Parent Involvement

Some parents donate a great deal of time to their children’s school, while others are either too busy or disinterested in this type of effort. You will have to decide the extent to which you would like to become involved in your school’s operations as well as the role that you would like to play. Typically, parents who volunteer at schools participate in one of three ways:

  • Helping with the school’s daily life: This may involve volunteering in the classroom, working in the library, chaperoning field trips or coaching.
  • Decision-making: Most schools have parent advisory committees or governing boards. In this role, you may have a substantial voice in the manner in which the school is run.
  • Fundraising: Schools use a variety of activities to raise funds, including school fairs, dances, auctions and holiday parties. They may ask you to help organize one or more of these activities or play an even larger role and manage the investment of the school’s endowment.

Although the evidence suggests that parental involvement in their children’s education at home has a positive impact on their achievement, few researchers have found that parental involvement at school functions positively influences their children’s performance. Nevertheless, schools clearly benefit from parents’ assistance in several ways which may in turn help your children indirectly. For example,

  • You may have special skills to do necessary work for which the school would otherwise have to pay a professional to do, freeing up money for other educational programs.
  • Your help in the classroom and on the board of directors will alleviate some tasks that teachers and administrators would normally have to perform, allowing them to focus on the students.
  • Your fundraising efforts may provide the resources required to purchase additional educational material, technology or facilities.

When deciding which school is best for you, consider the extent to which the administration and other parents expect you to become involved with the school. If you want to become very involved with the school and the administration prefers little parent participation, you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you have little time for school functions, you may feel uncomfortable dealing with other parents and administrators who display disappointment with your perceived lack of interest in the school.