A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: When parents engage with schools, children and their communities prosper


By Helen Carroll
Special to KyForward

There is no greater influence in a child’s life than parenting. The people we become rests on the foundation of our parents’ love, care and choices they make about how we grow, learn and prosper.

Parents’ involvement in school is critical to that foundation and has lasting impacts on the parents themselves, their children and their communities.

For 280,000 Kentucky children, Pre-K through grade 12 education takes place in one of our state’s 173 public school districts. The way children encounter school and perform in class is a recipe with many ingredients – school social climate and instructional culture, teacher competence, academic and extracurricular opportunities and more.

At the core of these school-centered influences is what happens at home, the anchor-point for a child’s sense of well-being and accomplishment.

In order for children to succeed in school and in life, parents must be aware of and attuned to all of the challenges and opportunities that confront children’s days at school. From tentative first steps in preschool through high school graduation day and beyond, children thrive when parents are informed and engaged.

For the last 20 years in Kentucky, a major force in teaching parents how to navigate public school on behalf of their children has been the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and their Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (GCIPL), a nationally recognized program to help parents become more effective education advocates.

The institute was conceived and launched by the Committee in 1997 to equip parents to be successful advocates for schools and students. Institute workshops explain Kentucky’s public education standards and systems, suggest ways parents can form more productive relationships with teachers and school administrators and build community partnerships that improve achievement for all students.

Partners in transforming schools and communities

Graduates of the institute become essential partners in positively transforming Kentucky’s schools and communities through such leadership opportunities as service on school boards and committees and as informed public school advocates. To date, more than 2,500 parents have completed GCIPL training.

GCIPL’s reason for being is simple – when parents are involved, everyone benefits – students have better grades and higher graduation rates, parents have more confidence in public schools and teachers have higher morale that contributes to better in-class performance. In short, the whole community prospers when parents are actively engaged in their children’s education, because school success means life success.

Northern Kentucky parents will have the opportunity to investigate what it means to be truly engaged with their children’s education at a free GCIPL leadership “basecamp” on Saturday, April 29 in Florence.

The basecamp teaches parents tools to help make sense of Kentucky’s public education system, offers information about specific education initiatives in Northern Kentucky, and shares strategies to help parents build all-important relationships with teachers and school administrators.

The basecamp

The one-day basecamp is an important first step parents can take to focus on their children’s achievement, learn how to take active roles in public education and build relationships that benefit all children.

Children are our future. When they grow, learn and achieve, our communities prosper. That prosperity is ignited when parents learn to lead and become deeply involved with their children’s education.

To learn more or register for the GCIPL Basecamp, go to http://tiny.cc/gciplbasecamp or contact Helen Carroll, NKY Parent Leadership Coordinator at carroll.proplan@outlook.com or 859-982-4943.

Helen Carroll is owner of Carroll Project Planning, a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations and a former Prichard Committee member with extensive experience in public education. She leads GCIPL engagement activities for the Prichard Committee in Northern Kentucky.  


Related Posts

Leave a Comment