Of all the ingredients that go into the successful education of our children, parental involvement is the most important. A student can overcome almost any obstacle with in-depth parental involvement. Parental involvement is the essence of reaping what you sow. If a parent does not give anything up front, the parent does not get anything back and the child suffers.

Communities in Schools serves as a connection between home and school. Research suggests that two obstacles interfere with parental involvement:

• School activities to develop and maintain partnerships with families decline with each grade level and drop dramatically at the middle grades.

• Teachers often think that low-income and single parents will not or cannot spend as much time helping their children at home as do middle-class parents with more education and leisure time.

When parents come to school regularly, the idea that school and home are connected is reinforced for the child. The research also suggests that parents need specific information on how to help and what to do for their children.

Decades of research show that when parents are involved, students have:

• Higher grades, test scores and graduation rates;

• Better school attendance;

• Increased motivation and better self-esteem;

• Lower rates of suspension;

• Decreased use of drugs and alcohol; and

• Fewer instances of violent behavior.

Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. The more intensely parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effect. With guidance and support, parents will become increasingly involved in home learning activities and find themselves with opportunities to teach, be models for and guide their children. Central Middle, Weis Middle and Ball High schools all sponsored parent involvement days this month.

National African American Parent Involvement Day is a national call to action to get African-American parents more involved in their children’s education. This national observance should open up dialogue among teachers, parents and students, which will lead to a more conducive learning environment for African-American students from kindergarten through college. One of the main purposes of National African American Parent Involvement Day was to eliminate students’ achievement gap by getting parents involved.

School-age children spend 70 percent of their waking hours outside of school. The earlier in a child’s educational process parent involvement begins, the more powerful the effects. The most effective forms of parent involvement are those which engage parents in working directly with their children on learning activities at home. Eighty-six percent of the general public believes that support from parents is the most important way to improve the schools. Lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools. If we could get more Galveston County parents involved, we would not have six schools receiving “improvement required” ratings from the Texas Education Agency.

Communities in Schools connects parents with schools by promoting parent involvement days in children’s education, promoting and providing strategies for parents and students to take full advantage of the educational process at all levels, and offering educational workshops, seminars and institutes relating to parental involvement and eliminating the achievement gap and socioeconomic gaps.

Parents who read to their children, have books available, take trips, guide TV watching and provide stimulating experiences contribute to student achievement.

Galveston area parents, please be involved with your children’s education. Communities in Schools of Galveston County invites you to join us in supporting your children.

Connie Hebert retired as the principal of Central Middle School in Galveston.

(5) comments

JBG JBG

Seems like Ms. Hebert is on to something with the substance of this article. "Parental Involvement Is The Key To Education!" "She said of all the ingredients that goes into the successful education of our children, Parental involvement is the most important" That was the first thing she said.
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I don't think I would go so far as to say the same, though I would agree that "parental involvement ranks right up there. My understanding of the organization she is involved with call "Communities In Schools" ( CIS ) is that they makes a concerted effort to serve as mediators between the households of students and the schools which students attend.
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She goes on to make the points that many times partnerships between the schools and the families of students,...acting on peripheral things benefiting students, decline with each grade level and drop off dramatically at the middle school level.
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She attests to facts that a solid partnership facilitated between the the parents and schools gives great compensation for spent efforts! Research shows with these kind of partnerships in force, students earn better grades, better test scores, better graduation rates, have better school attendance, increased self-esteem and have fewer instances of violent behavior problems while at school!
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She made her case with me right here. I've seen up close what CIS can do in the HOUSTON SCHOOLS, ( HARRIS COUNTY ),...they are worth their weight in PLATINUM & GOLD,... and the way Ms. Connie Hebert is talking,...CIS is wanting to have the same effect in Galveston County!
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BTW, the most important ingredient I think needed here in the success of a student, is "student willingness" to want to learn. Oh I understand the talking points, but the old saying, "you can lead a horse to water but you cannot force him to drink" looms great, especially in today's generation. Even so, I must join Ms. Hebert in endorsing Communities In Schools! They really care,..and will get involved to make sure children have the opportunity to get what they come after, a quality education. I won't say more than that, because that takes in a lot of territory,...and Mr. Hebert or CIS representatives should be the ones who elaborate on the boundaries of what things they can do,..and how far they can go.
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An example of parental involvement,...I watch a clip this morning on channel 11, where 75 parents slept all night in the COLD WEATHER trying to procure one of 45 vacant spots at Barbara Bush Elementary School Pre-K program in Houston ISD!
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It is obvious, some of these parents braved the bone chilling weather for nothing,..but this shows love, commitment, foresight, ohhhh and PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT! [wink]

George Croix

POSITIVE parental involvement, is, I'm sure, what ya'll are talking about.
The things that build good character, manners, and respect.
A big Amen to that.

Lord knows there's way too much 'negaitive' parental influence...
In some cases, it would be better for them to just do nothing than to demonstrate openly how to go wrong.

Kevin Lang

If the parents can't be directly involved, they should at least be indirectly involved enough to make sure their kids are taking their studies and their behavior seriously. Just because you don't have the competency to drill your kids on their math assignments, or discuss their history or English lessons doesn't mean that you can't at least make sure they understand how important it is to learn. Make sure they know you care and that you expect them to be a good citizen in school as well as a good student.

JBG JBG

I agree 201% with Mr. Lang!! I know....I know, we don't agee that often but truth is truth and he just spoke a mouth full of it!!!!!

Lars Faltskog

Well, really, what this guest columnist wrote is a no-brainer. Yes, the more parent involvement very likely yields a child who will get the most from his/her education.

Lack of involvement poses a bigger challenge to the teachers to try to get the children motivated. What doesn't sit quite as well with me, however, is the notion of the National African American Parent Invovlement program mentioned. Although that seems to be a great program to have, I think the article short-sighted the great Latino growth in Galveston proper. I would think these programs ought to be all-encompassing to each child, regardless of his/her origin. After all, we have children who exist who happen to not be African-American, or perhaps a "mix" of African-American and another race. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the goal to have a "free education" regardless of race or background? Would a White, Asian, or Latino family be turned away from an African American Parental invovlement meeting at a school? I would want school leaders to make efforts to welcome ALL groups. By the way, I've noticed many school staff members (not just in Galveston) make no effort to learn a little Spanish in order to communicate better with parents and their children. Especially the older staff members/teachers/administrators. What's up with that? I have heard of schools that require ALL teaching staff (and administrators) to have an ELL (formerly ESL teaching credential). IMHO, that should be a more recurring requirement, given the changes in ethnicity we've experienced through the decades, and especially here in Galveston since after Ike.

It just seems as though programs that are touted that are designated for just one race falls short on the big picture that in our city we have a lot of second-English language folks who, by their "wrong" racial make-up, can't benefit from such a program. It seems as Galveston might want to make more strides in more encompassing programs. I didn't read one mention of Latino students in this article.

Heaven knows that just about all parents (regardless of racial make-up) should make more effort to be involved in their children's education. I simply don't see banners saying "African American Parental Involvement Meeting - Tuesday at 7PM" as all-encompassing. In turn, neither would simply a Spanish-worded banner be that encompassing neither.

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