Amazingly, the summers seem to get shorter as our children grow. As school begins anew, there are many opportunities to reaffirm your dedication to your child’s education. Attending Back to School nights is a chance to informally meet with teachers, staff, and other parents; it can also be a very positive experience for fellowship building. Your student(s) is excited to be back in school, on a schedule, seeing friends and teachers from the previous year. Even if the older kids are looking forward to a fresh start…and to show you around their world. Ask questions, have them give you a tour of the school (even if they have been there a few years), talk to their friends, teachers, and other adults they interact with. They will take pride in seeing and hearing that you care.
Another opportunity to get engaged in the education of your child is to join the parent group at the school. I am not suggesting that you sign up to do countless hours of fundraising, but rather, look for opportunities to connect school activities to learning. The Parent Education Network offers grants to schools who sign a Family-School Partnership Contract. While we have offered these for several years, we are improving them this year. The first activity will be a training session of an Action Team, made up of parents, teachers and the principal. This training will empower the Action Team to make decisions and plan the year’s activities to support the school’s and district’s goals. Not only will this create a more positive relationship between the parent group and the school, but the students will have the advantage of reinforcement in an area of concern for the school. The teachers will greatly appreciate the support shown by the parents to confront a problem.
Lastly, one of the best ways to engage with your child is by having a conversation with them. Ask open-ended questions; be willing to give them your full, undivided attention; interact and share stories of your youth, when applicable. By beginning the year with an open mind, being supportive and truly engaged, your child is sure to have a great year! So, welcome to the 2009-2010 school year, I hope it is the best yet!