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Involvement at school can't be measured

Teaching Your Child

Teaching Your Child

August 14, 2009|By LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

School is about to begin. How do you plan on being involved?

If you are a parent with a school-age child, it's a question you should consider.

Why? Because your child's success is closely tied to your involvement.

Principals, teachers, coaches and advisers will be working with your child day after day. They will make a difference.

But when you come to school, the impact is immeasurable.

Perhaps you think you're too busy to volunteer at school. It's not your job anyway.

Yes, but this is your child. Don't you want to know what's going on? Don't you want to know the adults who are spending time with your child?

Your job might preclude you from coming to school in the daytime, but that's not the only time you can volunteer. Some volunteering can be done from your home.

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Just ask your school principal how you can help. Start small. Set aside one hour per week to become involved in a program that directly affects your child.

The result will be a better understanding of why things work the way they do. Plus, you will get to know your child better.

Don't know where to start? Here are some ideas that you can suggest to the school administrator, teacher or coach. Schools have different policies in regard to parental involvement, so be sure to check those prior to taking on any project.

o In the classroom: Elementary teachers might need help cutting or assembling items for projects. This type of volunteer work is for detailed-oriented people who can meet deadlines. Check with your child's teacher if this sounds like something you could do.

o On the phone: If you don't mind calling people you don't know, perhaps you could volunteer to coordinate a fundraiser or a class party. After the first contact, you could ask for e-mail addresses to streamline this process in the future.

o Athletics: You might not be able to coach, but you can be involved in other ways. Does the field need to be mowed? Does the water jug need to be filled before each game? Who runs the concession stand? Do they need help?

o For the front office: What could you do for the office staff? Does the school collect General Mills Box Tops for Education or Campbell's Soup Labels for Education? Someone needs to count and organize those. Is that something you could do?

o Apply your skills: Are there groups at school that could use your expertise? The math team could use some pointers from someone who works in accounting. Newspaper staff members could benefit from parents who like to write. Students working on science fair projects might enjoy receiving feedback from people who work in the medical field. Educators aren't the only ones who can teach. You have something to offer, too.

However you decide to get involved, enjoy the process, knowing that you are making a difference not only for your child but also for the other children in our community. They are our future, and they are worth the time.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page.

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