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The Importance of Community Involvement in Schools by Jesus Zeus Salas

Jesus Salas

Jesus Zeus Salas with Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho

Although Jesus Zeus Salas has made a name for himself as an award-winning, 20-year veteran of the Spanish-language broadcasting industry, he has taken a recent interest in improving educational opportunities for students in the greater Miami metro area. In light of his recent work with the Miami-Dade County Public School Juvenile Justice Center, Jesus Zeus Salas offers the following insight into why community involvement in schools is so important.

  • Numerous studies have shown that schools do better with community involvement. Drop-out rates are lower and student motivation levels are higher at schools with high community involvement, regardless of whether involvement takes place at the elementary or high school level and regardless of the economic status of the school or its students.
  • With budget cuts, many schools are not getting the support from local municipalities and governments that they need to succeed, and many of the programs that most appeal to students (such as art, music, and sports) are disappearing. Community lobbying, through writing letters to local government officials or attending school board meetings, can help preserve the systemic integrity of public school districts.
  • Community-based initiatives can often help students offer services that can help underprivileged students succeed, such as health clinics, after-school tutoring, book donation programs, and extra meal services. Volunteer hours and resources from parents, friends, and local professionals can make a world of difference for a student who may not have access to appropriate care at home.
  • When open lines of communication exist between parents, teachers, and administrators, school can be “brought home” far more easily. Many working parents don’t have the opportunity to get up to a child’s school for meetings, but regular contact through notes or brief conversations can help parents become more aware of any behavioral issues, homework expectations, and school policies. Likewise, teachers can learn more abut factors at home that may be affecting a student’s ability to perform at school.

For these reasons and more, it’s crucial that parents and local community members get involved in their schools. Today’s students are the leaders of tomorrow, and they deserve that every effort be invested in their success, betterment, and well-being. If you’re interested in finding more information about why community involvement is so important, or examples of ways that you can get involved with the schools in your own community, consider taking a look at the online resources listed below.

www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB11_ParentInvolvement08.pdf

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/community-parent-involvement-essential-anne-obrien

http://teaching.about.com/od/ParentalInvolvement/ht/Promoting-School-Support-Throughout-Your-Community.htm

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/familycommunity/index_sub1.html

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