Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on Medium. It has been reprinted with the author’s permission.
The smell of education is in the air. Parents have bought uniforms. School supplies are packed up and ready to go. Teachers have completed their beginning of the year requirements, decorated their classrooms and have received finalized student rolls. Students are fully aware that summer break is shortly coming to an end.
As the new school year comes upon us, there is a need to get a better grasp of a more sufficient and efficient level of education. In order to accomplish that goal, I believe that a fundamental commitment to education by parents and teachers is of the utmost importance. Our children need to be provided the tools for them to progress in life when they become of age. Sure we all have optimism when it comes to life’s goals, but I’m talking about a recommitted zeal to the development of our children’s foundation; an intentional acceptance that more work needs to be done and a pledge that better home to school partnerships are at the forefront of our short and long term plans.
I have listed some ideas that I believe would go a long way to making not only this school year better but change the course of progressive education in the future:
- Make Your presence known!
There is no one who will speak up for your children or represent them better than you.
Follow this link to see tips on how to be an effective advocate for your child
Clearly state what you envision academically to your child. It is said that attitude is everything and studies have shown that students are 81% more likely to finish high school when parents express high hopes and solid expectations
Introduce yourself to everyone in your child’s school building from the Head of School to the Custodian, they should all know your name.
- Stay involved in your child’s education
You, a relative or a close family friend should be actively checking homework and assisting your child with their lessons away from school
Encourage reading and actively engage in reading with your child. It will increase their skills as well as give them a greater interest in their own education and school
Check for all information coming from the school(letters in backpack, text, email, voicemail and the school’s Parent Portal)
- Know You and Your child’s rights
You can find Parents and student right at these links
and the Parents’ Bill of Rights for Public Schools
- Encourage and support parental efforts
Engaged parents have a right to advocate for their kids give them your support plus the partnership will make educating children more efficient.
Be an extension of home reinforcing a positive attitude plus remind students of hopes and expectations expressed by their parents.
The families that you serve should be aware of everyone who may service children in their school. They should also have access if requested to any information on any person employed or contracted with the school.
- As families set new goals give them the support to make those goals possible
Realize that students have interesting support system, they come in many shapes and forms. Knowledge and understanding of each family’s circumstances goes a long way in educating each student properly.
A family’s encouragement and engagement with homework and reading may depend solely on their personal abilities. I believe this doesn’t mean they are not involved but are limited in their effectiveness, assist them if necessary.
Make yourself available. I know emails create a paper trail but nothing is more inviting and comforting as a phone call or face to face meeting.
- Be allies to parents on this education journey
Let parents know that they and their children have rights.
Trust goes a long way in establishing great partnerships.
These elements I have listed are essential and vital to making education outcomes more efficient for all parties involved. I know for a fact that most of these elements are not unfamiliar to us, but I believe that we have collectively taken them for granted. I believe complacency must end. We must get back to the time when we took pride in taking care of our neighbor, when we handled business and when we went the extra mile to get the job done.
The success of our kids and our future is dependent on us embracing this work. Let’s show our kids that we care more than ever while getting back to the basics. So let’s start this new year with both optimism and a committed effort. I truly believe it’s easier than we know!