Betsy Landers

Betsy occupies the highest office in PTA as National PTA President. Landers is quick to point out that the real power of PTA lies at the local level and plans to make a “back to basics” approach cornerstone of her tenure as National PTA President. read bio

7 Secrets for Getting Involved at Your Child’s School

Research shows that parent involvement in schools has multiple positive impacts: student success increases, along with teacher morale and overall school quality. It’s like the secret ingredient in the recipe for educational success! So how can you become a part of making a difference for your children and your community?

1. Think outside the box

There are many ways to volunteer at school. Do you have an interesting job? Is your heritage from another culture? Your life experience might be a wonderful complement to the curriculum at some point in the year, giving your child’s teacher a fresh new tool for illustrating a lesson. Let your teacher know that you’d be willing to share if needed.

[Start an iMOM Morning at Your Child’s School]

2. Get organized

Particularly for working parents, it’s important to know ahead of time about dates for school events, field trips and other opportunities to be a part of what the class is doing. Ask for those dates and get them on your calendar so you can plan to be available.

3. Collaborate with other parents

Get to know the other parents in your child’s class and toss around ideas for assisting the teacher or adding to the resources available. Often, the best ideas come together over a cup of coffee with a little brainstorming. Run those fresh ideas by the teacher to get input on which would be most helpful and how to make it happen.

4. Poll the kids

After all, your children are in the classroom every day, and their powers of observation are often better than we think. By listening to their reports of what’s going on at school, you can pick up on opportunities to lend a hand, or enhance a current program or class project.

5. See the big picture

Sometimes volunteer opportunities exist in areas that serve the entire school, rather than your child’s particular class. Helping out in the cafeteria, the playground or the front office can have an impact on everyone, and provide support to school personnel beyond classroom teachers.

6. Be flexible

Sometimes what your child’s school needs is not a thing you find particularly exciting or inspiring. But your willingness to pitch in, even on the less glamorous tasks is a great way to build relationships with the key players in their education and boost the morale of the faculty. The little things can have a big impact!

7. Meet your child’s teacher(s) early in the year and communicate often

Establishing that relationship with the teacher is key to learning about opportunities for involvement. Let teachers know that you are willing to help, and what specific skills you possess that might be useful (computer skills, art skills, etc.).

[5 Keys to a Great Parent Teacher Conference]

[7 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher]

By volunteering at your child’s school, you can make this school year a success from start to finish!

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