Parent Clubs: The importance of Parent Involvement in Schools

When people think of public school parent clubs, they often picture a group of parents getting together to plan how to fundraise for school supplies, trips and other expenses. However, these clubs do so much more than help offset the costs of programs and resources. Supportive parent involvement is an integral part of creating a positive and nurturing school environment for students, families and staff.

Parent clubs are created with parent volunteers who want to help provide teachers the support they need both in and out of the classroom. They aim to establish strong partnerships between school and home making the school environment encouraging, educational and fun to its young learners.

The Boulder Creek Elementary School Parent Club is in the final days of its annual cookie dough sale. This fundraiser is one of its largest and provides the funds necessary to purchase more expensive items for the school, such as Lego Robotics kits for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) department. Because of parent involvement with these fundraisers and staff who generously donate their time, the Club usually meets or exceeds its goals. Typically, it raises an average of $35,000-40,000 per year through the Ducky Derby, cookie dough sales and other various fundraisers.

The Club has about two dozen dedicated members and four more on the Board. Depending on what events are going on throughout the year, the Board members can put in as much as 25 hours a week.

Parent Club members Aubrie Fulk, Bonnie Hyatt, Tricia Gunter and Natalia Wheeler are an integral part of making Boulder Creek Elementary a nurturing environment for students.

“All of our parents are great when it comes to volunteering their time, not only with our club but helping out in our classrooms,” says Boulder Creek Elementary Parent Club President Bonnie Hyatt. “Everyone is welcome to come be a part of all the fun and satisfaction of the changes we are making.”

Hyatt oversees the planning of fundraisers and events, presides over meetings, and coordinates committees as well as being a source of support for Club members. “I truly could not do anything without them,” she says. “I have never met such a great group of parents who are so absolutely willing to make our school better. This makes me want to work even harder alongside them!”

Another Parent Club goal is to set a good example for students. The hope is that they will observe parents and staff helping each other and then follow suit with their fellow classmates. Hyatt says, “I absolutely think that seeing their parents helping to make their school a better place will one day inspire them to make their world a better place.”

Hyatt, who started out as Parent Club Secretary, didn’t originally plan on being president but when the opportunity came up, she was eager to take on the role. Her own daughter was also an inspiration to become more involved. “When she began kindergarten, I knew I not only wanted to make her school the best I possibly could,” she says, “but I also wanted to have a presence on her school campus.”

Studies from organizations such as the Center for Public Education have found that students whose parents are involved with their school are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills and eventually graduate to go on to post-secondary education. They are also less likely to use drugs and alcohol.

Whether it’s through the school book fair, selling $2 snow cones during the Boulder Creek tennis game to support the team, the yard sale on behalf of Boulder Creek Relay for Life, or the Mother/Son Neon Dance Party, there are numerous ways to get involved and show your school spirit.

If you’re interested in finding out more, Hyatt suggests starting in the classroom to get to know your child’s teachers and their needs. Even small tasks such as grading papers or chaperoning a field trip can make a big difference. You can also attend a Parent Club meeting or a school event. Every person contributes to the overall success. The more parents that show up, the more voices can be heard and more ideas can be brainstormed.

“We are always looking for more great parents to help out!” Hyatt says.  

Serena Piper
About Serena Piper

Serena Piper is a graduate of the University of Oregon and part time preschool teacher. As a teacher, she believes educating children at an early age is the most powerful investment we can make in our future.

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