As an example, parents of 4th grade students recently joined their children in the science lab to help build rockets out of recycled 2-liter bottles and cardboard. To add a creative touch, they spray painted the rockets. Many of the same parents returned the following week to launch the rockets.
“JCDS offers a lot of opportunities to be involved throughout the year,” parent Michelle Bielmyer said as she helped finalized a rocket design. “There are opportunities in the classroom, outside the classroom, through sports, and in extracurricular activities.”
Mrs. Bielmyer, a parent of both a 4th grade and a Kindergarten student, said, “When children are first starting out at school, being involved helps with their comfort level.”
"Research shows that schools that have active parents are those that have successful students,” Head of School Pat Walker said. “We are so fortunate at JCDS that parents are a regular part of each day. From volunteers in classrooms to those who work tirelessly planning special events, our school and students benefit from each parent interaction. What a gift that our parents want to be at school."
According to the Center for Public Education, “It may be one of the least controversial statements in American education: Parent involvement can make a difference in a child’s education.” The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory reports that students with involved parents “earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs.” They have also been shown to “have better social skills” and “show improved behavior.”
“Involvement helps bridge the conversation between home and school. I have a better idea of what they mean when we are discussing things at school,” parent Stephanie Young said. Mrs. Young has three children who currently attend JCDS and one who is an alum. “Involvement also helps build a sense of community through getting to know the teachers and other parents.”
Outside of the classroom, the Parents’ Association builds a sense of community and raises funds for the school, while providing fun events for the students. These events include the Back to School Carnival and the Spring Fling. The Parents’ Association also raises funds and builds community at the annual Gala, and shows gratitude for the faculty and staff through regular appreciation events.
"One of the best things I've enjoyed about being a parent at JCDS is the fact that I am allowed to be an involved parent at the school. The key to success for any education is the participation and involvement of parents directly with the school,” Scott Folstein said. Mr. Folstein is the parent of a recent alum and a current 5th grade student. “Some of my fondest memories included the times of volunteering for in-class mystery reader and doing in-school projects with my kids."
Mr. Folstein has volunteered as an assistant coach for the Sharks soccer team for the last three years. Other parents volunteer as basketball, flag football, and volleyball coaches.
The volunteer program at JCDS offers many opportunities to parents for closer involvement in their child's education. Giving one's time is also a great way to help support the school.
At JCDS, classroom volunteers must attend a short training session to participate. Volunteers who have already attended a previous session are not required to do so again. The next classroom volunteer training session will be on January 12. Click here to learn more