No matter how smart or gifted a child is, the involvement of the childâ€™s parents or guardians in his or her school is vital to the success of that child. Most schools and educational organizations encourage parental involvement. There are even state policies in regards to parental involvement in the schools. Thatâ€™s because parental involvement has proven to increase student success and make schools better.
The Child Trends Data Bank produced a report showing a direct correlation between parental involvement in school activities and the childâ€™s educational success. Children whose parents were involved were more likely to graduate high school and/or attend college.
â€śWhen a parent is involved with the school, it sends a message to their child that school and education is important,â€ť stated Donna Stewart, elementary principal at Highland ISD. â€śThat is a great gift to give a child since education opens doors and provides choices in life.â€ť
Stewart pointed out that young students especially enjoy it when their parents come to the school to volunteer or eat lunch with them. â€śI wish even the busiest of parents could find time to eat lunch with their child on occasion,â€ť she said. â€śIt makes them feel special and proud.â€ť
Ways parents can be involved may be anything from simply attending the childâ€™s school activities or helping with homework to taking part in parent-school organizations like the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) or PTA (Parent Teacher Association) or Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) and volunteering in the classroom.
Sweetwater ISD Assistant Superintendent Kathy Smartt said that the Watch D.O.G.S. program at Sweetwater Intermediate School has been a success. The program is in its fifth year at SIS.
â€śAround 100 dads volunteer each year to spend the school day with fourth and fifth graders at the local intermediate campus,â€ť she explained. â€śThe dads are the heroes of the hallways as they inspire children, reduce bullying and enhance the education environment at SIS.â€ť
Watch D.O.G.S. is an initiative that began with the National Center for Fathering. The organization states on its website, â€śThe research is clear. Children thrive when they have an involved father â€“ someone who loves them, knows them, guides them, and helps them achieve their destiny.â€ť
For children whose parents are not in the picture, having an active grandparent or guardian can be just as effective.
Stewart also says parental involvement helps build a school community. â€śParents have a greater understanding of their childâ€™s day and teachers benefit from meeting and getting to know the parents,â€ť she added. In other words, that involvement is also a benefit to the parent and teachers and makes for a better child-parent relationship and parent-teacher relationship.