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Friday, April 25, 2014

Involvement of parents remain low in many public schools
Sablan: About 300 students absent each day in class

Despite efforts to encourage greater parental involvement, many public schools still experience low participation of parents in their children’s educational activities even as about 300 students are absent each day.

This was learned during the Public School System’s annual Parents Summit Friday where about 200 stakeholders took part in the whole-day session.

Parent-leader Vic Cepeda believes that school leaders should do more to encourage greater parental involvement in public schools.

In the many years that he had been involved in PTSA in many schools, Cepeda can’t hide his disappointment with the situation of many teachers-parents organizations.

“I’ve been around for many years in our schools’ PTSAs. But up to this time, I feel sad that there remains the problem about parental involvement. Many schools still have a very low participation of parents,” Cepeda told the crowd.

Cepeda cited as an example the disappointing truth at Saipan Southern High School’s PTSA, where only about 10 parents usually show up for meetings. The school has an enrollment of over 800 every school year.

“We need to improve our numbers because parents play a pivotal role in the education of their kids. Home is the first school for our children so let’s do something about it,” he said.

He is, however, proud of the good showing of the Hopwood Junior High School PTSA. He said the high parental participation in Hopwood is so far the best he remembers.

According to Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan, children are every parent’s greatest achievement. The amount of involvement in a child’s educational activities is a determining factor of their success, not only in their education but in their future as well.

“Sometimes, just being there to celebrate makes a lot of difference for our kids. It significantly contributes to improved student outcomes,” said Sablan, who cited as an example the GES PTA members’ presence when the school inaugurated a new six-classroom building last year.

Proper parental involvement, she said, not only increases student outcomes but results in better attendance and more lessons are completed consistently.

Sablan revealed that in PSS, about 300 students are out of their classes each day. This translates to 3 percent of the over 10,000 enrollees in public schools every year. She urged parents to simply call schools whenever their children are absent for the day’s class. This, she said, is part of parental involvement expected by the school system.

“There will be more connections between home and school, we will see fewer behavioral problems and we can expect a higher graduation rates,” she added.

To be an effective parent-leader, parents too must be accountable and enrich themselves through trainings, she said.

“You should knock on doors. You ask the hard questions and engage other parents,” she added.

BOE acting chair Lucy Blanco-Maratita, meantime, encouraged parents to take advantage of the training and program opportunities offered by PSS to help them become better parents. She assured that BOE and PSS will always be around to assist parents in making a difference in their children’s lives.

Blanco-Maratita also encouraged parent leaders to make going to school exciting for their children every day.

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