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Readers' forum: Volunteers for secondary schools

Published: Monday, Jan. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Kudos to Sen. Pat Jones for her resolution to encourage parental engagement in education ("Legislator wants parents to aid in their children's education," Jan. 19). Obviously, she can't "legislate parenthood," but hopefully this resolution can encourage more parents to take a more significant role in their children's education.

Students will be more successful when parents get involved in supporting home study and also volunteering at local schools. Many parents volunteer at the elementary level but not as their children advance into secondary schools. As administrators, teachers and parents all get behind volunteerism at the secondary level, the results will be improved scholarship and a better overall experience for all.

I have seen firsthand how a parent volunteer program can benefit a middle school. Years ago as my first child entered middle school, I offered to volunteer as I always had at the elementary school and was told that I wasn't needed. The administration and teachers did not want parental input or help. It was not a great school environment and the test scores and morale proved that. Fast forward ten years, a new administration and PTA board saw the need for volunteers in the classrooms and it is a different school.

Test scores have jumped significantly and teachers appreciate the added support. In addition, the PTA has sponsored a yearly "Parent's Day" where parents can shadow their child through an entire school day. Surprisingly, students love it and parents are empowered.

At our high school, we don't have any classroom volunteers yet, however, the PTA board has 25 parents serving and we are making a difference. I would love to see high school administrators and teachers get behind a volunteer program whether that is parents or community members mentoring and helping struggling students and teachers. Bottom line, it takes a village to educate a child! Let's all be part of the solution to budget shortfalls and weary educators.

Joanne A. Andrus

Sandy

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