By Dorina Sackman, 2014 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year
At the beginning of each school year, I let my students’ parents know how I feel about educating their children. I tell them that I am happy to make my classroom a second home for students and that I am truly passionate about their success. However, after 15 years in the classroom, I have come to the realization that teachers cannot do it alone.
It is imperative that we increase family/parent involvement in the educational goals of our students. Teachers across our state are working with their schools to increase the amount of year-round community engagement, including adding community service in the curriculum, building partners in education, volunteering, developing education programs for our parents, incorporating after school programs with parent participation, and/or schools partaking in community events.
But we need your help in this journey. I want parents to see their child’s school as a cornerstone of our community, ensuring the empowerment of young minds.
So the question is, “Are you ready to get involved?” Here are five simple ways to start off building a culture of community in your child’s school.
1. Send a quick email to your child’s teachers, letting them know you are interested in your child’s performance at school. Let teachers know the best way and times to reach you and include updated contact information.
2. Attend parent/teacher conferences when scheduled. If you can’t attend in person, ask about other ways to speak with your child’s teachers. With new technology, from Skype to video conferencing, there are many ways we, as teachers, can work with your schedule.
3. Take a few minutes each day to check your child’s planner or folder. This is the best form of communication with a teacher and allows the teacher to see if you are checking your child’s work and homework.
4. Volunteer once this month. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in your child’s school. Even if you volunteer only once this month, it is a reflection of your commitment to your child’s education. Be careful, you might actually LOVE it and get further involved!
5. Commit to attending this month’s school/parent advisory committee meeting. These meetings are filled with vital information for you and your child. Why not attend your school meeting this month and share the information with other parents!
Although it seems very simple, these five things are the first steps in taking the leap to assist teachers in meeting the needs of your child. I believe “incremental is monumental” and this month is a great time to start!