School success a team effort

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 4, 2012

It’s that time of year again.

Starting next week, morning commuters will be joined by bright yellow school buses as children across the River Parishes head back to school. Students in St. James Parish start classes Monday while students in St. John the Baptist Parish start Thursday. Students in St. Charles Parish get a few more days of summer as they begin classes Monday, Aug. 13. But regardless of the start date, the mission is the same, learn more, achieve more, be more.

Great strides have been made in St. John and St. James parishes over the past few years, while St. Charles Parish has enjoyed being one of the state’s elite school districts for some time. All past achievement, however, is just that — in the past. Each new school year wipes the slate clean, and every student gets the chance to start anew.

That has never been truer than this year, as education reform passed during the most recent legislative session will bring many changes to the classrooms of Louisiana’s public schools. Students will have to adjust to a more stringent core curriculum while teachers will have to adjust to heightened standards of evaluation.

While adjusting to these changes will certainly take a little extra effort from students and teachers alike, a successful school year relies on work beyond the school walls. Parents play a large part in a student’s and school’s success. Involvement in your child’s school life will help your child stay on track. Know where your children are, especially on school nights. Make sure they have done their homework as well as their household chores. Monitor their behavior for signs of distress. And participate in school functions — this will not only help the school but will also provide a good example for your children.

The community as a whole plays a role as well. Support the efforts of the school system. While you may not agree with every decision made, pointless negativity does nothing but lower morale; it does not offer any solutions. Also, be on the lookout for children on the streets when they should be in school. Turning a blind eye is the same as consenting. If you see a student you suspect of truancy, call the local school board office and report it. You will be helping those students in the long run.

It may be the students and the schools receiving the grades for academic achievement or lack thereof, but it is the community as a whole that benefits from their successes or declines along with them.