We both work fulltime during school hours. How can we get involved as school
Parental involvement is of crucial
importance, both to an individual child's attitudes and academic performance,
and to the improvement of the school as a whole. But parents are busy. How to
be the most effective in the least amount of available time? Ideas:
goal of offering three hours of your time to your child's school this year.
That's on top of monitoring homework, attending parent-teacher conferences and
going to performances, science fairs, art shows, sporting events, and the like.
Just contact your child's teacher, the principal or the parent group, and be
clear about your constraints when you offer your time. They may assign you to
the welcome table at Open House or the clean-up crew after the school carnival;
those are both important tasks and your gift of time will be most welcome!
of ways your unique set of interests and skills might come in handy at school.
Think of ways to support your child's favorite subjects and strengths. Then
make your call, either to your child's teacher or to a counselor, coach or
flexible! Ask for jobs you can do on your own time, at home and online, as well
as during school hours at the school building. Here are ways that your skills
can match involvement:
Educational: read stories, brainstorm at a
writer's workshop, give simple assessments, coach a group giving a
presentation, supply costumes for a play
Clerical: cut out shapes for a bulletin board, plastic-comb bind student stories
into books, collate handouts, type a student directory, proofread the student
handbook, bulk-mail the school newsletter, shred tests.
Construction: build a shelf, paint a door, fix
cupboard hinges, remove gum from carpet, "undrip" a faucet, repair floor tiles.
Landscaping: learning and service come together
in the development of a school garden or school club to do regular plant care:
good for science, history, art and writing projects.
Finance: write a grant proposal, keep books
for the PTA, run concessions at a weekend sports tournament.
Leadership: guest speaker at Career Day, coach
a team of students related to your profession such as a mock trial or junior
detective group, host a field trip to your place of business, raise money for a
weight room or to send journalism or debate students to a national contest.
Political: Form a cost-cutting or lobbying
parents' committee, or research action group.
Homework: A school can really help attract
volunteers by having a list of well-defined volunteer job descriptions. See
this helpful article on creative
ideas for getting and giving help.