Be an active, present, participating parent

wendy-johnson-13A new school year has started and the end of the first quarter is fast approaching. Ideally, the best approach when school starts is to monitor your child’s academic performance each week and ask them how things are going at school. As a parent, you should know what is going on at all times.

Yes, I know that can be difficult; however, you should take the appropriate steps to “stay in the mix.” By now, you should know all of your child’s teachers’ names and school email addresses, the next parent-teacher conference date, when your child has homework, what areas they need assistance with, if they are missing any assignments, who their friends are, who’s their best friend, their social media presence, etc.

Family Enjoying Day In ParkThese are all important things you need to know. Being an active, present and participating parent is critical to your child’s overall academic and personal success. With that said, you cannot automatically assume that everything is “okay” because your child has not expressed concern about anything or because you have not heard from the school.

Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Essentially, it is your job to help your child navigate through this bumpy road called life. Even kids that are doing well in school need to know that you are mentally and physically present.

Kids may act like it is not a “big deal” if you do not attend certain school meetings or events or programs they are involved in. However, I am here to tell you that every child wants a parent that is engaged and present. So…with that said, if you have not taken time to get involved, the time is now! It is not too late.

Step up and become actively involved. Make sure the school knows who you are, how to contact you, etc. When my daughter was in school, they knew when I walked in the building. As soon as I signed in and received the visitor’s nametag, I oftentimes heard the person call the office telling them I was on my way down.

I made sure I had a voice, knew the principal, and attended various meetings. My child’s teachers knew me by name, and they all had my direct contact information.

Now that you have decided to get involved, here are a few tips to help you with this process.

  1. Show interest in your child’s education. Ask them questions about their homework, how things are going at school and ask them to tell you a little bit about each of their teachers.
  2. Have a positive attitude and take a collaborative approach when discussing your child’s education. You and the school must work together.
  3. Meet all of your child’s teachers and the various administrators and obtain their email addresses. Let them know they can contact you anytime.
  4. Become familiar with the school calendar of events and navigate the district’s website.
  5. Know the district’s strategic plan and the areas they plan to focus on for this year.
  6. If your child is struggling in a certain subject and needs a tutor, ask the school how they can assist. Inquire about the various services and programs they offer.
  7. Join a committee, volunteer, get involved in some capacity and attend parent-teacher conferences.
  8. Get to know some of the other parents. You never know who knows whom and how others can assist you.
  9. Reading is fundamental — encourage your children to read and reduce their amount of social media and Internet time.
  10. Encourage positive, open communication; ask your child to let you and the teacher know (immediately) if they need assistance. Strive to stay ahead of all challenges.

So, get involved and help your child have a rewarding, successful school year!


Dr. Wendy Johnson is the president and founder of the National Empowerment Group, Inc. a nonprofit organization that empowers women and girls. She has experience in the education and corporate sectors.