As I visit PTAs across the country, I love hearing students tell me what they’re going to be when they grow up. Astronauts, architects, doctors, police, politicians – it doesn’t matter –the stories are always inspiring. Sometimes I wonder whether these kids do what they need to do to achieve their goals: stay in school. The career dreams of so many youth end when they drop out of high school.
Did you know:
- A student drops out of every 26 seconds
- 7,000 students drop out every day
- 1 million students drop out each year
- 1 out of 5 students do not graduate from high school
Low attendance rates and lack of family engagement are major indicators for dropping out of high school. Research shows daily family support in a child’s life is important regardless of socioeconomic background. That’s why we will focus on increasing the numbers of families engaged during National PTA’s 2014 Take Your Family to School Week, February 17-21, 2014. Find out more information at www.pta.org/tyftsw.
Supporting Your Child – And Every Child
As parents and caregivers, we have many opportunities to support our children’s academic success – beginning in the morning when we wake them up to start their school day on time. Eating meals together is another great opportunity for engagement. Not only do students gain the fuel their brains need to concentrate, but they also gain your attention. When students and parents talk about school regularly, they perform better academically. Knowing their parents are genuinely concerned about their performance will drive students to do their very best.
Volunteering your time is another way to show support. Family engagement is carried out everywhere children learn and play: at home, in school, during after-school or community programs, on athletic teams, through faith-based institutions, etc. If you have a strong skill – offer it. Contribute your organizational skills, fundraising ability, leadership qualities, bilingualism or other skills to help your child’s PTA, school or activities that enrich their lives. And down the road, you’ll be like me, proudly seeing my son and daughter – now young adults – commit so much of their own time and talents to community service.
PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week is months away. But you can start today. When you get home, ask some simple questions: Do you need help with homework? What did you learn? What was your favorite part of the day? What did you play during recess? Who did you hang out with? What did you read?
The bottom line is that you are an infinite resource in supporting your child’s success. Resources don’t do much good if they’re underutilized. I urge you to make daily engagement in your child’s schooling and overall well-being your top priority. In the business world, you may hear “time is money.” In your child’s world, time is everything.
Otha Thornton is the president of National PTA.
A Proud National Sponsor of PTA since 2005, AXA Foundation – the philanthropic arm of AXA Equitable – is again pleased to sponsor PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week.