President's Message - October 2008

posted Oct 3, 2008, 9:52 PM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Feb 3, 2009, 3:07 PM ]
We all have concerns about school. Your Hayfield Secondary PTSA exists to help deal with those concerns, whether it’s with the Administration, the faculty, another student or something else here at Hayfield. Luckily, at Hayfield we rarely have concerns with the Administration or faculty. We’re truly blessed in that way. Even so, most of us are concerned with our child’s schooling.

Want to know something that you, as parents, can do to improve your child’s performance in school? Something simple, and easily within reach? All you have to do is start insisting that your children fully apply themselves to their studies—and commit yourself to doing your part. That means making sure they do all the work expected of them as well as their abilities allow. It also means making sure everything at home stands behind these principles and supports the idea of learning.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is. Many of you are already doing this. All should.

You’ve probably heard that Parents or Guardians are the largest factor in student success, more than any one school or teacher or even Principal. Let me quote from a meta-study by Michigan’s Department of Education: “The most consistent predictors of children’s academic achievement … are parent expectations of the child’s academic attainment and satisfaction with their child’s education at school. Parents of high-achieving students set standards for their children’s educational activities.”

Income doesn’t matter. Parental education doesn’t matter. There are no real barriers here. Any family can insist that schoolwork be Job Number One. Tell your kids that you have no doubt they can do well, and that, in fact, you expect it of them. Let everything in your home revolve around their success in school. Repeat this message regularly, and communicate this to teachers and administrators, making it clear to them that you want to be kept well-informed. Believe me, they will be very glad to hear this, and will move mountains to work with you—especially here at Hayfield. Make your first move tonight.

Resist the impulse to help too much with homework. Think about it—would your doing pushups make them any stronger? The same applies to schoolwork—including science projects. Let them do the work. Be available for consultation, of course, but let them do the learning.

Finally, remember that incentives matter. Blowing off school must have a high cost — I feel that extracurricular activities should hinge on school performance — but this is each family’s decision. And don’t simply rely on the FCPS minimum grade requirements to substantiate performance, either. Have your own expectations and apply them.

Our kids will form lots of habits over the years, some good and some bad. Isn’t it great that doing well in school can be one of them?

Dick Reed
Hayfield Secondary PTSA President