It is the norm in today’s families that both parents are working while their children attend school. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both parents work outside the home in 63% of married couples with families. Yet, most working parents in a recent survey shared they also want to be involved in their child’s school. Not only are parents aware of the statistics that demonstrate student success rates increase when parents volunteer at their child's school, but they also desire to create satisfying relationships with other parents.
learning is supported when parents become involved in their children’s school
- Students achieve more, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or the parents' education level.
- Homework completion and graduation rates are higher.
- Student morale improves, and teachers are rated higher by parents.
- Programs that involve parents outperform identical programs without parent and family involvement.
Finding ways to involve working parents in the life of the school is a win/win. With creativity on both sides, parents can be contributing to school community members.
There are many ways to get involved at your child’s school when you work outside the home:
- Check the calendar of special events at the beginning of the school year and adjust your schedule to attend key activities, like classroom parties and sporting events.
- Share your creativity. Sew costumes, make posters or programs for activities, cut out items for art projects or bake for special events.
- Assist with computer work needed to plan an activity such as a school fundraiser or survey.
- Reach out to new families and welcome them to the school community. Answer questions and provide helpful resources to help them get settled.
- Join committees with meetings or activities that suit your schedule. Volunteer at weekend festivals, chaperone dances or decorate for school events.
- Ask community businesses you interact with regularly to support school fundraisers through ads in programs or donating items for fundraisers.
- Email or call families to support events or assist with fundraising.
- Partner with another parent to share a volunteer role. As a co-chair, you can do behind the scenes work according to your schedule.
Reach out to the school’s administration, teachers or parent organization.
Share your desire to become involved in the life of the school. You would be surprised how eager they are to have you become involved and willing to be flexible to meet your schedule.
Talk to your employer about their policy on volunteerism.
Many employers provide paid time off and some even donate to causes based on the volunteer hours you put in. A flexible work schedule by employers allows parents to create time for the school, while still fulfilling work obligations.
When Sanford School parent Laura Giardina and her family relocated, Laura looked at numerous schools for her young son. After visiting various public and private schools, she selected Sanford School, in part because the school encouraged volunteerism. Laura has gotten involved in numerous activities both on campus and in the community. She is now President of the Home & School Association. Laura shared,
“Working parents are usually very organized and have unique talents and resources to share with the school. By being flexible and creative, we can find ways for them to become involved and feel the gratification that comes from volunteerism.”
Janice Payne is the Director of Development at Sanford School, a preschool-grade 12 College Preparatory School in Hockessin DE.