Does parent support increase academic success?

Caylin Bell, Staff Writer

With parent-teacher conferences still fresh on everyone’s mind, many parents may be thinking about their student’s grades along with their behavior in class.  How much parental support is necessary for students to be successful?  

Mrs.Otto states that parental support will most definitely help if it’s the right kind of involvement. As researchers have found, students whose parents are involved in their academics seem to have a better outcome in their future endeavors. They may also get higher test scores, have better social skills, and develop self-confidence; they are also less likely to develop behavioral issues. Otto’s reflection on the behavioral issue subject is “there is no handbook to being the best parent. Our first teachers are always our parents. There is no handbook; I feel as though there are certain standards and expectations that parents set that will most certainly reflect in their students’ behavior.”

Sophomore Owen Kidder shares his belief that “parents should be engaged in their child’s education because it strengthens their bond with their children by showing concern.”  He shares that his relationship with his parents has evolved as he has gotten older. Owen understands that his parents have expectations of him and that they’ll check his grades consistently.  He didn’t do as well last year with online classes, but he has improved this year now that classes are in person.   He is intrinsically motivated to keep his grades up, but his parents’ support helps along the way. 

Junior Payden Mossolle agrees that having support in academics is helpful.  She believes that “children can only be guided by mentors. Then they grow to learn.”   Whether these mentors be parents or other adults here at school, encouragement and affirmation are important for academic success.

So how do parents strike a balance between positively encouraging their students academically, being too involved, or even teaching independence?

Mrs. Otto believes that it is a process. “Having taught in middle school for eighteen years and now at the high school as a counselor, I am noticing that the students who have the most academic success have parents who evolve. The high expectations of putting forth the student’s best effort to earn an education remain constant, but the approach changes from telling and modeling to more of a partnership that puts the student in the driver’s seat. Where in the younger years, a parent may have pulled up the grades and said “here is what you are earning” and then asked why. Now, the student pulls up their grades in PowerSchool and explains what the grades are and how they are earning them; or instead of the parent emailing the teacher, the parent now shows the student how to email the teacher.”    Where younger students need more support, older students need assistance becoming advocates for themselves.

Mrs. Lisa Mattson agrees. ” At the high school level, I believe parents should have regular (weekly) conversations with their students regarding current grades, happenings, and future plans.  Students at this level are developing into young adults and developing independence, it’s important for parents to allow this but to still remain informed.”

Our Concord students are blessed to have so many wonderful parents who truly care about their success.  So to those parents out there who are trying, keep checking in with your students and supporting them in striving for their goals.  Each of them truly appreciate your encouragement.