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On this edition of Sense of Community, we'll be looking at parental involvement in education, its importance and its benefits. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
This afternoon, we continue our look at the importance of parental involvement in education. We begin with some parents of children who attend Weller Elementary School in Springfield. Weller is a Title One school, meaning the number of children on free and reduced lunch is high enough to qualify the school for special federal funding. Members of the Parent Teacher Association or PTA at Weller say parents are very involved at the school and make education a priority. Kara Daniels is a board member of the Weller PTA. She addresses the stereotype that parents whose children attend a Title One school may not be involved in their children's education.
Kara Daniels says she looks for ways to get other parents involved at the school.
Kara not only volunteers at Weller, she works there as an aid in the lunch room. She says her children are used to seeing her at their school.
Another Weller parent, Liz Scroggins says her children enjoy seeing her at school. She says she tries to volunteer at the school at least once a week.
Liz Scroggins says her presence at the school reinforces to her children that education is important. She says that's a message she conveys to them at home as well.
The importance of parental involvement is evident to school administrators.
Marilyn Monroe is the principal at Weller.
Monroe says parents play a critical part in enriching the programs the school offers.
Research shows that there are two main factors that influence a student's ability to learn. They are socioeconomic status and parental involvement.
Education experts say parental involvement is so important to a child's success in school that it can overcome obstacles such as poverty.
David Hough is Dean of the College of Education at Missouri State University.
But Hough says it takes a certain kind of parental involvement to ensure children succeed in school.
He says parental involvement doesn't mean simply writing a check for a school fundraiser or going to a ball game.
And for parents who may find it difficult to spend time at school or helping with homework, teachers say others in the family can be involved.
Linda Fields teaches 5th grade at Rountree Elementary School in Springfield.
She says busy parents can make sure someone in the family is involved.
Fields says Rountree ensures that someone at home monitors what 5th graders have done during the school day.
One of the benefits of parental involvement is giving students access to information and experiences they might not have otherwise.
Parents are involved in some of the lessons in Helen Willis' kindergarten class. She gives a recent example.
Those who study education theory and trends say parents can make the job of a teacher easier...when the parents are involved at an appropriate level.
Once again David Hough, Dean of the College of Education at Missouri State University.
And that's exactly what teachers, administrators and PTA members don't want to happen.
Kimberly Reese, President of the Rountree PTA says parents need to be involved at their child's school.
This and other programs in our Sense of Community series are available online at ksmu.org