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Parent Involvement In School Is Vital

November 2, 2009
Times Observer

There is a developmental asset that typically declines between 6th grade and 12th grade (from 50% to 20%). It is asset #6, Parent involvement in schooling. This is defined as "Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school." Just because this asset declines doesn't mean that it’s less important as students get older. Perhaps parents, schools, and students need to work together to find ways to keep parents involved that are comfortable and helpful for all. If you are a parent or guardian, telling a child about the importance of education is only half of the job. Show them that it's important by your actions:

• Regularly ask your child about school and to see her or his homework.

• If you can’t attend a school event with your child, find someone who can.

• Make an effort to meet and get to know school staff.

• Be an advocate for your child; don’t be afraid to speak up about school issues that concern you. School staff can help parents get involved, too:

• Make it clear to parents when and how they are welcome.

• Provide many opportunities for parents to get involved in different ways.

• Be open to parents’ ideas and suggestions.

• Tap into the skills of parents; invite them to be speakers or to help out with special projects or events.

Try the following strategies if you are a young person:

• Let your parents know about ways you’d be comfortable having them involved at your school.

• Every once in a while tell your parents about a project or assignment. If you need it, ask them for help.

I.F. Eastman coordinates Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth of Warren County on behalf of Family Services. Portions of this article were adapted from Get the Word Out: Communication Tools and Ideas for Asset Builders Everywhere with permission from the publisher.

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