Becoming a School Leader
Parents are their children’s first teachers. Many feel inadequate on how to become a school leader. Some parents may have had a negative experience in their own academic experiences. Others may have attended school in another country. By participating in their children’s classrooms, parents can learn how to help their children at home with their homework and school projects. Parents can share their own skills, hobbies, and cultural experiences with students in the classroom. Additionally, children will respect their parents’ presence at the school and feel important. Parent classroom volunteers can:
- Provide food donations when requested and help prepare meals with the students.
- Donate classroom supplies requested by the teacher and prep curricular projects at home for classroom use.
- Serve as a classroom parent representative to provide added support for class parties, field trips, and grade-level events.
- Share a talent or hobby in small group learning centers.
- Mentor and shadow new classroom parent volunteers.
- Provide interpretation and translation support for parent volunteers and students
Classroom parent volunteers will be able to:
- Gain insight in how their children are adjusting to the new school year with their classmates and the academic course work.
- Observe how the teacher is coaching and interacting with various students when responding to diverse educational challenges.
- Advocate effectively with teachers and staff because they have an established relationship and committed partnership with the school community.
School Leadership Roles
As parents become experienced classroom volunteers, many will receive leadership training from teachers and parent mentors to expand their volunteer leadership at the school. Parents can become school leaders and support the school by:
- Serving as a parent representative on school and district committees
- Participating in the school’s Parent, Teacher, and Student Association (P.T.S.A.)
- Supporting a school’s fundraising foundation with fundraising and sponsorship events
- Soliciting and advocating for added community partnerships at the school site through community-based organizations and local businesses
- Leveraging added instructional support services by organizing special events, field trips, and community service projects for students and their families
- Creating a school-based performing arts program with local artists, museums, and community theaters
- Expanding physical fitness and nutritional programs with community-based organizations and sports groups
As parents partner and expand their roles at school, they will become more confident in supporting their children’s academic needs and successes.
Mary Ann Burke, Ed.D., Digital Education Expert, is a substitute distance learning teacher for Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California and the author of STUDENT-ENGAGED ASSESSMENT: Strategies to Empower All Learners (Rowman & Littlefield: 2020). Dr. Burke creates digital language arts and substitute teaching K – 12 activities for teachers and parents. She is the Cofounder of the Genparenting.com blog. Burke is the former Director II of Categorical & Special Projects for the Santa Clara County Office of Education that supports 31 school districts serving 272,321 students in Santa Clara County. She is also a previous Director – State & Federal Compliance for Oakland Unified School District, the former Director – Grantwriter for the Compton Unified School District, and was the initial VISTA Director for the Community Partnership Coalition in southern California. Much of her work focuses on creating innovative digital trainings and partnership programs for teachers and families to support students’ learning. These programs were featured as a best practice at a National Title I Conference, California’s Title I Conferences, AERA Conferences, an ASCD Conference, the NASSP Conference, and statewide educator conferences.