Every campus has the potential to become a top public school. Learn about what you can do as a parent to improve your child's public school.
Parents want to ensure their children obtain the best education possible, but few are aware of just how significantly their input can turn a campus into a top public school. There are numerous ways parents can get involved to raise the bar for the neighborhood school system. Consider these four ideas that can help your schools achieve the level of quality you want for your children.
Parental Involvement in the Classroom
When parents get into the classroom, they obtain a better perspective of what challenges the teacher and students face. Parental involvement encourages better communication between the teacher and parent, as well as between the parent and child. According to a study by Henderson and Berla, the benefits of parental involvement to students include:
- Higher grades and test scores
- Better attendance
- More homework completed
- Improved attitudes
- Higher graduation rates
Benefits are not restricted to students, however. The school also benefits from parental involvement in the following ways:
- More support for teachers from families
- Improved teacher morale
- Higher student achievement
- Better reputation in the community
Parents also benefit from getting more involved in school business. By becoming involved, parents develop more confidence in the school and the teachers who work there. Moms and dads also become more confident of their own parenting abilities and their children's potential for success.
Better Nutrition and Fitness
Obesity is becoming a national epidemic in the United States, and it is no longer just the adults that fall victim. The incidence of obesity in children is also on the rise, which may affect the ability of students to learn effectively. The USDA recommends that schools adopt a wellness policy that encourages healthy eating and physical fitness for their students. The components of this policy might include:
- Promotion of wellness by setting goals for nutrition education and physical fitness
- Nutrition guidelines that should be followed during the school day
- A measuring rod to track implementation of the wellness policy
- Community involvement in the development and implementation of the wellness policy
Taken a cue from Project Appleseed, parents can become an important tool in the creation and maintenance of a wellness policy that stresses healthy lunches. They can persuade schools to stop making junk foods available to students by the removal of soda and snack vending machines. They can work to educate schools about the importance of organic fare and help them find affordable local sources. Parents can also teach their children at home about the importance of healthy eating, so the kids will be more likely to make good food choices during the school day.
A safe school is a more productive, successful school, but providing a secure environment for children is often a job too big for school administrators and teachers to successfully handle alone. PTA.org stresses the importance of school safety and offers options for parents to get involved. These might include:
- Talking with children about safety and getting input about gaps in the current system and what could be done to improve school security
- Assessing school security by asking questions of the staff in regards to school entry points, visitor policies and communication capabilities
- Assisting with the creation, training and implementation of a crisis team that is trained to handle a variety of potential school emergencies
- Bringing security concerns to school officials with the purpose of working together to resolve them
When parents and school staff work together to improve security, the result is often a more secure learning environment where students can truly flourish.
Studies repeatedly show that students who learn in a racially diverse environment enjoy a multitude of benefits. This is especially true for minority children, but it also applies to the rest of the student population as well.
According to a report on Chicago Defender, segregated schools are not beneficial to any of our children. In fact, the report states, "Almost half of America's Black students and nearly two-fifths of Latino students attend high schools that have been labeled 'dropout factories' by Johns Hopkins University researchers and the U.S. Department of Education, where less than 60 percent of the freshman class will graduate in four years."
Parents can ensure that schools follow policies laid out by the Supreme Court and other government agencies in terms of racial desegregation, helping students get the best possible education.
Making sure children have the best possible education is a team effort. When parents become members of the team, it is more likely that public schools will achieve higher ratings and a higher quality of academic success overall.
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