I believe parent involvement is the key to changing our communities in the years to come. The more we as parents become involved and show our children that we care, the better off our world will be. The country will benefit as a whole giving every child the opportunity to succeed in such a competitive country. I see a bigger push for parent involvement in charter schools than I see in the traditional schools, but I think this is quickly changing and will catch on quickly in the years to come.
As stated by the Michigan Department of Education, the most effective forms of parent involvement are those, which engage parents in working directly with their children on learning activities at home. Decades of research show that when parents are involved students have: •Higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates •Better school attendance •Increased motivation, better self-esteem •Lower rates of suspension •Decreased use of drugs and alcohol •Fewer instances of violent behavior
The more parents participate in schooling, in a sustained way, at every level in advocacy, in decision making and oversight roles, as fundraisers and boosters, as volunteers and professionals, and as home teachers, the better for student achievement. I currently work for an Early Head Start program where we are not only helping to insure that very young children are developing appropriately and receiving the needed services as early as possible to help them thrive. We are also helping parents lay the foundation for Parent Involvement in the schools and communities for the years to come.
We are strong believers that the children’s success lies upon making sure that parents are involved in all aspects of their children’s lives. Helping them understand the importance and the strong impact of their involvement is key to involving them not only in the program, but in the lives of their children and their community. We don’t just preach this, we do our best to educate and involve parents in the lives of their children as well as in the communities they live in. Also stated in Epstein’s Six types of Parent Involvement, “There are many reasons for developing school, family, and community partnerships, “ she writes. The main reason to create such partnership is to help all youngsters succeed in school and in later life. ” (Michigan Department of Education, What Research Says about Parent Involvement in Children’s Education). As a program we have the parents, elect parents onto a Policy Council which is a group of enrolled program families as well as representatives from the community that can bring a wealth of contacts and resources to the families in the program. They are provided with a number of trainings to help them better understand their role and help build their self-esteem.
They are then a part of the programs decision making process. They help with the interviewing process as well as the hiring and firing process of program staff. They are involved in the programs self-assessment process, curriculum and planning of program events such as the Annual Resource Fair/Picnic that is organized every year. California State Board of Education Policy #89-01 states from research studies: 1. Families provide the primary educational environment. 2. Parent involvement in their children’s education improves student achievement. 3.
Parent involvement is most effective when it is comprehensive, supportive, long-lasting, and well planned. 4. The benefits of parent involvement are not limited to early childhood or the elementary level; there are continuing positive effects through high school 5. Involving parents in supporting their children’s education at home is not enough. To ensure the quality of schools as institutions serving the community, parents must be involved at all levels in the schools. 6. Children from low-income and culturally and racially diverse families have the most to gain when schools involve parents.
The extent of parent involvement in a child’s education is more important to student success than family income or education. 7. We cannot look at the school and the home in isolation from one another; familes and schools need to collaborate to help children adjust to the world of school. This is particularly critical for children from families with different cultural and language backgrounds. (California State Board of Education Policy #89-01 states from research studies) Having researched this and reading it has assured me that the message I try relaying to the families I work with on a daily basis is right on spot.
I use both research data as well as life experience in trying to help the families I work with. As I have mentioned in the past. I come from a single parent family with three siblings, raised in a neighborhood plagued with drugs and gang violence and because my mother was involved and believed strongly in education, although she only had up to a fifth grade education, she was able to have all but one of her kids receive a college degree and one complete Law School at Harvard.
I was the one who has taken a substantial amount of college courses but has not completed a college degree. In part I think because my priorities as a young man were to earn an honest living to buy those things that I was not able to have as a younger child. I was also that one who had a difficult time with school and studying. I now have that one child who is identical to me and both me and my wife try our best to help him as best we can always relaying the message to our children that college is not an option but a must.