Parents needed to help school succeed |

Parents needed to help school succeed

Recently, I heard a thought-provoking analysis of the reality facing today’s kids. One of my colleagues ” Monty Moses, superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools ” noted the following:

“When we were young, parents told their kids to eat our dinners because there were children starving in China. Today’s parents should tell their kids to do their homework because children in China will be competing for their jobs.”

Dr. Moses is right. Today’s students will face global competition for careers and higher education that was frankly unimaginable 20 years ago. Today’s kids need to be better prepared than ever before.

Subsequently, our public schools are facing the biggest educational and social challenges in our history.

Can schools meet these challenges by themselves? Frankly, no, we cannot. We need the involvement of our kids, families and the community to help make our schools successful. As we prepare for the 2005-06 school year, I encourage you to take an active role in the success of Eagle County Schools. Together we can make a difference in student achievement and in preparing our young people for the future.

The primary goal is quite simple: We need to keep kids in school. It is the schools’ responsibility to provide educational experiences that engage students from rigorous college preparatory curriculum to expansive vocational educational opportunities ” in both traditional and alternative school settings. We must ensure that we have a well-trained and well-prepared teacher in front of every student, every day. We must offer extracurricular activities that keep kids connected to their schools and give them opportunities to explore their interests and talents outside the classroom. Eagle County Schools has committed itself to making these things happen.

But keeping kids in school is a responsibility that involves all of us. I encourage our community to become involved in this effort by supporting academic and extra-curricular programs. Business owners who employ students can stress the importance of doing well in school and on the job. Successful community members can share their stories about the effect that education had in their lives.

Preparing our youngsters for the future will become increasingly more important, and your involvement in the process is critical to their success.

Too often, schools only engage the community when they need financial support for major initiatives, which is, of course, an important responsibility. However, a hands-on investment (volunteering to mentor a student, participating in the school-to-work program, or reading to a group of elementary kids) will have a great impact in our children’s future. This community demonstrates daily that it can accomplish great things. In Eagle County Schools, we want to harness that immense power for the benefit of our students.

As we consider the roles of the schools and community in student achievement, we must stress that each child’s family truly holds the key for success. Without the commitment of families, it is close to impossible to see kids who are active and engaged in schools. So, I would implore all Eagle County Schools families to commit to the following for the 2005-06 school year:

– Make sure that students arrive to school on time and that they attend all classes every day.

– Attend parent-teacher conferences and other school functions.

– Check with students about their progress and contact teachers for information.

– Create a place in your home for kids to do homework and keep track of your children’s studies and school progress.

– Support school/student improvement programs.

– Actively support our community’s zero tolerance policies regarding

student consumption of alcohol and/or illegal substances.

– Ask your kids questions and know where they are when they aren’t with you.

– Contact your school with questions, keep informed.

– Encourage your children to participate in at least one activity.

– Attend your children’s performance and/or athletic events. They want you there!

Our teachers, principals and other staff members are back at work, and we are energized and ready for a banner year with Eagle County Schools. With the assistance of our families and community, we can accomplish this goal and realize the district mission of Educating Every Student for Success.

John Brendza is superintendent of the Eagle County School District.

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