Parental involvement in schools

“Tested” is filled with stories of the school year. Several of those stories involve the efforts of the principal and teachers to get the students’ parents involved. At the elementary school level, having parents assist in the classrooms or attend parent open house can translate to those parents being more aware of their children’s daily progress (or lack of it) at school. That desire to have parents connected to their children and the schools continues through high school.

I remember those nights of open house when I was teaching high school. The rooms were more tidy than usual. We were all more dressed up than usual. Each class period was ten minutes. Long enough for us to meet the parents and make some brief remarks about the goals and activities of the course.

Typically the honors classes were filled with parents. Smiling. Confident in their comments and handshakes.

Sometimes with remedial classes, not a single parent was there. Sometimes a few were there — often tired or discouraged or embarrassed.

Meeting the parents of the students on the newspaper and yearbook staffs was especially important for me as publication adviser. These were the parents who would be asked to let their kids use the car to attend deadline workshops at school at night. These were the parents who would help fund their kids’ trips to state and national journalism conferences. These were the parents who sometimes were called into action to advocate for the importance of the publication program or the value of the First Amendment.  

The students need their parents’ support and encouragement. The schools need that parental support and encouragement, too. 

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