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Parental engagement is vital for student success

30 August 2019

On behalf of the Secondary Section of Delia School of Canada, welcome to the 2019 – 2020 school year!

The beginning of a new school year results in the reinstating of some well-rehearsed routines and provides an opportunity to for new routines to be established.  As we enter the new school year, I ask parents to consider the role that they play in their child’s education.  One of the most important processes for student academic success and well-being is parental engagement, something that statistically tends to drop off as students grow older and enter the higher grades.  However, parental engagement – parents and teachers sharing responsibility for assisting the students in meeting their educational goals – is vital at all grade levels because it is the most accurate predictor of student success.  The extent to which parents encourage learning at home and involve themselves in their child’s education is the one of the best indicators of student success.   Research studies have consistently shown that there is a strong connection between parental involvement and student academic achievement (Hill & Tyson, 2009).  In families where parents are engaged in their child’s education students are more engaged and participate more in classroom learning activities; score better on assessments; have better social skills; develop self-confidence and motivation to learn (Wairimu, Macharia, & Muirua, 2016); and are less likely to have low self-esteem.  

Recognizing the importance of parental engagement, parents often ask how they can become more engaged in their child’s education.  It begins with communication.  Just as teachers provide parents and guardians with information about the student’s learning, parents have important knowledge of and insights into their child that the teacher may not be aware of.  As an integral part of a team to support student learning, parents are encouraged to share with teachers information and insights not just at the beginning but throughout the year by maintaining ongoing communication with the teachers.  Shared, two way communication between home and school is important and highly valued.

Communication with the child is equally important.  Parents are encouraged to speak daily with their child about their day at school.  One place to start this conversation is reviewing with the child learning activities and assignments on Google Classroom.  Not only does this provide parents and guardians with a view into their child’s daily school activities, it also allows for the early identification of struggles that the child may be experiencing.  Parents are in the best position to recognize when there may be a problem; the earlier the teacher is made aware of any concerns, the earlier these can be addressed.

Taking part in School activities is another way for parents to be involved in their child’s school life.  Report Card Conferences provide an important forum for sharing information.  Other calendar events such as Teacher and Curriculum Information Evening and the University Fairs provide parents the opportunity to gather information related to their child’s educational goals.  Workshops specifically targeted towards parents presented by Guidance, the Inclusive Education Specialists, the ICT Educational Specialists provide parents with information and strategies to support their child at home.  Parental involvement is not limited to academic-related areas; events such as the annual Drama Production and Nuit Noire as well as varsity team games are another way for parents to have a glimpse into the extracurricular side of school life and be engaged by coming out and being part of the school community.

Parental engagement is vital for student success at any age and in all grade levels.  I look forward to collaborating with you this school year as we work together in supporting your child’s learning.