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John Monfredo: Get Your Child Off to the Best Start this School Year

Saturday, August 11, 2012

 

In a few weeks the new school year will begin, so parents, here are a few ideas for you to consider as we approach opening day. As a former principal and now as a School Committee Member I have been a strong advocate of partnerships between the home and the school. Research coming out of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory has found that the best predictors of students’ achievement in school are when families:

• Create homes that encourage learning
• Express high, yet realistic, expectations for their children
• Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community.

Research also shows that children are more likely to succeed academically and are less likely to engage in violent behavior if their families are involved in their education. With the beginning of the new school year only a few weeks away, let’s look at six parental involvement segments as stated by the many parent involvement organizations.

Parents, here are some questions to help you consider your contributions to your child’s success at school.

Parenting:

1. Have you set aside a place and time in your home for your child to do homework?
2. Do you monitor your child’s homework?
3. Do you monitor your child’s television viewing habits?
4. Do you ensure that your child has excellent attendance at school?
5. Do you support and reinforce the school’s discipline plan?
6. Do you support your child’s learning by providing nutritious meals and adequate time for sleep (at least 8 hours)?

Learning at Home:

1. Do you read to your child? If your child is older, do you encourage reading by paying attention to what your child reads as well as how often he/she reads?
2. Do you hold your child responsible for completing all assignments on time and to the best of his/her ability?
3. Have you taken the time to find out what information and skills your child should master at his/her grade level or subject matter areas?

Volunteering:

1. Were you a volunteer who provided other parents with needed information?
2. Did you volunteer any time to assist the school with student activities?
3. Did you attend Parent Group or workshops for parents at your school?

Decision Making:

1. Have you worked on school-based committees, district level, city wide, or at school on issues concerning your school?
2. Were you involved in attending site-based school meetings?

Community Involvement:

1. Have you attended any school programs such as assemblies, school plays, athletic events or a school parties?
2. Do you insist that your child exhibit good sportsmanship at all times?
3. Do you encourage your child to volunteer (age appropriate) in projects within the community?

Communicating:

1. Do you read the school’s newsletter and other bulletins sent home?
2. Are you familiar with the extracurricular events or academic programs taking place at schools (tutoring, band, and counseling)?
3. Do you make appointments during the year to visit your child’s teacher for information or just for support?
4. Are you familiar with how the school grades your child?

If you can honestly say that yes to 16 of the 21 questions, then you are a strong partner in your child’s education. As one who has been involved in education most of my adult life and an advocate of literacy for our children, I would like to strongly suggest, come this school year, that you do all that you can to promote literacy (reading and writing ) in your home.

Make learning a priority in your home, visit the schools often and always remember to praise you child for the many good deeds that he/she accomplishes. Have a great school year! 

 

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