Parent Participation at Local Schools Is Vital

OpEd by Glenda Lee Marr:

As students prepare to return to school August 18, we must remember that it is often the parents who are the key to a student’s success.

El Tejon Unified School District needs more parent participation in all of its schools.

When parents get involved with activities, students feel their self-worth. When parents watch, students feel proud and motivated to show what they can accomplish. Students learn life-lessons by participating in after-school sports and clubs.

Encourage your kids to join activities. Let them find out what they do well. They develop important skills of sharing and working together, not criticizing or blaming, encouraging and cheering their fellow team members and classmates.

Students involved in extracurricular activities experience higher levels of psychological well-being and self-esteem. They also have a more positive body image through teenage years.

Frazier Mountain High School football is one of our main events in this region. Although the season looked as if it would start with just 20 players total, our varsity and junior varsity Falcon football teams are gaining players, and they have been practicing hard through the summer. The cheerleading squad has also been working through the summer. They marched and performed in the recent Fiesta Days parade.

But because of recent budget cuts, we lost the late bus transportation for students involved in all after-school activities, whether clubs, academic tutoring or sports.

This challenging economy has also given us opportunities. I urge parents to step up to organize carpools so all kids can participate in after-school activities that are so vital to a well-rounded education and to our community.

Last year I volunteered to be on the “snow chain” to notify parents when snow conditions caused school to start late or to be cancelled for the day. I had 12 parents to call. Do the math. With about 560 students in the high school (for instance), if one out of every 3 parents volunteered (that would be 187 volunteers) we would each need to call only three parents each. In previous years I only called one parent.

Volunteers are needed this year more than ever. “Many hands make light work,” is a saying that comes to mind.

The Mountain Enterprise says it will donate a regular spot in the newspaper and online to inform people about schedules and how to participate in a carpool if we can pull them together for our ETUSD after-school activities. You can reach me at 661-242-1177. If you coach a sport or lead an after-school activity, we need accurate information about your club and events.

What other things can parents do? Just ask the school. Can we do fund-raisers for all our schools on our hill? Some people are creative all day long. Please share your ideas. Let’s create opportunities for kids on our hill.

This is part of the August 13, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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