Parents and schools have an obligation to collaborate for the well being of their youth. Research has found that when the school and the home work together children accomplish more. When children do better at school and in life the community improves.
The Chapter 1 Parent Involvement Center RMC Research Corporation developed a useful model for collaborative parental involvement in 1989. It illustrates its vision for successful children through an optimally supportive home environment and an optimally supportive school environment. Parents and schools can learn from each other as they partner for the benefit of their charges. As parents communicate with schools they can learn aspects of positive parenting as well as about school curriculum, regulations, and procedures. Schools, in the process, can develop an increased understanding of parent needs and attitudes.
As parents learn more about their school, they become greater school supporters and advocates. Schools can use this input to help them reach their goals for students.
Families and schools donít always work together in effective ways to promote their goals for children. Educators seek parental involvement, but many have found little success with their efforts.
The late Dr. Dorothy Rich, founder of the Home and School Institute in Washington, D.C., and parental involvement researcher found that all families want to and can help their children learn, regardless of income or educational level and that when parents are involved in their childrenís learning their children earn higher grades and test scores, and they stay in school longer. It may be that some parents donít interact with schools because they find the schoolsí parental involvement efforts donít meet their needs.
Effective parental involvement in school programs must meet the needs of families as well as be helpful to the school.
There are questions that parents and schools can ask of themselves to overcome their apparent disconnect.
A parent might ask:
1. What do I desire for my child at school?
2. What am I doing at home to help my child achieve at school and in life?
3. How can I help the school assist my child to achieve the best he/she can?
4. How can the school help me to help my child achieve the best he/she can?
5. Do I have the will to work with my childís school to promote his/her achievement?
A school might ask:
1. What are the achievement goals for this school?
2. What is this school doing to help all students achieve goals for school and their lives?
3. How can parents help us reach our goals for students?
4. How can our school help parents help their students to achieve educational goals?
5. Do we have the will to work with parents to promote the achievement of our youth?
Answers and positive actions related to the above questions might mend the detachment between the family and the school.
The goal is to achieve meaningful and effective parental involvement. As the home and school work cooperatively for the well being of our youth our community will improve.
About the Community Improvement Series
On the first Monday of each month, the Aiken Standard will dedicate its Opinions Page to our Community Improvement Series.
The Community Improvement series was initially published daily March 4-23. A number of readers suggested that we find a way to continue the series in some form.
If you wish to be part of the continuing effort to improve our community and bridge the gaps that lie within, or if you have a suggestion for writers or topics, please contact Publisher Scott Hunter or Commentary Editor Jennifer Miller.
Scott can be reached at 644-2345 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Jennifer at email@example.com or 644-2366.
You may find all of the previous efforts on our website by visiting aikenstandard.com/community-insights.
We greatly appreciate your continued interest. We live in a wonderful community, but it is also a community with many needs.