It’s part of a plan to increase parent involvement in the educational process, a critically important part of motivating students to do their best in the classroom.
Studies show lack of parental involvement to be one of the biggest problems facing public schools. Children tend to follow their parents’ cues when it comes to the importance they place on education. Many believe that support and encouragement from parents is the single most important factor in predicting academic success for the children.
Studies indicate that when parents are involved, students have better grades, higher graduation rates and attendance, increased motivation, better self-esteem and better outcomes in other ways as well.
Last week’s meeting replaced meetings in individual schools held in previous years. That accomplished a couple of things. For parents with children in more than one school, it provided a one-stop opportunity to learn about all of the schools at one location, and to get to know some of the school leaders from across the system. It also helped put forward the goal of unity for the entire system. All the goals are related to the system’s vision of preparing students to be ready to take their places in college, in careers and in their community in the future.
With goals of closing achievement gaps, increasing scores and reducing dropout rates, educators throughout the system want to help every child become the best they can be.
Each central office director spoke about what they see on the horizon for the coming year, and each principal outlined a new set of goals developed for their schools for the coming year — goals developed for their schools to move forward in a mode of continuous improvement.
Part of the reason for having the systemwide meeting coincided with the recent accreditation of the system as a whole, and the desire to promote a unified vision of the educational process.
Typically parents of younger children are more involved in earlier grades, and their involvement wanes as the children move into middle school and beyond. By focusing attention on the system, there’s a better chance to keep parents involved.
Of course, education isn’t just about schools. Parents can support the intellectual development of their children in any number of ways. For young children especially it’s important for parents to read to them, and to have books available to them in the home. Guiding TV watching and Internet usage is important, and taking trips to museums, zoos and other stimulating destinations contribute to student achievement.
District Parent Involvement coordinator Karen Elson organized last week’s meeting, which was an opportunity for system leaders to talk to the parents. Another meeting is planned later this month, Oct. 29 at 6 at the high school, to help develop a strategic five-year plan. Input from parents and other stakeholders will be sought at that meeting to listen to what the community wants from its schools.
Education isn’t just the teacher’s job. It’s a team process that works best when everyone involved does their part.