How Parents Can Make a Difference at School

kids study groupMy years as a school secretary taught me many things. For instance, I learned that when I had a child in the office feeling sick or hurt, having a sibling pop in on his way to recess was very comforting. I learned that kids who came to school tired or hungry just didn’t have all that great a day. And I learned that committed parents can really make a difference in their child’s school.

Over my 28 years at Hawthorne School there were a huge array of parent volunteers and school supporters. I’m proud to say that the climate at Hawthorne School was very welcoming to parents, with teachers, administration and the office staff all understanding the importance of creating that climate.

The Parent Advisory Council (PAC) was, and is, very active at Hawthorne. It’s my premise that people become involved when they feel welcome and know they are contributing to the good of the whole. Over the years, PAC undertook an amazing array of activities that improved the school experience for the students.

Each year PAC’s fundraising efforts took on epic proportions. Beginning with a pumpkin sale in the fall and ending with the annual Celebration of Children and the Arts in the spring, a hefty number of man-hours were invested by the parents involved.

Some of the numerous projects funded by this energetic fundraising were new playground equipment, artists-in-residence, field trips, classroom projects, a school garden, planting of playground trees, art supplies for classrooms, new computers, and the list goes on. Each and every child benefited from the concerted efforts of the Hawthorne PAC.

Outside of the framework of PAC many parents contributed time and talent on an individual basis. Parent classroom helpers were abundant and they filled various roles such as reading assistants, art class mentors, student journal editors, class photographers, computer lab helpers, etc. And in the office, I had my own little group of volunteers who saved the day more than once.

My point in mentioning all of these things is to reassure you that no matter how much or how little time you have to give to your child’s school, it will make a difference and it most certainly will be appreciated.

Kids Health has a nice article on some of the many benefits of being involved at your child’s school and a concise list of ways to be involved. Check it out for some great ideas.

You’ll probably also want to read this article on School Family. Once again you will find a list of ideas to jump start your plan for being involved and making a difference at your child’s school.

As you look around the web, there are many stories of inspiration regarding the changes that can come about when parents are involved at school. Don’t underestimate the impact you can make by volunteering at school. And don’t second guess that your child’s teacher probably doesn’t need the half hour of time you can give each week or each month.

Just ask and you’ll be amazed at how clever that teacher is at putting your proffered time to good use. Just ask and just do it. The benefits to your child, the school and yourself are boundless.

In closing I came across this quote that says it all:

“Parent involvement in education is like the frosting on a cupcake,
it makes it complete and oh so sweet.”


I hope you have a wonderful week. Please visit again sometime soon.


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