Your presence at school and in school activities says a lot to your child.
The two most important messages
it conveys are (1) that school is important and
(2) that you care about
your childís success in school.
In the fall and the spring most schools schedule parent-teacher
conferences. There are frequently
book fairs, writing fairs, math fairs, science
fairs, and other performances
scheduled during the same time, to get parents to
come to the school to see
what their talented children are learning.
The teachers, administrators, and children put a lot of work into preparing
for your arrival. You owe
it to your child, yourself, and the school to be present at
as many of the scheduled
events as possible. Since most of these are planned
far in advance, make yourself
aware of the school calendar and plan to attend.
This is particularly important
if your participation means having to take time off
Public education is most effective when families and schools forge a
partnership and are synchronous
in the process of teaching children. Each
partner has responsibilities
specific to its role in the childís life.
These are some responsibilities that schools have toward families. Look
these when you are searching
for a school to which to send your child. The
teachers and administrators
1. Treat all members of every family with the dignity and respect that
deserve. Each of us has
feelings and is trying to do our best. They should be
especially welcoming in
the event that younger siblings have come along to the
2. Treat family members as equal partners in the education of the children
involved. If parents need
help, the school should be prepared to give it to them.
3. Keep families informed about school personnel, meetings, activities,
rules and expectations,
classroom activities, and curriculum innovations.
4. Speak in a simple manner about curriculum and expectations without
the use of jargon. They
should be clear. Parents are not professional educators.
Many times, the curriculum
is different than it was when they attended school.
Teachers and administrators
should be prepared to explain it in a way so that
parents are comfortable
in getting the skills they will need to be successful.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.