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Family is key to student achievement

POSTED: December 11, 2007 7:19 a.m.
Being involved in a child’s education is not a part-time job. Parental involvement stretches from the classroom to the living room and every place in between. It is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week pursuit that lasts throughout the year.
On National Parental Involvement Day (Nov. 15) we took time to say an extra-special thank you to our highly-involved parents and remind everyone how important it is for moms and dads — and other family members — to be involved in a child’s education.
The evidence is overwhelming: Students who have highly-involved families get higher grades, have fewer discipline problems and are more likely to be successful throughout their entire life.
As the parent of two teenage boys, I know it’s not always easy to be fully involved. Life is demanding and there is almost never enough time to get everything done. And sometimes, our children can be reluctant — to say the least — to give you all the information you need to be involved.
Going to PTA meetings and teacher conferences is very important, but parental involvement is much more than that.
Parental involvement means making sure your child gets to school, on time, every day and is ready to learn. It means having a dedicated place for your student to do homework every night and putting limits on TV time and video games. It’s also about making sure a child eats breakfast every morning and gets enough sleep every night.
Parental involvement means reading to your child from the day they are born and checking their homework every night to make sure it’s done. It also means attending school functions, like concerts and athletic events, and reinforcing the messages of good sportsmanship and teamwork.
And for some parents, especially those with teenagers, it means asking questions even when your kids don’t want to provide the answers.
In general, great parent involvement means making sure your child knows that you value their education more than anything else — and they should too!
It’s important to assess where we are as parents. It is also important for our schools and school systems to assess whether they are doing everything they can to get parents involved and keep them involved.
There are many great resources available to parents and schools.
The Georgia PTA Web site (www.georgiapta.org) has information about the different types of parental involvement and helpful resources and links.
The Web site for Project Appleseed, a national group that is working hard to increase parental involvement in all schools, is full of useful information for parents and school officials.
There are strategies for increasing parental involvement and a host of resources that can be used by everyone.
On behalf of our schools and school systems, I want to thank all of the parents and family members who have taken on the full-time job of being involved in a child’s education. You are creating a better place for your child and are helping to secure the future of our state and our nation.

Cox, of Fayette County, is the State Superintendent of Schools. She was a classroom teacher for 15 years.
 

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