DODDS-Pacific back to school: Schools inviting more parent involvement
August 27, 2006
Parental involvement is critical to a student’s education, so much so that Congress added encouraging parental participation as one of the National Educational Goals for the Department of Education.
“Parents are important stakeholders and serve as an integral part of the entire education process,” said Charles Steitz, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific and Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools-Guam spokesman.
At the schools, parents can stop in for a visit, get involved with extracurricular activities or volunteer to serve on committees.
“We encourage parents to contact teachers and visit classrooms to share, support and celebrate the learning experiences of their children,” Steitz said.
Parents can join the School Advisory Council, an elected teacher and parent group that helps guide school policies; Parent Teacher Organizations, similar panels that can select and fund projects; and school booster clubs, which help raise money.
There also are volunteering opportunities in classrooms and with extracurricular activities.
At home, parents can play an important role by helping students with assignments, communicating with them every day, listening to their frustrations, worries and concerns, and applauding their achievements, Steitz said.
“During the school year, parents should encourage their children to get plenty of rest, set their alarm clock so they won’t be rushed in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, get to school on time, and do their very best,” Steitz said. “Parents can also play a significant and critical role by monitoring their child’s Internet activity.”
Ikego Elementary School, at the Ikego Housing Area near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, provides parents tips on its Web site to help their children’s success:
Communicate with teachers.Ask about the child’s day with open ended questions.Establish a study time and place at home.Read to a child every day for 20 minutes or more.Deployed parents can also be involved at some schools via the Interactive Counseling Center, a communication tool between deployed servicemembers and school officials created by the Military Child Education Coalition.
Locally, the Interactive Counseling Center is available at Kadena High School, Zama American High School and Seoul American High School, according to the coalition. Visit www.interactivecounselingcenter. org/index.html for information.