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School Improvement Begins at Home

Helping your child succeed is the first step toward improving your school.

By GreatSchools Staff

Finding time to help improve your child's school can seem impossible if, like most parents, you are already scrambling to help with homework, read with your child and pack healthy lunches. The good news is that all of the things you do to help your child do well in school also help improve the school.

Helping your child succeed helps the school in several ways:

Improve the school's test scores. Your child is likely to do better academically if he comes to school rested and fed, completes his homework regularly and reads each night. Successful schools are those with successful students. This means that as your child's performance improves, he boosts the success of the school.

Help your child's teacher focus on learning. Her teacher's job will be easier if she arrives at school ready to learn. Teachers can focus more on teaching and learning when students' other needs are met. Teachers appreciate when parents help students follow through with homework, reading and developing study skills at home, too.

Encourage your child's teacher to do his best. Paying attention to the school side of your child's education also makes the school better. Parents who know what their children should learn and be able to do in each grade help hold schools and teachers accountable. Also, when teachers know parents appreciate their efforts and care about education, they are inspired to do their best.

Build your credibility. If you are considering taking a parent leadership role at your school or launching a school improvement project, being actively involved with your child's education has an added benefit. Your efforts are more likely to be taken seriously if school staff members know you are competent, involved and reliable.

Comments from readers

"I work in a school district where my job is to send information home to parents who have requested information on certain topics, why is it that I cannot find a wealth of information translated in Spanish to send home to my non English speaking parents. I found on your site that not all your topics are translated where I can print everything and you have some good information but as I clicked on topics I needed they were not all English/Spanish translated why?"
"I'm involved in an issue with my local school district not allowing the students to take their tests home to review with their parents or seek help and guidance on their tests at the high schools. The school(s) require the parent to make an appointment to meet with the teacher to review the exam, but I'm still not allowed to take the test home with me to work with my child in the privacy of my own home. I find this a fatal flaw in our schools policy. The schools have become a marketing machine. The web site 'You are you child's best teacher'. I also find that the schools are begging us to get involved with our childs learning process. How can we when they are holding back vital information from us. Your thoughts? And is this a common practice around the country?"
"Its nice to see an article put emphasis on the parents' role in school improvment. So often I hear parents complain about the poor state of our educational systme, but they do nothing at home to close the gaps. If your school needs improvement work to get the things your school needs, but accept that it is up to you to ensure your child gets a quality education and the best place to do this is at home."