Cultural Connect

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Parent Involvement Key to Student Achievement

Educators have said active parent involvement raises a student’s academic performance. Yet school districts have witnessed a steady decline in parent participation. Gone are the days when a mother stayed at home to raise children and participate in school activities. Parents are happy when they are not called to the school regarding their son/daughters behavior. Something needs to be done to make parent involvement in K12 schools a high priority on their list of daily activities.

Parents need more information about how K12 education is changing. Most parents are not aware of the financial challenges that school systems are facing. Many schools are underfunded when compared to school districts within their own states. Parents can play a role in encouraging their local legislators to get involved in changing their states school funding formula.

What the educators are saying about parent involvement is true. Parents who read to their children early develop children who enjoy reading. Children are like sponges absorbing new knowledge at a tremendous rate. Today parents are too concerned about keeping their children entertained. Parents are great role models for their children’s love for learning. If the majority of the parent’s time is spent in front of the television then it becomes their child’s main source of information and learning. A student’s enthusiasm for learning should begin in the home then spreads to a child’s school instruction.

Some governors are saying we need more standardized tests to resolve the student achievement gap. Parent involvement is an alternative that costs fewer dollars to implement. The resources that are allocated for testing could be spent to increase the number of parent leaders who are in the schools. Some schools are finding ways to get parent’s involved in the daily activities of their schools. Parents who are involved can learn about instruction methods that other parents can use in the home. They are the catalyst to get parents who are not involved to volunteer for special projects.

Parents sometimes reflect on the bad experiences that they had when they were in K12 schools. Student achievement can be raised when parents know that their active participation will make a difference in their child’s learning capacity. Some parent’s are looking at their child’s achievement level to see if there are any differences. They need to know more about the benefits of looking at the value of education from a different perspective. Some parents do not know what a good education looks like. School administrators and teachers must continually advocate for increased communication with parents.

Some parents are raising the bar on their expectations for their student. They are often interested in identifying resources that will prepare their child for college. They participate in after school and weekend programs right along with their child. They sign up because of their belief that their program will serve us a link between high school and college.

The United States is steadily slipping in terms of its edge in graduating students from high schools, trade schools, and colleges. Starting a national campaign to help parents to understand their role in student achievement is a solution whose time has come. New and innovative organizations are needed. These organizations must take into account the changing trends in family structures. Parents are looking for solutions to the achievement gap. The solution lays in a combination of community and K12 schools working toward alternative education activities which are easily implemented in the home.

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Seven Secrets of How to Study

According to Indiana University the average American student only studies 3 hours each week. That amounts to 20 minutes a day. A total of 60,000 students responded to this study skills survey. Each year thousands of students enter college thinking they can use high school study habits and easily sail through a college degree. They have a rude awaking when they discover success in college requires a minimum of three to five hours studying each day. Some students say studying the night before their examination seemed so much easier in high school.

Most students want to know what are the true seven secrets to better study skills and earning an A+. Is the answer studying all night before a major examination? Is it photographic memory you inherited from your parent? The answer to both questions is no. There are seven fundamental study habits that every student must master to get started on the right pathway to earning an A+.

Prepare for all Test Ahead of Schedule- Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your examination. Most students increase their level of test anxiety because they feel unsure that they have studied everything.
Start a Study Group-Get together with a group of students who are enrolled in your class. Set a date when you will meet and give out assignments so each person has a responsibility.
Don’t Procrastinate on Projects- Start all assignments in sufficient time to perform your best work. For example, if a science project is due in December you should start the project by October. Also, start all studying for examinations at least 4 days before the test will occur. If a term paper is due in November start your paper in September. Develop a plan that has cut off dates for each segment of your assignment.
Get the Energy you Need- Many students put off the first meal of the day. They are missing the most important meal of the day. Scientists have discovered that eating a good breakfast is better for your overall health. Feeding yourself with healthy foods and exercising have a positive effect on the brain.
Get organized. Purchase several three ring binders for all of your courses English, math, history and science. Keep copies of your homework, quizzes and examinations in your binders. Make a copy of your syllabus and put it in your binder. Use your binder each time you study for an examination.
Talk to Your Teacher- Often students are afraid to talk to their teacher - Meet with your teacher in their office at the beginning of the semester. Let them know that you want to understand every thing you must do to earn an A+. Always show interest in the subject they are teaching by sitting in the front of the class. Go to class with questions you’ve written on a sheet of paper.
Read your Textbook- Read your textbook assignment before every class. Reading early is beneficial because you will be prepared for your class. You will feel confident that you have knowledge of your subject and you can answer your teacher’s questions.

To avoid the pitfalls of procrastination you must have an academic plan. An effective study skills plan starts with organizing all of your learning materials. Begin with the end in mind. Determine what you would like to learn from each course. Instead of making plans to study at the last minute follow a calendar. You will experience the freedom of knowing where to find information when you need it. The more that you uncover the habits that block you from maximizing your achievements leads you into greater accomplishments.

When you follow these strategies you are on your way learning the Seven Secrets of How to Study. There is one more thing that is a vital factor in your success. You must have a positive attitude and expectation that you will earn a good grade. Approach each class with an expectation that you are going to earn an A+ and you will be half way down the road to a successful academic year. Launch into each study session with enthusiasm and excitement about the new information you are about to learn. It’s important to invest additional quality time studying to raise your confidence in each class. Remember the formula for success is to study 2 to 3 hours for every hour that you are in class.

Practice the Seven Secrets of How to Study and you will prepare yourself for lifetime of excellent grades. Dr. Stephen Jones is author of the “Seven Secrets of How to Study”, Go on the internet at to order a book or to order by telephone call 866-544-5490.

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