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A Letter from Dr. Reedy (August, 2005)

As we continue into this exciting new school year, I hope all of us have been able to reflect on our goals for ourselves and our students and how our role will make a difference in the education of students in the FISD. There is no doubt that the most important partners in education are parents. In light of that fact, I wanted to share this article written by William Banach that says some great things about what it takes to be a "winning" parent. I hope you enjoy it.

Ten Tips From The People
On How To Be A Winning Parent
Dr. William J. Banach
Banach, Banach & Cassidy

We surveyed thousands of students, parents, and school staff members during the past twelve months. They had a lot to say about education and what makes a good school. And, they told us what it takes to be a winning parent.

You should listen to what the people are saying. And you should act on their perceptions and expectations.

Ten tips from the people that we surveyed appear below. Address them and it’s likely that you’ll be judged a winner.

1. Know what’s going on. Remember the question that used to be asked during the evening news: “It’s eleven o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”
Today, being tuned in is a 24/7 proposition. You have to know what’s going on in the lives of your children – from who their friends are to what they’re watching on television to the language they use. And, you have to know what’s going on at school. Start by asking them what they learned in school today, and don’t let them get away by saying, “Nuthin’.”

2. Understand how your child is doing. Know if your child’s education is characterized by success, stress, or struggle. Extend congratulations on the successes, and listen to (and really hear) what they are saying about the stresses and struggles. Then act on your understanding.

3. Set learning standards, expectations, and consequences for your child. When it comes to education, tell your child what you expect. If you expect Cs, that’s probably what you’ll get. And if there are no consequences for Cs, stand by to see some Ds.

4. Open and maintain dialogue with teachers. Most teachers work to open dialogue with parents at the beginning of the year. You should continue the dialogue by meeting them half-way. Let them know that you value education and that you want to hear early on if your child isn’t working up to classroom expectations. And, don’t hesitate to call if you have a question.

5. Be there when you’re needed. Most problems get solved when they’re “talked through.” The next time your child seems troubled, make the first move. Start by saying, “I think there’s something that we should talk about.” Then go somewhere quiet and talk it through.

6. Never be apathetic about learning. If you don’t care what your children are (or aren’t) learning in school, guess what? They won’t care either.
Take an interest in what happens at school. Talk to your children about responsibility and self-motivation. And, don’t let them dismiss today’s lesson by saying, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Contrary to popular opinion, children do value what their parents say. That makes you one of education’s most important sales people. Don’t be apathetic about your responsibility.

7. Understand that schools can’t raise your child. For some parents, the school bus could arrive earlier and return later. They view the school day as a vacation from their kids. And, they expect the schools to house their children, feed them, counsel them, prepare them for jobs … and teach them.

Schools are not parents. But they can be the most important partners parents can have.

8. Do things that broaden your child’s horizons. No matter how rich the schools, there are limitations on the education that they can provide. You have to broaden their horizons. It’s your job to talk with them, take them to a sporting event, treat them to a play, teach them responsibility, or go with them to a museum or a park. Schools can do a lot of things, but they can’t do everything to broaden your child’s horizons.

9. Model life-long learning. Continuous change is the norm. That’s why everyone agrees that life-long learning is essential. And, that’s why it’s important that you give life-long learning more than lip-service.

Your children are watching how you keep learning. Let them catch you reading. Talk to them about what you have to learn to keep up on your job. Be a good model.

10. Tell your children about the importance of education … every chance you get! No one says that education is useless and a waste of time. To say such a thing would be a demonstration of ignorance. Yet, saying nothing to reinforce the value of education may not be much better.

Let your children know that the old cliché is true – “You ain’t goin’ nowhere without an education.” Don’t make it a speech. Make it something you believe … because it’s true.

According to the people we surveyed, this is what it takes to be a winning parent. Most parents do many of these things as a part of their daily routine. They don’t look at the ten items as another list of things to do. They look at it as a description of what they must be – winners!

Copyright 2004
Banach, Banach & Cassidy / 68050 Hartway Road / Ray Township, MI 48096-1433
P 586.784.9888 F 586.784.8412
www.banach.com