Get Involved in Your Children's Education

Question: What is the best way to start being involved in my children's education? - Seeking Involvement

Answer: You will definitely want to establish good communication with your children's teachers, whether your children are in elementary school or in high school. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that you attend two very important functions that occur during the first few months of school.

The first is a special evening, often called "Back to School Night," that is usually held close to the start of the school year. This is not an evening for you to discuss your children, but an evening to obtain general information that will be very helpful. You'll learn all about teachers' homework requirements, grading and disciplinary policies, and classroom routines. Plus, you'll find out what your children will be learning during the course of the year and about the materials that will be used in the classroom, from textbooks to computers. Teachers will also explain the easiest way to contact them.

At "Back to School Night," you will get an idea of what your children's teachers are like, making it much easier to discuss school with your children. You will also be showing the teachers that you are interested in your children's education - an important first step toward having good communication with each other.

When you visit the school on this special night, don't confine yourself to meeting just your children's teachers. Make a point of meeting the other people who are involved in their education: principals, deans, counselors, nurses and media specialists. They will be available and eager to talk to you. You should also walk around and see all the areas that your children use each day, from the lunchroom to the art and music classrooms.

The other essential meeting this fall is the parent-teacher conference. This will usually come close to the end of the first grading period. It is an opportunity for you and the teachers to truly communicate about every aspect of your children's education.