10 Tips for Parents

10 Tips For Parents

  1. Get on the radar. Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher(s) at the beginning of the school year. Let them know you’re planning to be involved in your student’s academic life and you’re looking forward to ongoing communication.

  2. Establish the best method for quick contact. Ask the teachers about the best, most timely method for contacting them, and tell them how best to contact you, as well. Options might be email, text messaging, instant messaging, cell phone or home phone.
  3. Attend scheduled school events. Show your involvement by showing up at as many school events as you can, including back to school, open house, holiday events, SPTSO meetings, and especially parent-teacher conferences.
  4. Volunteer. If possible, volunteer a few hours a week or a month in your child’s classroom. Other possibilities include chaperoning field trips, school dances, car washes, fundraisers or other events.
  5. Stay updated on your child’s progress. Ideally, you will be able to see your child’s homework assignments, grades, test scores and progress reports online via an education portal, learning management system, class web site or other digital system set up by the school or district. If this is not available, encourage the school administration to set up an easy to use digital resource, such as classroom web pages. Set up regular times to visit the school and chat with the teacher informally, or check in regularly with friendly emails or phone calls to see how your students is progressing and what you might do to support his or her learning.
  6. Share your expertise. Organize a phone or email tree to parents in your child’s class. Ask parents about their areas of expertise and see if they might be willing to donate some time to help out the school with any needs they might have. For instance, if they have technology skills, they might help them build a web presence. If they have writing skills they might send out regular parent newsletters with updates on what students are doing in class, and what is coming up.
  7. Talk to your child about responsible Internet practices. Every school should have an AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) that’s sent home for parents to sign. Be sure to ask your child about this document, and then sit down with him or her and go over the different elements of the policy to be sure you both understand what is acceptable and safe behavior online.
  8. Spearhead a tutoring or homework help program. Math tutors, writing coaches and adults or older students who can help walk students through their assignments can often be the difference between success and failure.
  9. Help expand classroom resources. Point your child’s teachers to Web resources they’ll find helpful. For instance, there are numerous online tutoring sites (such as Hotmath.com) that offer free or low-cost help in core subjects, and HotChalk.com offers thousands of free, teacher-tested lesson plans in all curricular areas.

  10. Raise funds. In today’s cash-strapped world of education, fundraising can be crucial to schools’ ability to purchase the education resources they need. Beyond traditional methods, such as bake sales, writing and winning grants can mean serious money for technology, digital resources and other 21st century teaching tools. For detailed guidelines on how to write successful grants, visit HotChalk.com