When we flip our calendars to September, it’s time for football to start, butterflies to migrate south and kids to head back to school. At Communities In Schools, many site coordinators mark the start of a new school year by having back-to-school night events. They welcome new and returning students and inform parents about the resources that are available to support their children throughout the school year.
Attending a back-to-school night is a great way for parents to play a part in their children’s education. It not only helps to set the tone for the rest of the school year, but it helps let children know that parents value their education. Back-to-school nights are must-attend events for a number of reasons.
Attending back-to-school night sends a clear message to children that their parents believe education is a priority. When kids see parents involved, they take that to mean parents care about how they are doing in school. And when they know this, they are encouraged to take pride in their school work, which leads to better overall success in school. Research by the National Middle School Association in 2006 found that, among other things, parent engagement leads to improved educational performance, fosters better classroom behavior and improves attendance.
Another benefit of attending back-to-school night is that it gives parents a chance to walk in the footsteps of their children and see the environment in which they will be learning. They’ll know where their child is seated in the classroom, how long the walk is from one class to the next and what the coursework will be like. Being aware of what a child’s day at school is like, and what assignments are required of him or her, is likely to help parents have a better understanding of how to do what is needed to ensure their child’s success.
Back-to-school nights are also a great way for parents to meet and get to know the teachers and support staff at the school. Parents can learn about the teaching style of their child’s teachers, what resources are available to support both them and their children and about ways they can take an active role as a partner in their child’s education by becoming a volunteer.
Communities In Schools back-to-school nights are important events for teachers, parents and students, and are a demonstration of the community supporting the needs of the whole child, and providing the resources for students to achieve in school and in life.