Research has shown that a child’s success in school is directly attributable to the level of parental involvement, and parental involvement is directly related to a student’s likelihood to graduate from college. In an effort to improve students’ chances of graduating college, some Los Angeles schools are teaching some parents to help their children work toward the goal of attending college. Held on one Saturday morning each month, this project, called Parents’ College, teaches parents how to help their young children prepare for college.
Parents learn important behaviors that they can exhibit for their children to support the goal of attending college:
- Displaying enthusiasm about their children’s homework
- Talking positively about college with their young children and continuing throughout their school years
- Raising expectations for their children and how well they perform academically
- Learning about the importance of reading and college preparedness
- Forming a triangular coalition among the parent, teacher, and the student
According to North Carolina State University sociologist Toby Parcel, co-author of the research study, “The bonds children have at school, the school environment, the positive relationships between teachers and principals—those are important things. It turns out, though, that the bonds that parents form with their children around the subject of schoolwork—those bonds are three to four times more important.” Parcel advocates early, continuous parental involvement. Parents should make this involvement a priority and should reinforce their expectations for strong academic performance throughout their children’s school years.