TONYA HERTEL:Parent involvement impacts students in many ways


(Editor’s note: The following is a column written by Mobridge-Pollock Lakota Education Director Tonya Hertel.)

One of the best investments a parent can give to their family is involvement. It does not matter how much money you have or what kind of education you have, the whole family will benefit from you being involved.

Family involvement can mean asking our children, “How was school today?” or “Do you have any homework today?” It can mean volunteering in the classroom or a school activity, reading a book together, attending or volunteering at a fundraising event, sharing a story of when you were younger or about your culture and attending parent-teacher conferences or family fun nights. These things are all simple. Our actions will show our children that we value education, their future and our families.

Research shows that children who have families involved in their education and community have higher grades and score higher on tests, have better attendance, higher graduation rates, are more likely to attend college, have less behavior problems and higher self-esteem. The more intensely we are involved in our children’s education, the greater our children’s achievements.

Our children yearn for parent involvement no matter what age they are. Research also shows that our children want us to be more involved and want to have more conversations about school and their homework. Family involvement reassures our children that school and family are connected and are both important.

Our community is also responsible for investing time and energy into our children. It is important that businesses and organizations play a role by providing services and resources for our families and share their skills with our children.

Educators and school administrators need to make sure we are communicating effectively with our families, fostering family involvement in the school district and acknowledging family diversity. The school district can prepare staff and faculty for family involvement by offering opportunities for partnership and providing professional development workshops. Not everyone grows up with the same cultural background, using the same language or having the same family dynamics.

What it boils down to is communication. Talk with our children and make time for them. Talk with our teachers and administrators. Talk with our community members and leaders. Let’s put our minds together and make a difference, get involved.

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