Friday, September 16, 2011

School Principal: Is Your School worth Saving? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

School Principal: Is Your School worth Saving? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Principals, as you have begun the new school year, have you incorporated ways to insure that your school continues to remain open and functioning? You are the leader everyone looks to for direction.

The greatest asset to your school is Parents; they are decision makers for their children, they vote and they have a voice although many may not use either to their greatest advantage. They can become your greatest advocate, but cannot support you, your school or program if they are not knowledgeable about the educational process, informed, included and/or involved. As the education scene continues to change, do not keep Parents out of the loop any longer.

Even though Choice in Education abounds, there will always be room and a need for the public school setting. For most part the social ability factor here is unique. The public school setting brings individuals from diverse backgrounds; provide social human contact and the opportunity for students to maintain their individuality perhaps better here than in any of the other educational settings.  

Parents can be instrumental in keeping your school open and functioning. Listed are 8 (eight) things you can do to begin winning Parents’ cooperation and/or forging the school-parent relationship. Administrators, have a good school year!

ü  Have you gotten to know any of your Parents and what they do (occupations)? Some Parents deliver and pick up their children from school. Are you outside greeting those Parents in the mornings and/or afternoons?

ü  Is your school and environment pleasing and pleasant? When students and Parents enter their school, are the floors clean and the bulletin boards decorated and decorative? Are you and your staff professionally dressed?

ü  Have you met with the PTA/PTO President and each of you shared your school year goals?

ü  Do you support the PTA/PTO programs; do you and faculty attend PTA/PTO meetings? If you do not have a PTA/PTO, have you identified Parents who could become influencers?

ü  Have you extended an invitation for Parents to sit school committees?

ü  Have you asked Parents for their opinions/suggestions regarding school matters?

ü  When opportunities arise, do you support Parents and their children outside the school building?

ü  Are you cognizant of specific reasons Parents are not involved with their children’s education/school and what is your plan for getting and keeping Parents involved?

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder

Parents Taking Charge in Education

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Gift of Giving: Providing Opportunities for your Child to Give Back to Society by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

The Gift of Giving: Providing Opportunities for your Child to Give Back to Society by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents, it is never too early to teach your child/ren the importance of giving back to society and providing opportunities for your child to help those who are less fortunate and cannot give a gift in return of financial value.

Some years ago, giving back to society by helping others was a common practice provided predominantly by or through the following:

1.      Siblings- when households consisted of 5, 7 or more brothers and/or sisters one learned to share and/or assist, which expanded outside the home. Now that many parents have reduced the number of offspring to 1-2, individuality has emerged and many children do not learn or practice the art of sharing as much as in the past.

2.      Church- the practice of helping others were taught and learned at an early age.

3.      Parents (grandparents) - often set the example by helping others and getting their children involved likewise.

4.      Neighbors (community) - Many among the elderly who desired to remain in their homes had no fear of being placed in a nursing home as long as the community was filled with families with children. Children became the neighbors’ golfers (go for it). If the elderly needed errands run, assistance in the home, transportation, the community and often the Church rose to the challenge and assistance was forthcoming from Parents and their children.

Parents, when you try too often to impress upon your child/ren verbally how much they possess (from a material standpoint); how much they take for granted the roof over their head(s), food, and the support and care you provide, do not be surprised if you hear muttering, grumbling and mumblings of “oh no, not again” or you get exasperated looks from your child/ren. In fact you may find yourself talking to empty air or even hear the child respond with “Dad or Mom, we know, we know!” and in the same breath ask, yet again for something else for him/herself. Now, you are exasperated! Some lessons are taught better through example and if important, should be implemented by you, the Parent.

Economic hardship permeates and abounds; there are those who are less fortunate than you and your family or I. Why not provide the opportunity during the upcoming holidays for your child/ren to give back. Parents, during the hectic holiday season, for some it is easier to write a check or donate to a charity. This season provide an opportunity for your child/ren to become involved. Their observation of your writing and signing a check does not count (smile), nor does a school related activity.

4 Ways to provide Opportunities for your Child/ren to give back to Society:

1.      Get your child/ren’s suggestions; it never ceases to amaze how innovative children can become.

2.      In the past, I have utilized various department stores’ Christmas gift-giving campaigns for children. After having viewed information listed for and on each child on a placard hung from a Christmas tree, one would select a placard(s), purchase a gift for the child, wrap and place the gift under the Christmas tree. Consider allowing your child to choose, purchase, and depending on age, wrap or assist you with wrapping his/her selected gift and leaving the gift (prevents the child from expecting the gift him/herself) where designated at the store. It should be interesting viewing what your child selects.

Note: It may also be necessary to place some financial limitations.

3.      Call a community organization, homeless shelter or nursing home - inquire of their need(s) during the holiday season; you and your child/ren can plan according to information obtained (perhaps even providing or participating in an activity or event).

