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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

The #1 Way to Insure Your Child’s Success In School

For those of you who have children, you are certainly back in the swing of things with the beginning of a new school year.

Back to the routine.

Back to the homework.

Back to the earlier bedtimes.

Whether you have children in elementary school, middle school or high school, at the beginning of the year, you are focused on how to help your child be successful.

Who wouldn't want that?

There are many important parts to a child being successful at school. Yes, the school district and the teacher are important for success. Certainly a child's IQ plays a role. You would also guess that your child's internal motivation contributes significantly.

There is something even more important that correlates with school success. It's what we know for sure.

The #1 way to insure your child's success at school is . . . Parent Involvement.

Parent involvement is directly related to a child's success at school. That doesn't mean you have to volunteer all the time or even be the head room parent. I've never been the room parent but I'm a most excellent volunteer.

Your child benefits from seeing you at his or her school. Especially if you are there contributing to the activities in the school. Sending teacher treats, buying items at the book fair, and having lunch with your child at the school are all important. But, it is even more important for your child to see you active and contributing.

If you are determined to become more involved in your child's school, here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Don't just show up at the school science fair, volunteer to help with the set up and clean up after the event.

  • Take a leadership role for an activity at the school carnival, for your child's social, or work in the concession stand during a home football game.

  • Volunteer for lunch duty.

  • Be a parent volunteer for a field trip.

  • Attend school functions such as spirit assemblies and parent information programs.

  • Assist with fundraisers and community service projects.

Of course you need to see what your child's school needs and what is allowed. Schools benefit greatly from parent involvement.

Maybe you have only seen the volunteer opportunities as "needs" of the school. Your involvement is much more than that when it comes to the needs of your child. By being involved, even if it is just for one event, your child sees you are:

  • Engaged in the school community

  • Supportive of school activities

  • Invested in the success of their school

  • Committed to the greater good of the school

I know this time of year, many of you have good intentions to be involved. You likely thought about what you wanted to sign up for when you saw the list of volunteer opportunities at the orientation meeting. If you haven't committed yet, do it this week so the opportunity doesn't pass you by.

When my children were in elementary school, at a minimum I volunteered for the school carnival and participated in a committee for school based curriculum. As they have gotten older, the opportunities are not as visible. We have to look for them but they are there. There is career day, chaperoning for after school campus activities, and selling spirit wear during lunch. Make sure you are a member of the PTA and ask where your help is most needed. Show that you have school spirit and pride.

Don't let your work schedule or not knowing who to contact to volunteer be your excuse. The success of your child in his or her academic environment is important to you I know. You can contribute more to your child's success by going beyond your parental duty of making sure your child completes homework and studies for tests.

Your investment and involvement in their school community matters to your child's individual success more than you may think.

It's a new school year and it brings you the opportunity to make a difference. Get involved. Your child will benefit and your school community will too.

Until next time,

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