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Boost your child's educational success by getting involved

Apr. 11, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Although parents conscientiously send their children off to school every day and expect them to do well, they can add an important extra ingredient that will boost their children's success. Parent participation is the ingredient that makes the difference. Parents' active involvement with their child's education at home and in school brings great rewards and has a significant impact on their children's child's lives. By actively participating in their child's education at home and in school, parents send a critical message to their child that school is important.

When schools, families and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more. Research on parent involvement over the past decade is showing that, regarding of family income or background; students with involved parents are more likely to:

Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs.

Be promoted, pass their classes.

Attend school regularly.

Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school.

Graduate and go on to postsecondary education.

Parent involvement is important to the educational success of a young adolescent and yet generally declines when a child enters the middle grades. Parent involvement is defined as having an awareness of and involvement in schoolwork, understanding of the interaction between parenting skills and student success in schooling, and a commitment to consistent communication with educators about student progress. The term "parent" refers to biological parents, adoptive and stepparents, and primary caregivers.

Students of all races and ethnic groups benefit when their parents are involved in their education. The one aspect of parent involvement that has the most impact on student achievement is parental expectations. Students achieve more when their parents expect more.

Both students and schools benefit when parents are involved in education. Academic achievement and standardized test results are higher, students have a more positive attitude toward school and their behavior is better. Other benefits include more successful academic programs and schools that are generally more effective.

One of the best ways for parents to be involved in education is to communicate regularly with teachers. Think of yourself as the teacher's partner in managing your child's education. Monitor your child's homework and school projects, making them a top priority in his or her schedule. Another way parents can be involved is to volunteer at the school. All kinds of opportunities exist, such as helping in the classroom, conducting fundraisers and assisting with extracurricular activities.

Schools must also do their part to encourage parent involvement in education. Key activities include making parents feel welcome at school, involving parents in decision making, and implementing programs to provide information about parenting skills and community resources.

Jamie Davis is a teacher at Peyton Elementary.

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