There are many different ideas about how parent groups can make a difference, but we all agree on a few key points: that parent/guardian support is essential for a school to thrive, that parent/guardian groups succeed when they communicate with school staff, and that kids benefit most when administrators, teachers, and families all work together.
1. Seek input to identify volunteer opportunities.
Contact your school for more information on meaningful volunteer opportunities. For example, a project manager can bring fresh eyes to a challenge a school is having with a chaotic carpool line. A graphic designer might be just the person to create posters for the upcoming readathon. And a parent with a culinary background might want to help kids understand measurement and fractions through a cooking demonstration.
2. Encourage participation in parent-teacher conferences.
Face-to-face parent-teacher conferences are extremely important.
Kids and teens do better in school when parents get involved. Attending parent–teacher conferences is one way to be involved and help your child succeed. A parent–teacher conference is a great opportunity to:
- discuss your child's progress
- share your child's strengths and needs
- work with the teacher to help your child do well in school
3. Inspire students to read.
Reading is a key to academic success. The benefits of having a parent or other adults read aloud to children has been studied and researched. Findings have shown it to be one the most important activities for children from birth.
A research study on independent reading and young students by Nagy and Herman shows that simply reading for 20 minutes every day can significantly increase the chances of your child’s educational success in the future.
In addition to the 20 minutes a day, it is important that this activity starts as soon as possible. Even if a child is still learning to read, the act of turning the page is considered a form of reading. Children can learn a lot of information from the illustrations and the words that they do understand.
If it is a new activity for your family, you do not need to reach the full 20 minutes at first. However, the first goal should be making the time for reading with your child everyday. Later it will be easy to accomplish the 20 minutes of reading once the routine is established. It is a fun activity that promotes bonding and other non-educational benefits as well. Books are readily available at GCSSD libraries!
4. Know what’s new. Get connected.
Frequently, when schools roll out new programs, tests, and approaches, parents don’t know anything about the changes. Parent groups can help get the word out. The PTO helps to communicate with parents about school events. Various social media accounts are available to follow or subscribe to as well as downloading the GCSSD app for district and local school information and notifications.
5. Help kids who are falling behind.
Parent groups can train parents to tutor kids in the classroom and organize before and after-school tutoring programs. Parent groups can also create flash cards, worksheet packets, learning games, and other activities for kids to use with their parents at home.