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Engaging parents is a challenge – but its rewards are tangible

2013 November 21
by HISD Communications

Parent involvement, or let’s be honest — “mom” involvement – was pretty routine in bygone days. There were one or two solemn report card conferences each year, clapping hands at pageants and performances, attending an occasional PTA or PTO meeting, and sending a platter of freshly baked cookies on special occasions.

Across the nation, school districts marked National Parent Involvement Day Thursday because engaging parents is no longer such a simple matter. Single parent households, both parents working long hours, language and cultural differences, and other daily challenges make connecting with children and their schools a much tougher proposition for most moms and dads.

Yet engaged parents have never been needed more profoundly. Today’s youngsters are facing wider freedoms and an array of high tech devices that can provide social and ethical dilemmas. They must cope with more rigorous coursework and increased accountability for their performance to prepare for the demands of college and complex careers.

Educators often look to parents and grandparents to help provide resources in schools and classrooms that are underfunded or threatened to be cut altogether.

For the folks in HISD’s Family and Community Engagement Office, increasing parental involvement in our schools – at all levels — is a daily challenge. They’ve collected a great resource bank of videos, articles and suggestions for parents and schools that you can access at on ways — large and small – to make a difference to your children and their schools.

Something as simple as reading to your children at night – or their class during the day – can reap huge rewards for younger children. And although your youngsters may try to limit your engagement with their schools as they get older, staying connected is even more important. Monitoring homework and keeping the lines of communication open with students and their teachers is a must — but don’t back away from coming on campus.

We know the demands of daily life have never been greater and that parenting has never been so complex.  We also know that both you and your children will benefit from every minute you spend engaged in their education. (A platter of cookies still works wonders, too, even if it comes from the local supermarket or panaderia.)

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