I didn’t know how I was going to learn, because there weren’t many English Language Learning (ELL) courses in my school when I was growing up. I lived in fear that I would come home from school and my parents would be gone because we were undocumented. My entire childhood, I worried.
Kids in Indianapolis schools are worried about similar things as me. Only 79.52% of IPS students graduated in 2018 and 14% of those graduated with a waiver (meaning the student didn’t meet all qualifications for graduating but were waived on through to get their high school diploma.). Every 26 seconds, a new kid drops out of school. By the time you’ve finished reading my story, a few kids will have decided to give up on their futures.
But as a community and as parents, we can support our kids through the fears and worries.
I want to show you how to be an advocate for your children, because you can be the force that drives them to succeed and advocate for them to have the supports they need.
These are five things I teach parents in Stand University for Parents (Stand UP) classes to help them encourage and engage with their children:
- Create a home study space and make studying a priority. Good study habits are important to instill as early as possible. A space for your child to study can put him or her in the right mindset. This space can be any corner of a room or part of your dinning table with all the tools they need to study.
- Create a sustainable reading routine at home. Children who can’t read by the start of the fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school and will likely remain behind their peers academically in later school years. Reading just 20 minutes a day with your child can keep them on track.
- Talk about college and career paths as soon as possible. No matter how young your child is, start talking with them about college and career options. Encourage your child to dream and to make plans for those dreams.
- Get Involved with your child’s school. By talking to your child’s teacher regularly, you’ll be able to better assess how you can help your child at home and with their academic needs. You can ask for accommodations, additional reading, or additional homework as needed based on your child’s performance.
- Take action. Stand UP – a free class, open to all parents – teaches parents how to get involved. You have a voice to make positive changes in your child’s school. Stand UP parents often end up speaking to legislators or school board members about policies that will affect their child’s education. For parents that don’t want to speak, many parents take other online actions. If you want to get involved with Stand for Children, signup to volunteer with us.
I am at Stand for Children Indiana and teaching Stand UP because I know that when we encourage our kids and when we learn to advocate for them, we see their grades, attendance, self-esteem and even probability of graduating rise.