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Parent Engagment

Are you fully engaged with your child’s school?

By: John Halloran of SnappSchool.com

In today’s busy world, one of the biggest barriers preventing parents from fully participating at their children’s school is simply a lack of knowledge. There is a lot that parents can do to make a difference. Here is a short list:

Parent EngagementPitch in at the school 

  • Most schools have plenty of need for extra hands to help with anything from monthly newsletters, to organizing fundraising to writing grant proposals. Drop in at the office, find out what help is needed, and find an overlap with our skills and schedule.

Participate in school governance 

  • Get involved with the PTA/PTO and it’s various committees. look at the reports of your school’s performance on standardized tests and other measures. Where is the school succeeding and where is help needed? Discuss what you learn with the administration, congratulate them on successes, and ask how you can help in areas where there may be shortcomings

Help out in the classroom 

  • Be a class parent or roommom, organizing communication among and to the parents of students in the class. Do you have an expertise that you can bring to the classroom and share with your child’s class? Are you an artist, a scientist? Can you show the class something on the computer? Connecting school lessons to the professional world can be a huge win for children.
  • Help out with class trips if you can. Seeing your child’s classmates in this setting can give you tremendous perspective when you talk with your child at the end of the school day.

Engage with your child

  • Keep up with what your child is learning in the classroom, discuss lessons and homework in specifics. Let your child know that you are interested in the detail. Be sure your child feels comfortable coming to you wen help is needed.
  • Keep up on new teaching methods (ie. lattice and partial quotient multiplication).
  • Find appropriate resources online for additional help if your child needs it, or for extra challenges.
  • Look for opportunities to connect what your child is learning in the classroom to the real world, whether that means connecting statistics to your child’s favorite baseball team, or working with fractions while cooking up a secret family recipe.

Integrate the school with your community

  • Parents can play a critical role in integrating the school with community agencies and resources and ensuring that the school is well represented by local government

If you’re looking to do more at your child’s school, there may be more opportunities than you thought!  

John Halloran is the proud parent of two children in New York City’s Public Schools. He is also the Co-founder of SnappSchool (http://www.snappschool.com/), a startup developing content and tools that allow parents of elementary students to support their children’s educational success. He can be reached at john@snappschool.com

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