Parents are their child’s first­—and often most important—teacher. Support from parents is key to helping children get and stay on track to academic success. Here are a few ideas of how you can support your child this school year.

1. Attend family-teacher conferences and school events

Kids do better when parents are involved in their school and attending conferences is a great way to get to know the teacher more, find out how your child is doing, request special services if you think your child may need it, and stay involved. It’s also a good way to stay up-to-date on school policies or changes. In addition, each of our schools have a number of events throughout the school year— everything from roller skating to community beautification projects—and these events are a great way to connect with the school community and get to know your child’s friends.

Keep in mind, we encourage families to visit our school at any time to see what’s happening in the classroom. Please reach out to your child’s teacher any time during the school year to ask questions or request a meeting!

This approach has worked for KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy parent, Julissa Castillo. “Jazzy’s teachers are definitely ‘Team Jazzy,’” she says. “They will do whatever it takes to find solutions, making sure she’s learning and feels loved for who she is. As a single mom, having this team of support takes away that feeling of being overwhelmed and has given us room to celebrate the good stuff—big and small.”

2. Join your school’s Parent Partnership Team (or PTA)

Becoming a member of the school’s PPT is beneficial to your child and his/her school. When you join the PPT, you get connected to the school community, discover great resources, tap into a network of other concerned parents and become a role model to your child by demonstrating the importance you place on education. Check out the “Parent Power” article in the TEAM & Family Magazine for more information on these vital teams.

3. Support Homework Expectations

Homework is an extension of classroom lessons and helps children develop their skills beyond the classroom. If you’re reluctant to help your child with their homework because you don’t understand the assignment or English is your second language, we’re here to help! Teachers are available via text to answer questions about assignments and manage expectations. The important thing is to let your child know that homework is a priority, monitor their progress, and be available to help but don’t do it for them. Learning from mistakes is part of the educational process.

4. Attendance Matters

Sick kids should definitely stay home from school. However, as long as your child is feeling well, they should be in school on time every day. Students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently and any absence, excused or not, denies students the opportunity to learn. If your child is missing a lot of school, catching up with classwork and homework can be stressful.

5. Talk About the School Day

Check in with your child about their school day every day so they know that what happens at school is important to you. Try to ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” to encourage your child to share more. KIPP NJ parent Tafshier Cosby suggests, “Ask questions like “Tell me something good or bad that happened at school today,” “What did you learn today that you didn’t know yesterday?“, “Did you make a new friend today?”. Encourage conversation when picking up children after school, during dinner or take a few minutes before they go to bed.

6. Read Baby Read

We talk to kids all school year about the importance of reading every single day. Carving 15 minutes out of each day to read with your child creates a good bonding experience and helps build their vocabulary, literacy and language skills that lead to later success. Check with your child’s teacher for book list recommendations and sight words your child can practice.

This article originally appeared in the first edition of the TEAM & Family Magazine, a publication from KIPP New Jersey for families and community members.

Never Miss a Chance to Make a Difference

Subscribe to KIPP New Jersey’s email newsletter and stay in the loop.

Thank you for subscribing!