If back to school is the most wonderful time of the year for parents, school choice is perhaps the worse. Depending upon where you live, Friday was the last day to decide where to send your little ones or Monday is the first day to enter the lottery.
Even though names are supposed to be drawn at random, I’m not a big fan of the term lottery.
These days the term lottery implies winners and losers. And when it comes to education, there really shouldn’t be any losers.
In other columns I’ve mentioned that my younger son attends Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers in DeKalb County. And although it’s one of the best schools in the area (every student passed the most recent Georgia Milestones test), it didn’t get that way by luck.
Any given day, you’ll see parents helping out in various capacities. I’m a member of PTA’s executive board. I have several friends who serve on the School Council. There’s a group called All Pro Dads that helps with beautification, security and a host of other duties.
You’ll see teachers arriving early and staying late. You’ll also see the principal, Dr. Cornelia Crum, encouraging students to dream big and aim high.
If that’s all it takes for student success, every school in this country should produce outstanding overachievers. Right?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert on educational matters, but I have a good eye for patterns of success. And two things that I believe stand out at Wadsworth are parental involvement and discipline.
And when I say parental involvement, I’m not talking about tiger moms and helicopter dads. I mean parents who show up for PTA meetings and school assemblies. They are the same ones who check the parent portal every week to keep up with grades and make sure homework assignments are turned in on time.
Instead of pulling up to the curb and dropping their kids off every morning, they sometimes come into the building and meet with teachers.
I admit that it can be overwhelming. I work full time, have hobbies, like to hang out with friends and even watch TV on occasion. Even with my husband doing his part, we often feel like we need an extra day in the week just to get chores done, dinner cooked and homework checked.
But at the end of the day, it’s completely worth it.
So no matter what school your child or children attend, I challenge every parent to make the effort to spend more time helping making it the best it can be. Whether it’s making cupcakes for the bake sale, trimming bushes near the baseball diamond or helping in the carpool lane, every effort makes a difference.
Arlinda Smith Broady is editor of the County by county section. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.