HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED AT MY CHILD'S SCHOOL?
As a parent, your involvement in your child’s school is important to his or her success. A student with involved parents is more likely to:
- Earn good grades.
- Attend school regularly.
- Have a positive attitude about school.
- Have good behavior.
Taking the time to be involved in your child’s education shows your student how important his or her academic success is to your family. It also gives you the opportunity to make sure your child is receiving the quality education he or she deserves. Advocating for your child’s education means making sure that your child is getting the very best education possible.
The first step to advocating for your child’s education is getting to know your child’s teachers, counselors, coaches, and other school staff. Forming these relationships will make it easier for you to talk to them about your child’s education. You don’t have to be an expert in the school system! Here are some great options to get started:
- Attend school events, such as open houses, performances, or award ceremonies.
- Request a conference with your child’s teacher, counselor, or school administrator. If you work during the school day, you can request a conference at a time that works for you.
- Join parent groups or organizations at your child’s school.
- If your child has special needs or a learning disability, join a support group in your community or school district, such as the Dyslexia Parent Education/Support Group sponsored by your school district.
- Ask the program leader how you can help with your child’s after school program.
- Volunteer at your child’s school or in your child’s classroom.
- Vote in the School Board of Trustees election.
HELP YOUR CHILD AT HOME
Outside of attending events and direct contact with the school, you can advocate for your child by talking to him or her about the importance of education. You can show your child that education is important by:
- Making sure your child attends school regularly.
- Making sure your child does his or her homework.
- Making sure your child gets to school on time.
- Regularly checking your child’s progress
- Setting aside a time and place for homework.
- Talking to your child’s teacher regularly.
- Regularly asking your child about his or her classes.
- Making your child’s education a focus of your life at home.
- Reading together at home.
PARENT GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) are groups that parents can join to advocate for their children.
- A PTA is connected to a larger local, state, or national group.
- A PTO is specific to an individual school.
Many of these groups keep parents involved and informed about what is going on at school. For example, they might organize a school fundraiser, work with teachers, or provide parent trainings on how to get involved at school. If you are interested in getting involved in these organizations, contact your school’s office about how to join. If your school does not currently have a PTA or a PTO, you can start one!
Organizing a Parent Teacher Association: Any school official, parent, or interested person can organize a PTA. You might begin by talking to the school principal and a few teachers to gain their support of the idea. For more information about organizing a new local PTA, contact Texas PTA’s Director of Member Services, Michelle Jackson, at email@example.com, 1-800-TALK-PTA, or visit the website at www.txpta.org.
Organizing a Parent Teacher Organization: To start a PTO at your school, get a group of parents and/or teachers together that also want to start a PTO. As a group, agree on a common goal, like improving parent involvement or giving kids more options for after school activities. Then create a plan to make it happen. Examples include running an ice cream social for parents, students, and teachers to get to know one another, or planning a school fundraiser to raise money. Because every PTO is an independent organization, bylaws vary for each group. Learn more about organizing a PTO at www.ptotoday.com.
Site Based Decision Making Committee: If you are interested in getting involved in the decision-making that goes on at your child’s campus, you might consider joining your school’s Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) Committee. SBDM Committees hold school based meetings that include teachers, administrators, community leaders, and parents and are open to the public. Even if you don’t become a member of the committee, attending an SBDM Committee meeting is a good way to meet school officials and learn about the latest updates at your child’s school. Contact your school principal directly to learn more about your school’s SBDM Committee.
YOUR SCHOOL BOARD REPRESENTATIVE
School Boards include trustees that are elected by people who live in each trustee’s district. Trustees have a variety of responsibilities including:
- Setting policies for the District.
- Hiring the District Superintendent.
- Finding additional money for the District.
- Looking at how schools perform.