In the next few days, students will be heading back to school, all excited and feeling hopeful about having a great school year, looking forward to the next important milestone in their educational journey. Like never before, parents, the schools and the general community should work together to put the educational welfare of every child front and center, keeping them on the educational pathway to improve their life chances for success. Such a concerted effort will allow all students to thrive, resulting in greater educational outcomes.
Knowing the value of accountability, parents and teachers should get on the same page at the start of this new school year and remain on the same page throughout the year. These positive interactions between the home and school will go a long way in fostering and sustaining student learning and achievement, and just maybe, the students will come to realize there’s fun in learning and achieving. Additionally, the research has found that “when a child knows parents and teachers are regularly working together, the child will see that education is a high priority, requiring commitment and effort.” So, it is imperative for parents to take a more active role in their children’s education on a year-round basis.
Working together, the home and the school must make sure all schools are places where all students feel honored, respected and valued and places that find ways to engage all students in learning, while remembering that students are individuals who “function best when they know the time and place for everything.”
Working together, parents and teachers must continually stress that success depends on “work ethic and scope of our dreams,” believing that if you work hard, you can get ahead. Additionally, the entire community must lend its influence and support in encouraging our young people to value education as a process whereby success comes after much dedication, hard work, and perseverance. With the parents and school working together, it is more likely that our children will remain inspired to work hard in reaching their full potential.
Our children and youth must come to realize there is no magic or easy shortcut to acquiring the knowledge and skills—the education—that will largely determine where they end up in life. Unfortunately, too many of our youth, taking those shortcuts to success, are ending up in prison. So, parents and other student advocates, let’s encourage our children to dream big and to have the fortitude to reach them, removing obstacles to drive, determination and a willingness to work hard.
We must become involved in the academic settings to help mentor and provide academic support to our youth, helping them reclaim their sense of hope, while emphasizing the importance of going to school prepared to work hard and learn. Let’s secure for every child “a shot at a decent future,” letting them know they “can rise beyond where they are in spite of the circumstances.”
Larry Sutton is a retired teacher from Clinton City Schools.