When summer winds down and the air starts to cool off, you know it’s back-to-school time for more than 72,000 students in Guilford County Schools (GCS).
For our children, this is the season of a fresh start. It’s that exciting time when everyone is eager to learn, and we, as parents, have the perfect opportunity to support our children in school.
As a father of two, I want nothing more than for my children to be successful in school and in life. And as the director of Guilford Parent Academy (GPA), I’ve met many different parents and families across GCS. One thing I’ve learned is no two families are alike—but we all share something in common, and that is that we all care deeply about our children, and we all want our children to succeed.
However, what is the best way to help our children?
Research suggests that when parents are involved some amazing things happen – children achieve at higher levels, have higher attendance rates and do better overall in school and in life.
The bonds established between home and school can be powerful in terms of the effectiveness of any classroom. When parents become partners in the classroom, students are afforded a wealth of exciting educational possibilities.
As you meet your child’s new teachers and send them off on the first day of school, here are some tips to get the year off to a great start:
- Open the lines of communication. Send an email or a note to your child’s teacher introducing yourself. This is a great idea, even if you meet him or her at open house. Throughout the school year, don’t wait for parent-teacher conferences to follow-up on your child’s progress – feel free to schedule time with your child’s teacher, as needed, to support their learning.
- Share information about your child. Make sure the teacher knows your child’s greatest strengths, skills and challenges. In doing so, it will provide the teacher with important information that can be used to support your child’s learning.
- Partner with the school. Volunteer in the classroom, if you can, but if you can’t – which is the case for a lot of us – see if there are other ways you can help. In many cases, the greatest support is needed at home – encouraging academics at home, setting high expectations and expressing the importance of reading each day.
- Sign up for GPA. Guilford Parent Academy is a department of GCS, which was created to help forge the important partnership between families and educators. Through GPA, families can receive a wealth of information to support the success of students. Sign up online here.
More About GPA
GPA provides information and training on a variety of topics for parents, grandparents and family members caring for children and young people in Guilford County. Planned by parents and a diverse team of educators and community members, GPA is designed to help parents help their children succeed.
GPA has three major components:
- Learning Experiences/Events. GPA offers workshops and special events for parents and connects them to information and resources. Events include Family Fun Day, Reading with Curious George, STEM Forensics Night and more.
- Information. GPA is a one-stop shop for parents to learn how they can support their children. The website houses and organizes a multitude of information in an easily accessible way, including FREE 24/7 online tutors, interactive academic tutorials and informational videos on social/emotional topics.
- Connections to Support and Resources. Creating access to parent resources and making it easier for parents to navigate the school system are of paramount importance to GPA. GPA is also a point of connection for parents to various resources offered by partnering organizations throughout Guilford County.
When parents have questions about how to help their children, GPA has answers. We are here to help our fellow parents navigate through the school-age years. We hope you will see what we have to offer and join us at an upcoming event or take advantage of our online resources.
Lindsay A. Whitley has been the director of Guilford Parent Academy, a department of Guilford County Schools, since 2013. Prior to joining GCS, Lindsay served as the director of communications and family engagement for Montgomery County Schools in Troy, NC.