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September 04, 2012 8:03 am

EDITORIAL: Education happens best when parents partner with teachers

Written by Ilene Olson

Another school year began last week, with children and teens heading to classrooms where teachers will work to motivate and educate them.

Education has been at the forefront of the Wyoming Legislature for the past couple of years. State lawmakers have been looking for ways to make sure the money they are devoting to educating the state’s youth is well spent. The overarching goal: high school graduates who are prepared to succeed in college and in life.

Much of that effort is aimed at making sure teachers are capable and effective, as evidenced by student achievement.

There is some merit to that. Many of us can recall two types of teachers — those who have helped and inspired us, and those who have bored us or even left educational scars.

We believe most teachers work very hard to be in the first category.

But one of the most important elements of student success can’t be measured through teacher evaluations: parents’ involvement in their children’s education and learning readiness.

Parents can make a huge difference in their children’s educational experience. That can start early in childhood by reading to them and cultivating a good learning environment.

As they enter school, it becomes increasingly important for parents to encourage their children to complete their homework and to monitor their progress.

Communication with their teachers improves those efforts. While that takes place during parent-teacher conferences, those meetings are too infrequent to be effective in many cases.

These days, one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep abreast of your child’s progress in school is by logging onto the school’s online information system regularly. But when needed, there is no substitute for one-on-one communication.

By partnering with your child’s teachers, you can make a huge difference in the outcome of his or her education and help prepare them for the future.

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