New school year, new opportunity for parents to get involved

By State Sen. Wayne Schmidt
37th District

A new school year is upon us, and for students that means homework, projects, tests, after-school activities, sports and hanging out with friends. For parents, it is another opportunity to fulfill our responsibility of being involved with our children’s education.

Today’s youth have more potential distractions than any previous generation, and we as parents must work to ensure they are staying focused on achieving their goals. Obtaining a quality education is critical for the future of our youth. Having active parents in their lives has a significant impact on their success throughout the school year and beyond.

Research suggests students whose parents are involved in their schoolwork are more motivated and set higher career goals than students with less-involved parents. While helping our children understand classroom material at an early age helps improve their chances for success in high school and college, parents visiting their child’s school has also been cited as a key factor in a student’s development.

I encourage parents to make an effort to get involved and help support your young students. The Michigan Department of Education offers a handy toolkit titled, “Collaborating for Success” in the “Parent Engagement” section of its website, Michigan.gov/mde. The toolkit provides helpful resources for parents to help build a stronger family-to-school partnership, including:

  • Information about the school system so you can better understand the educational process;
  • Information about how to get involved in your child’s education; and
  • Resources on how to support your child at any age.

I also urge parents to develop a relationship with local school officials and ask how you can get more involved in making your children successful.

School is challenging and can sometimes be overwhelming for our kids. Having supportive parents who are there for them — which means simple things like making sure they get plenty of sleep, arrive to school on time, complete their homework and eat healthy meals — can make all the difference.

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Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, represents the 37th state Senate District, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac counties.