Parent volunteers wanted in Jordan
December is the month parents scramble to check off their children's Christmas wish lists. The Jordan School District wants to add one thing to that list that won't cost money: Educators want your gift of time.
WEST JORDAN — December is the month parents scramble to check off their children's Christmas wish lists. The Jordan School District wants to add one thing to that list that won't cost money: Educators want your gift of time.
Parent involvement is documented as one of the biggest problems facing schools. With that in mind, district administrators chose the busy month of December to recruit volunteers for every one of their 23 elementary schools.
In her class at Riverton Elementary, third-grade teacher Raegan Fay has multiple volunteers in her classroom almost every day.
"The child looks so forward to having their parents volunteer," she said.
Kaleb Johnson enthusiastically backed up his teacher. He said he loves it when his mom comes to provide one-one-one reading, help with art projects, or make copies.
"I like it because then she can meet all my friends, and it's less for teacher to do," Kaleb said.
Fay recognizes parents help her take on projects she otherwise couldn't do alone. But research shows the true beneficiary of this "gift of time" is Kaleb.
University of Michigan researchers have documented, parent involvement boosts grades, attendance and test scores. Parent involvement is also two-times more predictive of academic success than socioeconomics.
Parents can also gain an insight into their child and his or her education that is hard to get any other way.
"I get to sit in the back of the class and see what's going on in the class," said Kolett Johnson, Kaleb's mother. "It gives me a really good opportunity to know what's going on in his life."
The long list of benefits when parents volunteer are proven out in research and in the classroom. By spending even a little time in the classroom, educators say, parents send a message that school is important.
"No amount of help is too small," Fay said.
To add incentive during this busy month, KSL's Read Today initiative has partnered with the Jordan School District. The school that gets the most volunteers before Christmas wins a pizza party.
And yes, parents are invited to that too.