Got your attention? Good! Based on my own circle of friends and friends of friends, I believe the overwhelming majority of parents DO care about their childrens’ education. I do believe, however, that most parents do not know how to influence the policy direction or the operational procedures in their . In this post, I want to discuss how parents can influence schools to help prepare our children for life after they graduate.
There are various levels of involvement. Some choose to run for school committee. Talk to the committee members. Others choose to get involved with the . Attend a school committee and/or a meeting to voice your opinions. Some parents volunteer in the schools. These are all excellent ways to help our children.
For those of us that are too busy to get actively involved, I recommend sending an email. An email provides a quick, fool proof way to guarantee your message is received. I recommend the following guidelines when emailing:
- Highlight the issue, question or problem without emotion. State the facts and just the facts. I know this is tough. After all these are our children!
- Attack the problem not the person. Do not write anything in the email you would not say to the person directly or want posted in the newspaper.
- Offer a suggestion or solution. Do not be part of the problem.
- Use a capability. This will allow you to know when your email is opened. To see how visit one of these links (, ). You can also politely request a response by a certain date. Do not be afraid to forward your original email if you do not get a response
To whom do I send communications
- Email a school committee member. They are all and have public (). Remember the role of the school committee before you launch this email. (Note: In the 9 months as a school committee member I have received 5 emails with questions or suggestions!)
- Email teachers or principals: Teachers are on the front line and care deeply about your children. Contact your principal if something is just not working in your schools (e.g. lunch menus are not posted on time). Escalate to your principal if you feel you are not making headway with the teacher.
- Email the superintendent: This is the CEO of the district who can make things happen district wide. If you have concerns about policy implementation, this is a great place to start. (e.g. wellness policies – allergies etc..)
- Email elected officials: Whether it is the mayor, board of selectmen, alder men etc..These people need to hear your concerns, wants or desires for education in your district.
For those of you with time:
- Attend school committee meetings: I have noticed that my town’s school committee frequently addresses an empty room. It would be more beneficial to have parents in the room to receive feedback.
- Attend board of selectmen meetings: Same as above. This group has a major impact (in many but not all districts) on what school districts can and cannot accomplish.
- Volunteer: Reach out to your principal if you have something to offer. My company provides . Ask your company if they do something similar.
All in all, I do believe parents care. Many do not know how to get involved. Some just plain do not have the time. I hope these suggestions help identify a few ways to get engaged.