How to get involved in your child's education

August 31, 2011
  • Kostadinka "Kay" Papeskov helps her daughters, Ornella Provard, 4, left, and B'Elana Provard, 6, with study while making dinner at their Hagerstown home.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

Washington County Public Schools officials offered the following advice for ways parents can be involved in their children’s education:

• Make sure the child arrives at school ready to learn. That includes getting them to school, unless the child is sick. Students should be well-rested and ready to learn. A hungry child won’t pay attention in class. If parents cannot provide breakfast before school, breakfast is available at every school except for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. Ingram students can get breakfast at their home schools before taking the bus to the arts school.

• Encourage children to do their homework. Check to make sure homework is done, especially in the case of younger children who are still developing good habits. Many schoolchildren have assignment books that contain their homework assignments so parents should check those. School officials also suggest asking students what they are doing in class on the next school day.

• Encourage children to read at home. If they are young, read with them. If they are older, ask them about what they are reading. Reading is fundamental to learning so if children don’t have homework, encourage them to read novels or newspapers.

• Each day, talk to children about what they learned in school. Go beyond the initial broad question because some will say “Nothing.” Ask what they learned in specific classes such as English, math and science. What’s the best thing they did or the most important thing they learned?

 Connect with the child’s school by volunteering or getting involved in school activities. Attend back-to-school events and join groups such as PTAs and academic or athletic booster clubs. Volunteer to help in the classroom, prepare classroom materials, chaperone a trip, or do administrative tasks such as answering phones and copying materials.

• Stay in touch with the child’s teacher. Talk to the teacher to establish how the two of you will communicate, whether it’s through the student’s planner, through email or on the phone.

• Check the child’s progress meeting skill goals. Washington County Public Schools has the website Performance Matters, through which parents can register to check on how their child is doing. Parents can check a student’s grades, scores on past state assessment tests and their success at meeting skill goals. How students are doing with certain skills, goals that are set locally, is updated about every six weeks or so.

Checking this website can give parents an idea of the skill areas for which a child needs extra help and whether the child is reading at, below or above grade level.

For high school students, it can contain information about a student’s grade-point average, class schedule and performance on college-readiness tests such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT.

Source: Washington County Public Schools

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