Research shows that schools with high levels of community support from parental involvement and partnership programs have increased student attendance, grades, and achievements and resulted in fewer behavioral issues and a general attitude of positivity towards school and homework. As human beings, we are heavily influenced by our environment; our first impression of the world is set in stone from a very young age. An entire community has an essential role in raising a child. Therefore, it is our responsibility to prioritize good education for our youth. In a democracy, where the ability to stimulate political change is given to the people, we, as adults with a voice, need to make sure our children’s education has all the necessary tools for success. In this week’s blog, we’ll explore the importance of community support in relation to raising, healthy, intelligent, critically thinking adults who can provide the same support for generations to come.
A research-based framework developed by a John’s Hopkins University describes six types of community involvement. These include parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making, and collaboration with the community. The six types of involvement must offer a broad range of school, family and community activities that require all parties to offer full engagement in meeting student needs. Successful community support should not be add-on programs or outsourced packages. Well integrated support that’s a part of a school’s mission statement and goals yields the best results. Pushing for our children’s schools to implement better, more direct methods of support involving the community and, most importantly, parents help our youth gain the experience and tools for successful adult life.
Simply put a community that refuses to get involved. Parents who make excuses that their schedules are too busy and they don’t have extra time to volunteer, attend parent-teacher conferences etc. often are inhibiting the benefits of community support for their children. There are many parents, as well, who only understand English as a second language. This can be especially problematic if schools aren’t implementing resources for parent-teacher language barriers that could be preventing student success. Schools that have knowledgeable staff who can speak different languages have the tools to solve this community support hurdle and all schools should seek cultural awareness and hire foreign language speakers. Similarly, there needs to be awareness and understanding of differing family dynamics. For example, often times single parents, grandparent guardians, and foster parents complain that many school systems create systems of involvement that directly benefit nuclear family dynamics. Families from all walks of life need to be considered in order to create cohesive community support in an education environment. After all, how can one feel a part of something if the policies put in place exclude them?
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