For many Native youth, the start of school is just around the corner! Many parents and students have probably completed at least part of their back to school shopping. A lot of students were probably walking up and down the aisles of Wal-Mart this past weekend thinking to themselves, "Summer went too fast!" For many, back to school means a new backpack, crayons, paper, shoes, lunchboxes and clothes. For some, however, budgets are tight and parents may not have been able to purchase everything that their child needs. That's why it's important to make sure that your child has/have everything they will need for another successful school year, even if it means making a few sacrifices.
Looking ahead at the upcoming school year, student success remains a priority for school administrators, teachers and parents. However, as parents, we must remember that our student's success rate does not depend solely on school staff. Parents play the largest role in the success of their students. Parents can help their children achieve success in many ways. Several ways parents can help take very little time and effort and should be a part of the daily routine anyway.
Guarantee your child is prepared for school the following day by assuring their homework is complete. Make sure your child goes to bed at a reasonable time and gets plenty of sleep. Most importantly, provide a well-rounded diet for your student. It's hard to learn when you are hungry. There is no reason to be hungry since many school districts guarantee all students are fed a nutritious breakfast and lunch by providing free and/or reduced breakfasts and lunches every school day.
Show interest in your child's education by regularly attending school events, volunteering at the school or attending school board meetings. The more you know about your child's school the more aware you are as both a citizen and a parent. Make sure that your child is also taking advantage of any after-school or before-school tutoring that is available.
Even if you completely disagree with your child's teacher or an administrator, never badmouth that individual in front of your student. Taking care of a situation proactively without badmouthing someone creates a positive outlook, which in turn creates successful results.
For those who don't have children or who don't have students in school, donation of time or much-needed school supplies can be your way of reaching out to those students in need. Please check with the school district(s) in your particular area for specific information related to volunteerism and donations of supplies.
Throughout all Navajo and Hopi reservation communities, we must partner with the school districts to secure the future of our community - some of our children might be living and working here for years to come. Hopefully, in 20-25 years, we will be happy that we all worked together and are proud of the end result.