Back to School: Parent Edition

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Take one step into any of the big box stores, and you know the time has come: Back to School.    By now, you have probably consulted your child’s school checklist. But one item might have escaped you: the parent checklist. I’m not referencing all of you who prepare your child for school success by instilling bedtime, reading together, and fueling up the minions with a nutritious breakfast. I speak of true parental involvement, which has long been touted as a key predictor for both student and school success. Whether you have mere moments or loads of time, you can make an impact.

No Time: We are all busy people – it happens. Maybe you’re starting a new job, welcoming a new baby, or facing another life circumstance indicating that now simply isn’t the right time. If resources allow, make a donation. Your teacher likely has a classroom wish list, as will your school or PTO. The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation supports students and teachers alike through grants and scholarships. Or, visit www.donorchoose.org, a website completely dedicated to matching donors with teacher and school needs. You can sort by school, district, city, state, need, or project. Invest in what matters to you. Your gifts may even be tax deductible.

1 minute: Make a resolution to read Skyward newsletters and alerts. While you’re at it, commit to checking Angel a bit more often and reading classroom newsletters as well.

5 minutes: Take it up a notch and search out your school on Facebook. And the PTO. And the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation. And the band, drama club, football team or any other activity in which your child might be involved. ‘Like’ them. It is the simplest way to receive current, relevant information.

10 minutes: Explore the district home page: www.hse.k12.in.us. Investigate enrollment numbers, test scores, and hot topics. Acquiring information is a critical step in becoming involved, and the website is a goldmine. When and why does HSE need another school, referendum, or enrichment program? Stay in the know. Who knows – one day you might feel compelled to write a legislator or two.

30 minutes: Load your school’s calendar into your personal schedule. You’ll minimize future appointment conflicts if you have back-to-school night, parent teacher conferences, and school holidays handy.

1 hour: Join your PTO or booster club. Many of the volunteer committees and events are one and done – you can make a difference and move on.

5 hours or more: You can offer the gift of time – an invaluable resource. Think about the layers of our school community and what fits your skills and interests. Teachers often utilize classroom volunteers. Don’t forget about those specials teachers – most school librarians can use a little assistance from parents. Looking for more of a leadership role? Let your principal know. Consider chairing a PTO committee or serving on a textbook review.  Even the district offices recruit parents for planning committees like technology.

Whether you’re giddy about supplies, nervous about a new year, or gleeful to have somewhere to send the kids, don’t forget that the most important resource your student and our schools have is you. Tackle this entire list, and you’re sure to earn an A+ for the year.

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