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What Are the Benefits of Parent Involvement in Schools?

by Shelley Frost

Your schedule is busy, but taking time to connect with your child's school benefits her in many ways. Parent involvement ranges from staying on top of what's going on at school to joining the PTA and volunteering in the classroom. Even high-quality teachers need the support from parents to improve student achievement.

School Success

According to a research synthesis performed by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, family involvement improves a student's success in school regardless of other factors, such as economic level, race or ethnicity. The possible benefits include a higher GPA, better test scores, taking more challenging classes and passing more classes. Kids benefit even more when parents support learning at home continuously with higher levels of involvement. While general involvement, such as volunteering or communicating with teachers, may help, involvement with a direct relationship to learning tends to support great school success. Examples include supporting your child's work on a school project or playing a literacy game with a young child.

Behavior

The SEDL synthesis report notes specific behavioral benefits for a student when his parents are involved in his education. Family involvement often improves attendance, which means the student doesn't miss out on valuable class time. He may adapt better at school and learn better social skills. Overall behavior -- both at home and at school -- often improves with family involvement. The improved behavior supports academic achievement since poor attendance and frequent behavior problems distract the student and make it difficult to learn.

Motivation

Parent involvement may boost student motivation and improve self-esteem, according to the Michigan Department of Education. A parent who is positively involved provides the tools and support necessary to encourage his child to perform well. Involvement shows your child that you take an interest in his performance. Your child sees that you are taking an active role in his education and hold him to certain standards.

School Quality

Parents offer a different perspective when it comes to education quality. While teachers are the experts in the field, parents see how their children respond and learn. When schools fail to provide a quality education, parents have the power to demand change. By voicing concerns, parents let the administrators know what changes need to be made. According to the SEDL, schools in low-income areas in particular can benefit from parents and the community organizing to inspire change that benefits the kids.

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