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L.A. Schools Encourage Parental Involvement

By sandymaple |

parental involvment school

How should parents get involved at school?

When we talk about school reform, we mostly speak of teachers and students.  But what about the parents?

Research has shown that parental involvement leads to higher grades, test scores and graduation rates.  Students with involved parents have better school attendance, higher self-esteem and are more motivated.

But what exactly does being involved entail?  If you don’t know how to answer that, you aren’t alone.  Many well-meaning parents don’t know what to do to help their kids in school.  And beyond sending notes home encouraging mom and dad to “get involved,” educators aren’t exactly making this important aspect of education a priority.

But in Los Angeles, they are making strides on the parental involvement front.  Almost every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District has a parent center.  These centers are open for a few hours every day to provide advice, information and allow parents to keep tabs on their child’s progress.  Their system isn’t perfect, but improvements are in the works.

Of course, this kind of program doesn’t come free. In Los Angeles, in order to pay for the improvements and additional outreach needed to bring the parents in, officials are looking at doing away with the parental advisory committees.  This may sound like a push against parental involvement, but it will save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially have a far greater impact on overall student achievement.

I love the idea of parent centers and wonder who else is doing this.  My own child’s school gives lip service to parental involvement but does very little to show parents the way.  What about your child’s school?  Do they actively encourage and promote parental involvement?

Image:  asheboropubliclibrary/Flickr

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0 thoughts on “L.A. Schools Encourage Parental Involvement

  1. jennifer says:

    Another interesting thing re the LUAS program si that parents get texts/calls if their kid misses a class, and there is an online site that they can log into to see test results. Gone are the days of forging signatures on a bad test!

  2. michelle says:

    Our kids’ private school absolutely requires lots of parental involvement — no excuses. Regular parent teacher conferences, lots of volunteering in the classroom and for school events, etc. Both parents are expected to be very involved — you can’t just write a check and call it a day. I know this school is not that comparable to the LAUSD, but I do think there is a model there to some extent.

  3. michelle says:

    Oh, and we know exactly what the kids are learning from week to week, and are often asked to do things at home to support those lessons.

  4. Linda, the original one says:

    michelle, the problem is that public schools can’t legally require what private schools can. My kids go to our district’s alternative K-8 school and while we “require” all sorts of involvement, from monthly pledge to volunteer hours to community meetings, because we’re public, these mandated things end up being voluntary, as legally, we can’t insist our parents do a thing. Most do what they should though, which is nice, and needed.

  5. michelle says:

    Linda, that’s all I’m really saying too. Our school states up front that they expect involvement, but they won’t kick you out for not being involved enough. The high involvement comes from seeing how involved all the other parents around you are (i.e. peer pressure), plus the fact that we’re a self-selected group of parents who are already super-invested in their kids’ education. But what do you do in a huge school district where many parents are stuck working two jobs or just don’t consider involvement that important? The challenge is not so much requiring anything per se, but in changing the culture so that getting involved becomes easier logistically, and also becomes part of the standard set of expectations of parents.

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