Written by Patricia Hawke for

High School Rankings concern everyone. From the school board members on down through school administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and students, High School Rankings show, at a glance, how well a school is doing. Test scores on state and national tests, the successes of students with a low socioeconomic background, and how many students take advanced placement exams are all considered. If you look a bit further into the schools that are at the top of High School Rankings, you will most likely find that an active surrounding community is vital to the success of the schools that find themselves at the top of High School Rankings.
But what about the schools that are on the lower end of High School Rankings spectrum? How can getting the community and community leaders more involved in the school help improve their standings in High School Rankings? Well, the ways to help them are numerous.
For one, local businesses can donate money. Schools that are doing poorly, as reflected in High School Rankings, typically could use some more cash to implement programs that will help them improve. In several states, schools that are at the top of High School Rankings receive monetary bonuses; schools that are struggling receive nothing but shame, and the threat of closure. Supporting local schools with financial donations can help move the struggling school closer to improvement.
Another way those communities can help improve schools that are not at the top of High School Rankings is to donate supplies. Many kids go to school not able to afford basic school supplies, and the schools themselves often divert supply money to try to pay for special programs and teachers to implement them.
Perhaps the biggest and most important way to see improvement in a low-performing school listed at the bottom of High School Rankings for the community to help and support their schools is to donate time. So many kids that attend struggling schools are from single-parent homes, where moms or dads are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. If these kids have to go home after school and take care of younger siblings and do chores, they are less likely to study and do homework. If the family is poor, kids may be hungry, and that’s no way to learn. For kids like these attending schools low on the High School Rankings list, a tutor or mentor is invaluable. Tutors come to the school in question, working with an assigned student in their preferred subject. In other words, volunteer tutors can pick which subjects they’d like to help out in. Mentors can be paired with students to build relationships that they might otherwise lack. These mentors can come to the low-performing school on the High School Rankings list during the school day for lunch or elective classes, or meet up with their student after school. Many mentors get to know the student’s family as well and actually inspire them to get more involved in their child’s school. In addition, spending time with a mentor helps keep a teen out of trouble.