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Superintendent News & Views-The Importance of Parental Involvement By David Hill, Gladbrook-Reinbeck Superintendent

August 30, 2018
Reinbeck Courier
The first week of the school year has flown by, and our parents have had the opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher(s) individually in our 2nd annual Parent Input Conferences. At Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Parent Input Conferences are scheduled very early on our school year calendar in order to allow parents and teachers an opportunity to establish a good working relationship for the year. Experienced educators and parents understand that when there are concerns about a child’s academic progress, work completion, or behavior in school, these concerns usually don’t just get better “on their own.” Parent Input Conferences give parents and teachers a chance to address any concerns early on in order to develop plans to alleviate them. Parents shouldn’t hesitate to contact any one of their child’s teachers when concerns arise – it isn’t necessary to wait until a scheduled conference. Parent Input Conferences are an important opportunity for parental involvement – but conferences are just one way that parents can be involved. Research has proven that parent involvement is a key factor in student success for students of all ages. Study after study has shown how important it is for parents to be actively involved in their child’s education. Here are some of the major findings of the research on parental involvement: 1. When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. 2. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, parental education level or cultural background. 3. Reading aloud to children is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child’s chance of reading success. Talking to children about books and stories read to them also supports reading achievement. 4. When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically. 5. The earlier parent involvement begins in a child’s educational process, the more powerful the effects. Parental involvement can mean reading to your child, checking homework every night, encouraging and facilitating your child’s involvement in extracurricular activities, enforcing a regular bed time on school nights, emailing/conferencing with your child’s teacher, limiting TV viewing and video/computer gaming on school nights, or teaching your child the importance of good attendance at school. Other examples of parent involvement include joining the booster club, volunteering at school, voting in school board elections, or attending school events to show your support. Or, parental involvement can be as simple as asking your son or daughter, “How was school today?” But ASK EVERY DAY. That will send a clear message that school work is important to you and that you expect them to learn. Then, LISTEN to your child as he or she describes the activities of their school day, and engage in a conversation to help them consider how they might apply what they have learned in the home or other settings. Some parents and families are able to be involved in their child’s education in many of the ways listed above. Others may only have time for one or two activities. Whatever your level of involvement, my advice to do it consistently and stick with it, because the research shows that you will make an important difference in your child’s life. Because parental involvement is so important, I’m planning to provide useful information and resources related to parent involvement in several of my Superintendent News & Views columns this year. I encourage your feedback, questions, and other interactions. You are welcome to visit my blog at  http://rebelsupt.blogspot.com/  where you can read all of my columns published in the Northern Sun-Print and the Reinbeck Courier and leave comments if you wish. You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter, where my handle is  @DavidRobertHill. 

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