannot be successful without all stakeholders
involvement. Teachers can’t do the job alone. You would be surprised how your talents and expertise
can be put to use in small ways that can make a big difference. Even the small gesture of coming in to
read out loud for 10 minutes can make a difference, or cutting out things at home for a project at school can be an easy task, yet huge time saver.
4. You don’t even have to show up!– Many parents think being involved in their child’s school means
volunteering. It doesn’t. It can, but that’s not what it is, truly. Volunteering is needed and appreciated,
but it’s much simpler. A lot of involved parents rarely make an appearance at school. Being an involved
parent means checking your child’s folder each day, asking your child about school, reading with your
child, communicating with teachers, turning in forms, keeping lunch accounts up to date, letting the
school know about absences and all the other small but significant things you do each day.
As the school year approaches, make that commitment to be a part of your child’s school year in whatever
way you can. Maybe attend one more meeting than you have attended in the past. Be a face the people in
your child’s school know. You might even make a friend; a parent that shares a common goal and interest.
Even the Supreme Court has made a ruling about parent’s needed involvement in school. You are part of
the community, so make that connection and benefit from a successful school year for you and your child!