Think your attendance record at your child’s school could use a boost? There are plenty of ways – big and small – to increase your parental involvement in school. Here are a few ideas gathered from PTO Today, Project Appleseed and local sources. (Note: Find even more ideas at SchoolFamily.com.)
Basic ways to get involved
1. Go to parent-teacher conferences. While they’re not the only time you should swing in, they’re still crucial. Many schools now offer “curriculum night” open houses to give mom and dad a fuller taste of their kids’ school day.
2. Hit a few meetings and events. Even if you’re not a PTA or PTO devotee, stopping by keeps you in the loop. Family nights and dinners afford casual face-time with educators and other parents. Don’t forget school board meetings, too.
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3. Read the newsletter. It’ll often clue you in to volunteer opportunities, whether in class or after school hours.
4. Talk to the teachers. Odds are good they need help with something, such as cutting out materials for a project. If you have a knack for something, let him or her know; there may be a need to build new shelves, or a demonstration by an artist, to name a couple.
A bit more parental involvement
5. Chaperone a field trip. It’s a classic method that gets you into the school and, typically, there’s ample notice to plan a day off of work.
6. Offer to judge a school competition, whether a spelling bee or science fair.
7. Present at a career day. Lets you share your talents and scope out the school, too.
Going a bit beyond
8. Start an after-school club. Collaborate with administration to find out where students need a boost – math and health could be examples. Or how about reading? Board games? Outdoor survival skills?
9. Join a committee or council. Give your direct two cents. But if founding a group, beware single-issue causes, like uniforms in schools; the staying-power is slim.
10. Roll out a welcome mat. Whether it’s a “parent lounge” or an open-door policy, work with schools to draw other parents. One school even installed 10 washing machines and two driers, says Kevin Walker of Project Appleseed: “They would sic the teachers on those parents they had not seen for a long time.” Even Saturday morning breakfasts can do the trick.
This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2017.