Family Engagement

Being a School Volunteer is a Win-Win for your Child’s School and YOU!

(This article is the first in a series of three on becoming a school volunteer.)

Let’s face it, with school budgets shrinking and teacher workload increasing, it is growing more and more important for all of us to get involved in our children’s schools. But I’m not writing this article to list the positive outcomes for schools when families get involved. Instead, my interest is to briefly explain the benefits that parents and caregivers get when they volunteer.
Below I’ve listed several ways you can reap the benefits of being a school volunteer (and help your school out in the process)!

 

Being a School Volunteer: Make your school a better place – When you help teachers out, they have more time to do what they do best, TEACH. Teachers work very hard, and when they feel supported, they are better able to do their work and ensure that all children are doing their best. This translates to a stronger academic environment for all kids, including yours.

Being a School Volunteer: Walk the Walk – You know this one, but it bears repeating… kids learn more from what we do than what we say. Making time to get involved is one of the most meaningful ways you can share your value of education with your kids.

Being a School Volunteer: Get to know your school… staff – Working with school staff is a great way to build positive relationships with school staff that can pay off when you need them most. If you ever have an issue that needs to be addressed in the future, the relationships you make can help you answer questions and resolve issues faster and easier, because you’ll be able to call on specific people for help. Parent Tip: Don’t overlook the main office secretary–he or she may have been around through several principals and can be a powerful resource to let you know how things really get done at your school.

Being a School Volunteer: Be in the know – How many times have you asked your child, “What’s going on at school?” only to get incoherent gobble-dee-gook from your kindergartner or a blank stare from your tween/teen? Working with your child’s school on a regular basis is a first-hand way to learn about her routine and tap into the latest fads and trends without relying on her to actually tell you everything.

Being a School Volunteer: Build a network – Getting involved is a great way to meet other families and make new friends. Having a mommy/daddy network also pays off if you need recommendations about enrichment or tutoring programs, or if you have any other parenting questions.

Being a School Volunteer: Check it out! – Evaluate your school’s safety and learning climate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished as an educator that more parents came to visit during the regular school day. Being at the school often can answer questions like: How do students, staff, and administrators address each other? Do all classrooms have necessary heat, light, materials? Does it feel safe? Staff often recognize problems yet feel helpless to fix them for fear of being targeted by administration. Parents can raise concerns based on things they see, and often parent voices are taken more seriously!

That’s all for now… Next up, I’ll write about the various ways you can share your talents to improve schools.

 

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