Your kids will get better grades if you are involved at school! A 2008 study from the University of New Hampshire indicates that students perform much better academically if their parents are involved in the school. However, that news can create more stress for already busy parents that are trying to juggle full-time jobs and child-rearing simultaneously. The good news is that there are many ways to get involved in your child’s school without taking time off from work or further taxing an already packed schedule. Check out these 10 ways busy parents can make a positive impact at their children’s schools.
Consider a Parent Club
Consider membership in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or similar group at your child’s school. Parent groups typically meet one evening a week or month to accommodate a busy work schedule. They are often involved in many of the all-school activities and stay abreast of the latest happenings within the school, according to Great Schools. PTA members get to know many of the school staff and play a role in the success of the school overall.
Sponsor a Student Club
Student clubs may also meet in the late afternoons or evenings, and they are generally looking for adult sponsors. High schools need parental help for sports teams, music and theatre productions and other types of after-school clubs. Even elementary and middle schools might offer extracurricular activities at a convenient time for your schedule, and in a subject where you can offer some expertise to the students.
Become a Class Reader
Parents.com recommends using your lunch hour or another time of day to offer your reading abilities to your child’s class. Elementary classrooms are always looking for parent readers, and it usually takes 30 minutes or less to make your contribution. Some schools even promote “surprise” guests throughout the year, which are often parents that come in once or twice a year to read their favorite story to the class. Ask your child’s teacher if she currently has a guest reader program in place or if she would like to start one.
Teachers are as short on supplies as they are on time, and with large budget cuts in districts across the country, additional pencils, paper and erasers may be hard to come by. Education.com suggests asking your child’s teacher what he could use for the classroom. Next, go on a shopping trip with your child to get the supplies his class needs.
Put Skills to Work
If you have skills in a particular subject, there are many ways you can put them to work to benefit your child’s class. For example, you could sponsor a new club or use your skills to send out email blasts or write a newsletter. Some parents might enjoy cutting out and collating from home, which saves the teacher time without cutting into the parent’s daytime schedule.
Plan a Party
Classroom parties are still one of the highlights of the school year for students, and teachers love them all the more when parents shoulder the lion’s share of the planning. Volunteer to coordinate a team of parents to throw the Winter or Valentine’s Day party, offer to help with decorations or refreshments or take an afternoon to play host in the classroom. Because classes typically throw only a handful of parties each year, you can join in the festivities without losing too much work time.
Attend School Board Meetings
School board meetings are generally held in the evening, allowing parents an inside look at the operations of the school district. Parents can even offer input of their own. School board meetings are generally posted in local publications or on the websites for school districts. Meetings may be held once a month or once a quarter, so it’s relatively easy to take a night off from regular activities to attend.
Clean Up School Grounds
It can be tough for schools to find the time, money and resources to give school property the proper curb appeal. If you have a green thumb, offer to organize a group of parents to plant flowers or bushes around the grounds. Some schools have even created gardens where the students can work the soil and grow their own crops. Even a weekend afternoon of cleaning up trash or painting playground equipment can make a big difference to the children and staff.
Ramp Up the Website
If you have technical skills to offer, your child’s school may appreciate some help with the website. You can offer to revamp or maintain what is already online, or you can create a classroom page for your child’s teacher. While many teachers have the technical know-how to handle these tasks today, few have the time or resources to do it alone. Most will appreciate some technical assistance to bring their online presence up to par.
Don Your Chauffer’s Cap
Another consequence of reduced school budgets is fewer school buses to go around. This means schools now enlist the help of parents to drive to field trips, sporting events and club activities. If you have a large vehicle and a bit of time throughout the year, this might be the perfect way to get to know some of your child’s classmates while running them around town.
School involvement is a key element in a successful academic career for your child. With these tips, you can find ways to get involved with your child’s school without overtaxing your own packed schedule. For more inspiration, consider these four ways parents can make any campus into a top school!
Questions? Contact us on Twitter. @publicschoolreview