A Note from the Capitol
Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 7:01 pm
When it comes to education, Bill and his administration are ardently committed to improvement. As First Lady, for the past year I have had a front-row seat to learn from many great educators in Tennessee. I have met with countless teachers, administrators and families in schools all across the state, and I’ve been consistently encouraged by their dedication.
One of the most frequent comments I hear is that many of our problems in education could be prevented or diminished with greater involvement from parents or guardians at home.
Every school and every teacher does best with strong support from families and communities.
More than 70 percent of a child’s life is spent outside of the classroom, and how a parent or guardian interacts with his or her child outside of school sets the stage for progress in the classroom.
For parents of babies and toddlers, this means speaking to your child in full sentences, signing up to receive free books from Imagination Library and reading to them anything and everything you possibly can.
For parents of school-age children, this means talking to their teachers about what your child is learning and where he or she can improve. Research says that the two most important things that parents can do are showing interest in homework and reading together as a family.
It’s an important distinction that knowing how to help with homework is not what is vital – it’s being interested in homework that matters. Encouraging reading every day is important, and we must be sure that children are reading on grade level or above.
Now that school is back in session, it’s our job as parents and guardians to send our children to the classroom ready and excited to learn.
Teachers and schools can also play an important part in facilitating better parent engagement. For example, recently in Nashville, I joined Cole Elementary School administrators, teachers and staff and about 100 local volunteers on Saturday morning to go and visit the homes of every Cole Elementary student.
Teachers met with their student’s families on their front door step, passing out important information about the school, such as the school’s parental engagement policy and helpful tips on ways families can be involved in their child’s academic life.
In Dyersburg, I joined district administrators, teachers and staff and loaded on a school bus, making stops around the Dyersburg community. We stopped at churches, community centers, even a neighborhood pool, where students and families were waiting to meet their teachers and receive important information about the school. These are two great examples of different ways to reach out to families in your community to build positive relationships between families and the school.
Parents and guardians, just as much as teachers, we share in this teaching responsibility.
So, let’s work together for our students. In partnership together, we can do immeasurably more than we can do alone.
Published in The WCP 8.23.12
A Note from the Capitol