Get involved in our schools

Published 11:56 pm Friday, August 20, 2010

For a school to be successful, it takes an effort of the entire community. Andalusia High School is no exception. As educators, we continually talk about the need for more community and parental involvement in our schools. We must find ways to make this happen so that our students are better prepared to be productive citizens.

Many think we should go back to the basics. Others think that because “our times, they are a’changing,” that we should forgo old-fashioned ideas of rote memory and let students soar, create, and explore.

We will sometimes disagree on aspects of how our schools should be operated. However, most people will agree that parents, community, and school must work together for our school to be successful. With this triangle of involvement, our school becomes not only a strong structure in the community, but a vital part of our family units and businesses.

All parents, guardians, and friends must take an interest in our students. Recent studies show that as population trends change and America ages, as many as 80 percent of community members do not currently have a child in school. Schools are then likely to become less of a priority for the community as a whole. The community must take an interest in the school and its students because the school belongs to the community. Although you may not have a child in school, Andalusia High School students are your neighbors, your employees, your relatives….they are this community’s future.

During a child’s high school years, many students do not want their parents involved in their school activities. Without involvement, parents lose touch with the school and their child’s academic and social progress. It is imperative to a student’s success for parents to be actively involved in their child’s school. Many students at Andalusia High School are very capable, but can be even more so with the support of their family, friends, and community.

Collaboration between many groups is already taking place at Andalusia High School. Many businesses are helping with ad sales for various publications on campus. We are fortunate to have volunteers who give their time and resources to support the fine arts and extracurricular activities. Andalusia High School had a tremendous outpouring of support from our students, parents, alumni, and business partners during our “AHS Work Day” this month. We have a set of fine volunteers (Volunteers in Schools) from our community that help out each week at the school, during school instruction time and during after school activities. Our Bulldog Booster and Band Booster clubs have always and continue to be hugely supportive of our band and athletic programs.

These working relationships between the community and Andalusia High School must continue to be strengthened and new strategies developed for the school and community to prosper. All working relationships among various businesses, civic groups, church groups, and parent groups must continue to focus on improving academic achievement for all students and encouraging a sense of pride for our school and community. This focus will show great results when we are involved at times when the need is more important than our convenience or relative to our own personal interests. We must have this focus and commitment for our school and our students to produce prepared young adults for the 21st century.

I encourage everyone in our community to work together to make Andalusia High School a school that is a vital part of our community. We must pull together in the best interest of our students to make our school and community a better place for all.

The following are some suggestions for parent and community members to become more involved in our school this year:

• Attend Parent Night at Andalusia High School on Aug. 23, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Meet student’s teachers and school staff and learn individual course expectations.

• Remember progress and report card dates printed in our student handbook: Progress reports will be distributed to students on Sept. 9, Nov. 10, Feb. 10, and April 21. Report cards will be distributed Oct. 14, Jan. 6, March 17, and June 2. Parent/teacher conferences can be scheduled through the school office at 222-7569.

• Remember the following dates for the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE): Seniors, Sept. 20-24 and Dec. 6-10; Grades 9-12, Feb. 28-March 4. Students can practice for the AHSGE. Call the guidance office to see which sections your child needs to complete.

• Volunteer for the Parent Leadership Team (PLT). Contact Janet Atkinson at 222-2346 or Maria Smith at 222-7569.

• Encourage and participate in school sponsored club, arts, and athletic events.

• Call the school office for a conference if your student is experiencing difficulties.

• If you do not understand some aspect of a school program, call the school office and ask about them.

• Focus on what we can all do when we work together.

Andy Pride…Catch It!

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare is principal of Andalusia  High School.