Patrick Germond: Improvement begins at home
January 23, 2012
Last year, the Moffat County School District struggled mightily on standardized tests.
While the school board, teachers, and administrators work through issues they believe could improve our school system, I'd like to recommend an approach outside the system.
Specifically, I'd like to address what parents can do to make certain their children succeed.
The blame game will surely go on, and the system may or may not change.
But, the game and the excuses, including the justifiable reasons, aren't going to matter much to your child when they realize they've failed to receive a decent education.
As a parent, and speaking from experience, I have not always been as involved in my child's education as I should have been.
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Drawing on lessons of the past, I've learned how to recognize issues in the present that can lead to future educational difficulties.
Initial signs of educational trouble usually show up more often than not in the early years of grade school.
If a child needs intervention in reading or math, that's where parents can step in and help.
If parents do not intervene early, the child will get farther behind.
Intervention is crucial before children reach middle school, and especially with girls when the social drama escalates.
If they're already lagging behind, the academic struggles will exacerbate when they're sitting in class thinking about the OMG (oh my goodness) moments and when testing time comes along they'll be IDK (I don't know).
Middle school is a time when kids can become disheartened and want to give up.
Early intervention from parents can be very affordable and easy.
One can buy or create your own math flash cards. Local department stores have a wide variety of inexpensive educational workbooks.
Books can also be rented from the local library for reading time.
By working with your children three nights a week and during the summer months when they're out of school, you will see a drastic improvement in your child's educational growth.
It isn't as much work for parents as one might think. Usually you are just correcting papers and reinforcing what teachers have already taught.
I've found our schools, especially our elementary teachers, to be very accommodating and attentive when it comes to requests from parents.
For instance, in the past one of my children needed a math intervention in the second grade. Between my wife, myself and her teachers, she finished third grade among the highest mathematic achievers in her class.
Another wake-up call for parents trying to support and encourage their kids to go to college is college entrance exams.
A lot of straight A Moffat County High School students find they're unable to pass the entrance exams.
They're left unable to enter college classes that high school teachers told them they were prepared for.
My daughter, who is a high school junior, realized the English skills she received from our schools had left her with an inadequate proficiency to succeed in her fast approaching professional career.
She has had to quit sports and take night classes at Colorado Northwestern Community College to be ready for college and then the workforce.
Our high school now graduates 92 percent of students.
That's a good thing, but the quality of those diplomas needs to improve.
But by the time it does, it may be too late for your child.
So, I urge anyone who can to make the effort to help their children with their studies.
The belief that our kids today need to be able to compete on a global scale comes to mind.
However, we should also add that parents need to compete on a global scale, too, when it comes to preparing them.