Getting involved in your child’s education will give you access to teachers and administrators and keep you informed about school activities and policies.
How will my child benefit?
Being an involved parent is the best thing you can do for your child’s education.
Children whose parents participate in their school have higher grades and test scores and better attendance, and are more likely to be well adjusted and enjoy school, according to studies. Children of involved parents achieve more in school.
The best ways to get involved
Get to know the right people
Teachers, principals, coaches, and school activity coordinators should be at the top of your mingle list.
Try to attend your school’s open house or arrange a time when you can stop by and introduce yourself. Let them know you want to be involved in school events, and give them contact information.
Volunteer in class
Most teachers welcome help from parents. At the beginning of the year, tell your child’s teacher you are interested in lending a hand, and remind her periodically when you have time to help. Even if you work full time and can’t commit to a regular schedule, you can still volunteer.
Don’t just say, ‘I’m working full time so I can’t do anything. Offer to prepare materials for class projects at home or call other parents about an upcoming event.
Be a room mother or father
Many teachers use a parent or two throughout the year to plan class activities and parties, keep communications clear, and organise car pools.
This can be more of a commitment than volunteering once in a while, but there’s no better way to get to know the teacher and other parents.
Join the Parents Teachers Association
Local parent teacher associations or organizations (called PTAs or PTOs) are open to all interested parents.
PTA/PTO membership will give you a chance to meet other parents, raise funds for projects and materials at your child’s school and, in some cases, lobby the school district for changes.
Contact your child’s school and ask for the name and number of the president of your local unit or the school’s PTA or PTO teacher liaison.
Network with other parents
Other parents are your best source of information about your child’s school, and together you can form a strong advocacy group.
If the school doesn’t already have a meeting and information place for parents, ask about getting one. The center can be anywhere — in a corner of the main office, in a private room, or even backstage in the school auditorium.
The space can serve as an unmanned information center with brochures, updates, minutes from PTA meetings, fliers about upcoming events, contact numbers, and more, or a place for parents to meet after school or in the evenings.
Share your talents
If you’re a musician, volunteer to perform for a school event or help out with music classes. If you’re an artist, share some of your work in the school cafeteria or in classrooms. If you’re knowledgeable about a subject that children find interesting, see if you can come in as a guest speaker.
If you’re handy with a saw and hammer, ask whether you’re needed to help fix something or lead a carpentry project in class. If you have technical skills, set up the class email list or help with the school Web site. Whatever your expertise, call the school office and offer your services.