By Jeff Ursino, Trustee Area VII Pajaro Valley Unified School District
In the last few weeks I have had the chance to attend several school functions around the District. What has stuck out in my mind as I walk out is the amount of parental involvement that I see at these events. Parents taking pictures of their child’s science project, watching them in the school play or talking to their child’s teacher about how the school year is going all amount to parents who are involved in their child’s education. This is a subject I have discussed before but due to its importance it is a message I feel bears repeating.
Science and research is really only now coming to grips with what to many seems like common sense: Children who have parents who are involved in their lives benefit from that involvement. On top of the benefits afforded to those students, individual school sites and even teachers benefit from active and involved parents. In the end when parents are actively involved in their child’s education not only is their own child’s benefiting but so does the entire community.
In the last few years, research has been focused on what is the proper role of parents in their child’s educational journey. What research has shown is that students whose parents are involved have higher self-esteem, lower drug and alcohol usage and higher grades. Furthermore, these students have higher graduation rates not only from high school but also college. The research indicates that by focusing on education the parents in these studies are reinforcing the message day in and day out how important education is. This focus and attention helps to build self-esteem for the child and continuous re-focus them on their educational path. As the research highlights what matters to parents will matter to their children.
Involvement in a child’s education does not mean that one necessarily has to open their wallet. Reviewing homework nightly, attending teacher-parent conferences asking your child how their day at school was or what they are learning a parent reinforces just how important education is. By talking about college with your children and some of the experiences you may have experienced a parent re enforces what is important to them and how important higher education is.
The other piece of parental involvement that is only now being looked at is the positive impact that an involved parent contributes has on both a school itself and the teachers at the school. Schools with high parental involvement benefit from high teacher morale and job satisfaction. Further research on this topic indicated that by working in the classroom parents are able to get to know what teachers face day in and day out. The breeds’ appreciation for both the challenges and rewards of teaching. Satisfied teachers are more engaged and able to build stronger school communities.
I have said before that for a school to meet its full potential it really needs 3 things. It needs teachers and administrators who are committed and everyday come and give their very best, students who are fully committed to their education and come to school every day ready to learn and finally parents who are committed to their child’s education. Tonight ask your child how their homework is coming along, how their day was or what they learned today. They’ll be better for it.