Just what do kids have to say about parent involvement? And what would they do if they were given a leadership role at school?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. PTO Today had a chance to read essays from elementary and middle schoolers, parts of which we've reproduced verbatim. The contest was sponsored by Box Tops for Education and asked how the kids and their parents would improve involvement if they were principal for a day. Thoughtful and charming, some of these students' ideas just might inspire you, too.
Alex Mason, Grade 7
Albia (Iowa) Junior High School
What Alex would do: Approach local restaurants to provide discounted meals for families that complete at least two parent involvement activities a week.
"The families would do the activities, fill out the form, and take the form to the restaurant Wednesday nights in order to receive the family meal discount. That way a family could buy supper and sit down and eat together at least one night a week. They would have time to visit about school, work, current events, etc."
Bobby Rivera, Grade 7
Pahoa (Hawaii) High and Intermediate School
What Bobby would do: Initiate a program he calls Project Partnership Memories, using digital photography to document parents and students working together on school-related activities.
"Partnership activities would include any activity where parents are working with their children after school hours. A coordinator would then select the best photos to be featured in the memory-book. In the long run, the program would be a 'win-win' situation for everyone! Parents, teachers, and students would not only document invaluable memories, but they would also establish partnerships that would increase the learning potential of everyone involved."
Krista Spindler, Grade 5
Mission Trail Elementary School, Leawood, Kan.
What Krista would do: Establish a weekend parent-student mentor program.
"We would compile a mentor list and a committee that would help us call each parent and guardian and ask them to pick a Saturday they would like to teach at our school. Can you imagine the possibilities? Kids would be so excited to come to school on Saturdays. They might even sign up for two or three classes! And guess what? I think parents would be excited, too. I think if kids knew their parent(s) or guardian(s) were teaching something at their school they would feel very proud and have a new respect for them. So there you have it...my perfect plan!"
Cameron Lemire, Grade 6
West Running Brook Middle School, Derry, N.H.
What Cameron would do: Host a "bring your parents to school" day.
"There would be lots of things to do like playing games, sharing what your parents do for a job, telling how cool your parents are, and much more activities. The best part is kids shouldn't be embarrassed by there parents because all of the other kids parents would be there. This is also a perfect day for parents to see what there children do in school. They could see the cool work their kids do, find out if they are in a bad crowd or not, see if they pay attention in class, take teachers seriously EXT. Some teachers could even throw a party with pizza, Chinese food, subs, or whatever food kids like. This day could also be like a parent teacher conference but without people getting in trouble."
Kayleigh Parravicini, Grade 5
Marlborough (Mass.) Intermediate Elementary School
What Kayleigh would do: Start the "P.I. Pledge."
"Parents would be asked to sign a parent involvement, or 'P.I.' pledge, stating they will spend at least fifteen minutes everyday helping their child with homework, reading to, or with, their child, practicing math facts and concepts, or just listening to how their child's day in school went. Students would be asked to sign a pupil involvement, also a 'P.I.' pledge, promising to work hard in school, to tell their parents about their day in school, and to ask for help with their studies, if needed." A chart of time spent "could be turned in at the end of the month and the family would receive one ticket entry for a raffle drawing to win a cool prize."
Drew Pitts, Grade 5
England (Ark.) Elementary School
What Drew would do: Ask community businesses to provide a set number of paid days per month for parent employees to volunteer at their children's schools.
"If they would allow their employees one or two paid days a month to volunteer at our school, the impact would be immeasurable. People who never before had the time to volunteer would now have one or two days a month to work at the school. Students would benefit and the school would improve. As the school improves, more people would want to move to our community to go to our great school. This means more people in the community to do business with the business owner who allowed this process to begin."