With students across the state returning to school this month, Gov. Dave Heineman and First Lady Sally Ganem are encouraging parents to be more involved in their children's education. Gov. Heineman has proclaimed August to be Parental Involvement in Education Month in Nebraska.
"Working together, parents and teachers can maximize students' strengths and reinforce each other's efforts to help children succeed in school and in life," said First Lady Sally Ganem, a former elementary school teacher and principal. "Good teachers combined with strong parental involvement leads to good learning. We see the positive difference it can make in the life of a young Nebraskan."
Studies show that when parents are involved in a child's education, student attendance increases, student attitudes and accomplishments improve, and discipline problems decrease. This generally holds true regardless of a family's socio-economic status, education level or cultural background.
"It's important for parents to be actively involved in their children's learning," said Gov. Heineman. "Involvement doesn't mean parents must be experts in math and science, but it does mean taking actions like setting high expectations, creating space at home where children are able to focus and learn, and meeting with teachers while taking an active interest in a child's educational achievements.
Governor Heineman continued, "I hope parents will make an effort during the school year to work with their child's school to identify resources that exist to support student learning in all Nebraska communities."
Governor Heineman and the First Lady highlighted several projects of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation promote parental involvement throughout the State and support ways communities and parents can work together to help students learn and grow. These include:
Sixpence grant programs, where parents across the state are empowered with information they need to support children's education from birth through age three -- critical years when early learning can pave the way for future success in school.
Beyond School Bells, a program that supports community-driven efforts for parents to become more involved in the educational experiences happening outside of the classroom.
An opportunity for learning in the community will take place at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, where parents and children can learn how the application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM courses, provide the foundation for much of our modern society. STEM education opportunities will be located throughout the fair and will be featured at Nebraska's Largest Classroom, held at the Nebraska State Fair on Aug. 25th, 26th and the 28th.
"A parent's involvement in a child's education remains one of the most important factors in a child's success in school," said Jeff Cole, Vice President for School-Community Partnerships for Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. "We know that the structure and hectic pace of family life today presents many challenges for parents to participate in traditional parent involvement activities at their children's schools. That is why Nebraska Children and Families Foundation believes it is vital for schools to work with community groups to develop new opportunities so all parents can be engaged in supporting their student's education."