4.      Many go to Church ceremonies during the holiday season - find a less fortunate family to provide gifts and/or a meal; donate food (you and your child/ren will purchase together) to holiday baskets that will be distributed, or distribute a basket or baskets. When your family sits down to your own family meal, you and your children will truly know and feel that you are truly blessed and/or fortunate.

5 Benefits your Child/ren may obtain through giving back and/or to those less fortunate; your child

1.      Focuses on others instead of self

2.      Can realize how blessed and/or fortunate he/she is from a material standpoint

3.      Can increase self-worth and/or give your child a purpose

4.      Can produce a good or warm fuzzy feeling from having helped someone less fortunate and made a difference

5.      May feel less guilty about his/her own abundance

The Holiday Season is rapidly approaching; begin planning with your child/ren now!

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder

Parents Taking Charge in Education

Friday, September 2, 2011

Building Confidence through New Experiences by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Building Confidence through New Experiences by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

“It is that we do well that gives us confidence to embrace new challenges and endeavors (Mrs. Dorothy Barron).

Can you assist your child with building confidence through new experiences? Certainly!

I want to share three reasons how new experiences can assist in this area.

Ÿ  New experiences can provide your child the opportunity to obtain knowledge on different topics, think independently and engage others in conversation with confidence.

Ÿ  New experiences can assists your child with becoming more self-assured and confident. 

Ÿ  New experiences can give your child the confidence to seek and accomplish even greater challenges upon having mastered previous experiences.

How do you feel when you have accomplished or mastered a challenge through a new experience? You feel great and most often ready to take on the world!

During my sixteen years as a parent school volunteer (7-9 years full-time), one of my primary goals consisted of introducing students to new experiences with the approval of Parents and/or school administrators. Parents, there are any number of tools and resources at your disposal to help you assist your child with building his/her confidence. I now want to share three past experiences with you.

                                           What’s in Your Food?

Many years ago, I served as 4-H Leader at an elementary school wherein emphasis was placed on health and nutrition. With the assistance of the school principal, 4-H students were taken to the grocery store. Students read product labels, noted and compared the nutritional value of and between various products. Such also provided the opportunity to practice Math and Reading skills. A menu had been compiled and students shopped. Social skills were utilized as we all worked together in preparation and enjoyment of the meal. Students having been a part of a positive experience in which they participated and accomplished gave them a sense of worth and increased confidence.

                                             Acts of Gallantry

At Middle School level with the invitation to conduct an Etiquette Workshop, a room was utilized to conduct the workshop. A beautiful table was set and students taught and provided the opportunity to practice setting the table (proper placement of silverware, glasses and plates). The young gentlemen seated the young ladies who suddenly became very shy and embarrassed (smile). The workshop was over and done, but evidently not what had been taught. One day as I walked down the hall, I glanced over my shoulder to view a small male student a good distance behind me. As I approached a school hallway door, suddenly someone zipped by me. When I looked forward again, the young male student had raced by in order to open the door for me. The young gentleman gave me a slight nod which indicated I was to precede him. I returned his acknowledgement with a nod, smile and “thank you.” The student strolled off a bit taller and prouder and I, proud of the young man’s achievement which increased his confidence and his act of gallantry.

                        Not on Top of the World Yet, but on Top of Atlanta

Not only have I served as a substitute teacher in both the public and private education sectors, I have taught Bible Class. My favorite age group level consists of students in Grades 5th-7th. They are in transitioning mode and more inquisitive. As a reward for a class of young ladies grades 5th-7th for having done a very good job in their Bible studies, I elected to provide a unique experience for them. Limousine reservations were made and the young ladies were treated to a fine dining experience at Atlanta’s Sun Dial Restaurant Westin Plaza (website info below). *The Sun Dial Restaurant is a unique experience within itself; it sits 723 feet above ground or 73 stories high and slowly revolves. As the young ladies comfort level of their surroundings grew, so did their confidence.

A word of caution: Parents, do not fail to expose your child to experiences simply because you are of the opinion the child will never have need of such. You do not know the opportunities of which your child may be presented in the future or you.

                               An Etiquette Activity Assignment

Parents, got a fork, knife, spoon and napkin (paper towel/piece of cloth)? Put them on the table along with a glass and plate. Allow your child to set the table (basic setting). If you have more than one child, allow each child to set his/her own place setting. If they do not have the experience or remember how, make it fun and interesting. Have them research via the internet. For those who do not have Internet at home, but at school, send a brief note to the teacher explaining your objective (you are teaching parenting skills) and make a request of the teacher to allow your child to briefly look up the information on the Internet at school. Have fun!

Parents Taking Charge in Education wishes to thank Mr. Anuj Sood, General Manager of the Sun Dial Restaurant Westin Plaza (Atlanta, Georgia) for having granted permission to include information about the restaurant in today’s post.

*The Sun Dial Restaurant Westin Plaza website: Architect design by Mr. John Portman.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder

Parents Taking Charge in Education