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Christopher D.

Krupp Study Group Reflection Clarion University, ED 563 Fall 2013

The study group semester assignment was a very enlightening experience. It forced me to step outside of the high school bubble that I currently work in and explore and think about how colleagues at other levels work with promoting literacy and other necessary skills to their unique population of students. I found it to be very interesting to learn about the different ways which we looked at similar topics and how our current and prior classroom experiences have shaped what we do and how we work with our students. Spending most of my teaching career in an alternative classroom, I always find it interesting to see how different the classrooms and students of other teachers are. I was especially interested in reading the responses I received from my study group. My group dealt with ways to get parents more involved in the classroom and how parental involvement can help to increase students academic achievement. Spending almost my entire teaching career working with high school aged population with behavior problems, I have been able to see firsthand the differences in both my students academics and behaviors when students parents are involved and take ownership and some responsibility for their sons and daughters behavior and academic achievement. Based off of the feedback and other comments which were left for me after my classmates completed my study group, I was very impressed with how they were using different means to keep in contact with parents/guardians and to have them play a role in their childs development. It seemed that most of my colleagues who chose to participate in the group were

either teaching at the elementary level or were long term substitutes. I was very, very impressed that these people took the time to find different and creative ways to not just contact parents and to keep them informed of what was going on, but to actually get them involved in what their son or daughter was doing. I enjoyed hearing about these things because most of my students parents are not involved which as studies show have a negative effect on student academic performance and behavior. What I mentioned above led me to what I believe is the question that I would most like to either have answered or find the answer to. What happens between elementary school and high school that causes parents to become less involved in their son or daughters school? I have asked colleagues who have both elementary and high school age students this question and they believe that there are many different factors which influence this change. The one thing which was mentioned right away by many of the people I discussed this with was the idea that by the time students hit high school age many parents feel that the their son/daughter should be taking more ownership for different factors in their life, and school often becomes one of the things which parents distance themselves from. Another factor which was mentioned was the theory that parents focus goes away from the high age student and begins to focus more on the lives of younger siblings. The second explanation would help to explain the shift that occurs between elementary and high school. I agree with both of the above being valid reasons for the shift, but in my experiences in dealing with older students and their parents, I found that one of the biggest factors contributing to the lack of involvement is the socio-economic situation of the family. Many of my students come from homes where either none or both parents work. In the situation where both parents work, I believe the problem becomes that there are not enough hours in the day for these parents

to work their jobs and also be involved in what is going on in their childs academic lives. The opposite end of that spectrum is where neither parent works. This situation often is due to medical problems or just a lack of motivation to get a job. In either case, the education of their child is far down on their personal priority list which leads to keeping in contact or being involved with their childs classroom far down on the list as well. As studies have shown, having parents involved and active in the school lives of their children goes a long way toward helping those students achieve academic success. From looking at both the feedback I received from my project along with the outside research I have done on this topic I believe that elementary and preschool age teachers do a much better job of this than secondary level teachers. There are many circumstances which cause this, but finding a way to get parents/guardians more involved in the classroom could be ways to help students (and school districts) perform better on the standardized tests which all students and teachers are now being judged on.