Engaging with your child’s school and why it matters

(5 Minute Read)New Philadelphia, Ohio – As a parent, you want your child to do well in school. You also want your child to be healthy and avoid behaviors that are risky or harmful.

The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition is a great resource for local guidance when it comes to youth substance use prevention. This week the ADC is bringing you quick tips and guidelines from the CDC as it relates to engaging with your child’s school and why it matters.

Through your guidance and support, you can have a great influence on your child’s health and learning. One way you can show your support is by being involved in your child’s school. Research shows that when parents and school staff work together, students are healthier and more successful in school.

What is parent engagement in schools?

Parent engagement in schools is defined as parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents. (For this discussion of parent engagement, “parent” refers to the adult primary caregiver(s) of a child’s basic needs [e.g., feeding, safety]. Adult primary caregivers
include biological parents; other biological relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or siblings; and nonbiological parents such as adoptive, foster, or stepparents.)

Why is it important for you to engage in your child’s school?
Studies have shown that students who have parents engaged in their school lives are more likely to have
• Higher grades and test scores.
• Better student behavior.
• Enhanced social skills.

In addition, students who have parents engaged in their school lives are less likely to
• Smoke cigarettes.
• Drink alcohol.
• Become pregnant.
• Be physically inactive.

Action 1:

Advocate for your school to support parent engagement.
• Ask the school if there are a vision and mission statement or an action plan for parent engagement.
• Talk with teachers and staff to suggest simple changes that can make the school a more pleasant and welcoming place for parents.

Action 2:

Take advantage of the support schools to provide to parents.
• Ask whether your child’s school or school district provides—or could offer—programs or classes to help you
become more involved in your child’s academic and school life.
• Suggest topics for classes the school or school district might offer, such as the following:
➤ Understanding child and adolescent development.
➤ Praising and rewarding desirable health behaviors.
➤ Talking with children about health-related risks and behaviors.
Action 3

Communicate consistently with the school and read the information it provides to you.
• Read school newsletters, attend parent-teacher-student conferences, and check out the school’s Web site to learn what is going on at the school, and encourage your child to participate.
• Meet regularly with your child’s teachers to discuss his or her grades, behavior, and accomplishments.
• Offer to share important aspects of your culture with your child’s class.
• If your first language is not English, ask for materials that are translated into the language you speak at home, and ask for interpreters to help you at school events.

More information can be found by visiting adctusc.org or theCDC.

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