by Liz Lampkin
The 2022-2023 school year is up and running across the nation. Many schools are vastly approaching the middle of the first quarter which means, scholars are halfway through and progress reports are on their way. Student progress reports provide a view of how a student is proceeding with their everyday studies for parents. However, there are a number of parents who often miss the mark of consistently monitoring their child’s educational progress. For many, it is a conscious choice not to become involved for many reasons. Their attitude towards the school and staff, staff attitudes towards parents, lack of awareness, parent cliques, or an absence of effective communication. Other barriers that prevent parent involvement can include childcare, work conflicts, time restraints, language barriers, and cultural differences. While these and other factors hinder parent involvement it is important for a child to know and see that their caregivers care about their education, particularly parents of color.
In recent years, it seems as though education has become a pastime rather than a priority because of the absence of active and respectfully boisterous parents. This must change. It’s time for parents to reclaim their drive and support for their child’s education. Having active parents in schools will increase academic and attendance rates, it’ll decrease the dropout rate, it can create positive attitudes toward education for parents and students. If you are a parent who struggles with finding ways to be active in your child’s education or you know of parents who grapple with this issue, take a look below at the practical ways to turn things around.
- Look at your child’s school calendar before school begins and plan your schedule around important dates. This can help you manage your time to ensure you are available to attend. This will also help you arrange childcare in advance for younger children if you don’t want to bring them along.
- Plan casual check-ins with your child’s teachers’ before or after school and ask questions about their progress and behavior. The check-ins should be brief and focused strictly on your child. If you need more time or have more questions, schedule a formal meeting time with your child’s teacher/s.
- Be intentional about developing positive relationships with the school’s staff. Avoid any negative interactions and remain focused on the goal of your child’s education.
- Take a genuine interest in your student’s work. Make time to help your scholar with homework. Help them study for an exam or review concepts they were taught during the school day.
- Effectively communicate with your child about what they learned in school. Ask them about any classwork they had or simply ask them to tell you one thing they learned today that made them smarter. Conversations about their education don’t have to be uncomfortable. They can be welcoming and encouraging to everyone involved.
Parents are a child’s first teachers. As much as possible, make education a priority at home. Create an environment that shows the benefits of education. Engage in conversations with your scholar about their educational experiences and goals. It would also help to share your experiences as well. You never know what your child may have in common with you.
As the school year progresses, it’s important to know how valuable parents are to the educational process. Children of color deserve to have the support of their parents from the beginning to the end of every school year. When parents are proactive at the beginning of the school year and remain consistent, there won’t be a need to be reactive later on.
Learn to actively support your child, their teachers, and the school community. The benefits are priceless