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Effective Changes in School: 5 Ways to Make a Difference

18 Nov 2013 – 02:42 PM EST

Children are at school for the majority of their waking hours during the week. Parents expect it to be a safe and nurturing environment where children can thrive academically, emotionally, and physically. It’s important for parents and caregivers to monitor the school to make sure their children’s needs are being met. When they aren’t, it’s time for some effective changes in school.

These changes don’t have to start with the administration. Parents can make a huge difference. Knowing where to start, though, is sometimes intimidating.

Here are five ways to make effective changes in school.

1. Be involved. Teachers, principals and other school staff are more likely to listen to someone they have a relationship with than a parent who only shows up to complain. Volunteer in your child’s classroom, bring the family to school-sponsored events, and join the PTA. Being an active part of the school community puts you in a key position to see what changes need to be made and help come up with a plan to make it happen.

2. Use your strengths. Think about your skills. Perhaps you excel at organization, baking, public speaking, writing, or fundraising. Then use these strengths to tackle the problem.

3. Collaborate. Once you’ve accessed your strengths and figured out how you fit into fixing the problem, it’s time to round up others who bring a different set of skills to the table. Recruit teachers, parents, and community members.

4. Stay positive. Ever heard the term, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”? The same applies here. Instead of constantly pointing out all the shortcomings, compliment what the school is doing well, too. Show up with a big basket of muffins and a thank-you note for the staff break room.

5. Call in reinforcements when necessary. Sometimes changes simply aren’t implemented no matter how hard parents try to work with school administration. In these cases, it is necessary to contact the school district, superintendent, or an attorney specializing in education law. Go directly to this step if the situation is dangerous or negligent.

Research shows that students are more successful when their parents are involved at their school. Supporting the school and helping implement changes benefits all the students, not just your child.