Have you ever thought about all the people and processes that work together to make a school a healthy, stable environment for learning? Teachersand administrators work tirelessly to provide students with a strong education, sense of discipline, and respect for knowledge. But schools function best when they belong to communities of interested, involved individuals and families.

You can bring a lot to a school in the form of your energy, time, ideas, or donations. Here are some ways to get started using your skills and resources to help your local school.

  1. Join the club.

    The PTA, home and school club, or school site council are key organizations. Being a part of any of these groups will also help to connect you with other parents and community members. Call the school secretary for contact information.

  2. Attend school board meetings.

    You will have the opportunity to provide your input as well as get an inside view on how the school board makes decisions that affect your community’s schools.

  3. Give a boost to a school club.

    In the era of “no extras” in education, your school’s enrichment programs can probably use a little help. If your child is involved with any clubs or activities at school, call the person in charge of the group and see if you can help with transportation, supplies, or planning.

  4. Get technical.

    If you have strong computer skills, such as Web site creation or network administration, see if your school needs help setting up a computer system or maintaining or upgrading the equipment they already have.

  5. Share your time and talents.

    Teachers often need parent volunteers to help with small-group activities, reading to children, or correcting papers. Are you a fabulous chef or a craft whiz? Volunteer to give students a classroom demonstration of how to make an exotic dish or a creative holiday gift.

  6. Organize a workplace tour.

    Do you work for a company that would be an interesting place for a field trip? Suggest a class visit to your office.

  7. Start a cleanup crew.

    Are crushed soda cans and scrap paper the primary decor on campus? Why not designate one Saturday in the spring “School Cleanup Day”? Include parents, students, teachers, and any community members who want to help. Participants will feel a sense of ownership and will be less likely to ignore litter in the future.

  8. Nurture your green thumb.

    Have you noticed that the school grounds could use some work? Talk to the principal or PTA about gathering a group of parents to plant trees or flowers in a few spots around the school.

  9. Be in the driver’s seat.

    Teachers often need parents to drive or chaperone on school field trips.

  10. Volunteer at the school library.

    Most schools, short on funds to hire librarians, rely on parent help to keep the library open for students. Offer to check out or shelve books, assist students, or donate money to buy books for the library.