Written by Patricia Hawke for

No one can deny that it is important for parents to be involved in their child’s education.  It is a widely known and rarely disputed fact that kids whose parents are involved in their child’s school do better than those whose parents are not. Parental involvement increases and boosts student achievement. End of story. Or is it?
Many parents today have to work, whether they are heads of single-parent or two-parent families. Atlanta Public Schools parents are no exception. They know that if they want to give their children support by contributing to their child’s learning environment, they must actually do something beyond telling the child in question to “go do your homework”. 
While lots of students will do extremely well despite their parent’s lack of involvement, all kids would do better WITH that involvement. Yes, helping with homework is important, and for the struggling student, is vital. For even the highest achieving Atlanta Schools student will benefit from parents who work on homework with them. The child will feel that their parent loves and supports them, and is interested in what he or she has been doing all day.
This past school year, in August 2006, the Atlanta Schools education board gave the go-ahead for the formation of a Parental Involvement Task Force. The main purpose of this organization is to identify strategies which increase Atlanta Schools parental involvement. Their ultimate goal is to improve student achievement. This initiative by Atlanta Schools demonstrates yet another key factor in getting parents to participate in the schools at higher levels. Showing that they are determined to get their parents more involved, Atlanta Schools are taking the topic to the administrative levels. This move demonstrates that Atlanta Schools leaders are aware of and believe in the importance of getting – and keeping – parents involved in the schools. 
Of course, helping with homework or simply reading aloud with a child (at any age, even with teenagers) shows enormous benefit to the child. But getting out there in their children’s school by volunteering in the classroom, front office, library, and for special events is vital.  Physically being there shows the student (and their friends) that the parent is interested and wants to know what’s going on in the place their child spends most of their time.
The Atlanta Schools parental committee, a sub-committee of the Parental Involvement Task Force, is present at each elementary, middle, and high school throughout the Atlanta Schools area. Two parents and two faculty members from all Atlanta Schools are nominated to sit on this committee. Their objectives are to:
• Make recommendations to the Atlanta Schools Superintendent regarding parental, family and community involvement activities.
• Provide input to the annual parent/community report that will be submitted
to the Board of Education by the Superintendent.
It is obvious that the Atlanta Schools are aware of the necessity to increase parental involvement, with the ultimate goal of improving student achievement.