Parental involvement matters

A little over nine months ago, in my August 17, 2014 editorial, I stated, “we are just a week away from starting the greatest school year ever.” I went on to say it would be an awesome challenge, but it could be done if our teachers, students, school administrators, parents and community worked together. I also said having the greatest school year would have to start in the home, with parents instilling in their children and youth the importance of education to their futures, by simply saying, “no education, no future.”

This was the message that had to be drilled home over and over, letting our young people know that they must never settle for “just getting by.” It was further noted that the effort parents make early on in the school year to be involved and engaged in their children’s education, especially their learning at home, might inspire their children to work harder at fulfilling their full potential and encourage them to keep on keeping on.

Too, it just might help put them on a path to a better future, while inspiring them to assume greater personal responsibility as well. To be sure, it’s all about helping children to have a better future, and every parent should want to do more to help provide their children with the necessary conditions for a good education.

So, just as the school year started in the home, with parents, let’s bring the year to a close with our focus still on our parents. Now, with the schools closing later this week, ending the 2014-2015 school year, this gives parents an ideal opportunity to engage in effective parent reflection, using this self-assessment time as a guidepost for change.

Too, as you reflect on your past year’s involvement in the education of your children, you can celebrate the successes and learn from the failures. In addressing those things on your parental involvement checklist that you want to improve, start by asking yourself, “What can I do differently to ensure that my child reaches his full potential?”

This could also be a good time to establish some new goals for the next school year with the focus on becoming a more effective partner with the teachers who educate your child, believing that you have every right to be a key player in your child’s education. Also, being a better parent will make teachers more effective.

Additionally, it is imperative for you to learn those parent behaviors that promote student achievement, starting with instilling in your child a love for learning and valuing the importance of a good education. And let’s not forget to read the student code of conduct and show support for the school’s discipline plan. It is here that many of our children get into trouble, choosing to argue and “mouth-off” instead of complying with all school personnel authorized to give directions. Let your child know there is a time and place to complain if he feels as if he has been mistreated.

As a parent, you need to know that parental involvement is a key factor in improving students’ academic performance. So make it a goal to stay engaged and know what’s going on.