Positive Parental Involvement is Powerful!
It has long been known that positive parental involvement plays a significant role in student achievement. But, just what does that mean in a Catholic School? Each of our schools in the Diocese of Reno requires volunteer parent hours in some shape or form. While these are extremely important to the success of our schools, is there more?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes that the parents are the first teachers of children. All of our Diocese of Reno Catholic schools have handbooks that address the role of parents in the schools, but, as the first educator of their children, there are strategies that parents can incorporate that will truly partner with the school and support many areas of student achievement. These areas can be applicable for students in all schools. Primarily, there are a few basic areas of support:
Faith: do you as a family pray together and worship together? Do you model faith in your own life? As much as listening to what we say, our children watch what we do. How do you handle conflict?
Physical: while a home doesn’t need to be a mansion, in fact some of the happiest homes are the most humble, is there a semblance of order in your home? Do children have healthy food, time for sleep, adequate health care, including periodic dental, vision and hearing checks, and reliable and involved supervision? Do children have time to play?
Academics: have you communicated to your children that success in education is a priority in your home? Modest people I have known have voiced some of the most profound statements regarding the importance of education. Even students in our Catholic schools recognize the value of academic achievement. In fact, they appreciate the challenges and subsequent success it will afford.
If your child is struggling academically, are you aware of how to help? It is best to go directly to the teacher to begin to strategize to support your child. The teacher can help, and don’t forget, parents are never too old to learn!
Behavior/responsibility: One of the benchmarks of our Catholic schools is the goal of proper behavior and personal responsibility. Taught with dignity, and following the teachings of Jesus the Master Teacher, children can be taught self-control and boundaries that will support all of their other efforts. Keep expectations high, yet age-appropriate. Consequences should be fitting the poor choice and should focus on discipline (teaching) so that it is a learning opportunity.
Children appreciate caring guidance. I have always adhered to the premise that, “Children need love the most when they least deserve it.” Most children want to do the right thing.
Faculty members are professionals, have gone through rigorous training, and want the best for your child. Children will appreciate that we are confidential and respect their dignity, so be discreet when you talk about their errors. They are easily embarrassed by their mistakes, because they have already developed that all-important concept of conscience by the time they are quite young. Give them a chance to move on.
If there is a question about behavior or discipline in the school, approach the teacher first. If the situation is not resolved, go to the vice principal or principal, and then the Pastor or Parish Administrator in a Parish School. A very easy way to reinforce good behavior, for a child of any age, is to catch your child being good, and then, specifically, compliment their behavior.
As a system of schools in the Diocese of Reno, we understand the importance that positive parental involvement makes in student achievement.