As summer begins to wind down in August, communities gear up for the start of a new school year. However, challenges faced by families who live in disinvested communities often go beyond back-to-school preparations. In this blog post, we explore the unique importance of getting ready for a new school year in historically disinvested communities and discuss how proactive preparation can empower families to overcome barriers and create a brighter academic future for their children.
- Break the Cycle of Disinvestment
In disinvested communities, students may face additional barriers to an equitable education, such as inadequate resources, underfunded schools, and limited access to basic and extra educational opportunities. By preparing for the new school year, families can take proactive steps to break the cycle of disinvestment. Advocating for better school funding, joining parent-teacher associations, or running for school board, and getting involved in community initiatives can make a significant impact on educational equity and improve learning conditions. Sharpen your leadership skills by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work as an advocate and volunteer! Did you know that school board members and parent leaders do not require any sort of college degree or specialized training? Are you smart, organized, and determined to bring out the best in your community? Get involved!
- Build Resilience and Determination
In communities facing adversity, getting ready for a new school year is sometimes an act of resilience and determination. For American families, organizing school supplies, setting academic goals, and discussing the value of education with their children, instills a sense of purpose and commitment to learning. For families living in an opportunity desert, placing a keen eye on preparation for school empowers students to overcome obstacles and persist in the face of challenges, fostering a strong mindset essential for academic success. When parents show they are invested in their child accessing the best education possible, children will react positively.
- Leverage Community Resources
Disinvested communities often have untapped local resources that can support students’ academic journeys. Families can collaborate with local organizations, community-based organizations, and mentors to provide additional educational support. Utilizing these resources helps bridge educational gaps and enhances students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom. Please plan to attend our Parent Education and Support series this school year. It is totally free, therapeutic childcare is provided at no cost to families, and dinner is served. All caregivers in the community raising children with a disability are welcome.
- Cultivate a Supportive Environment
In all communities, the support of family and community plays a crucial role in a student’s academic journey. Preparing for a new school year becomes an opportunity to foster a supportive environment at home. Engaging in consistent open communication with children, listening to their concerns, affirming their efforts, and offering encouragement can greatly boost their confidence and motivation to succeed academically.
- Navigate Education Systems
In many communities, navigating the education system can be challenging due to limited access to information and support. By preparing for the new school year, families equip themselves to understand academic requirements, advocate for their children’s needs, and seek available resources. This knowledge empowers families to play an active role in their children’s education and make informed decisions about their academic paths. If you require translation services, ask for them. If your child (or family) needs special support, let your school social worker know right away.
- Show Up!
In all communities, parental involvement is especially crucial for students’ success. Involvement in school activities, attending parent-teacher conferences, reading to younger children at home, limiting screen time, encouraging play and movement, and supporting children’s learning at home create a strong foundation for academic achievement.
Preparing for a new school year takes on a unique significance in communities facing barriers to educational equity. It represents an opportunity for families to break cycles of disinvestment, build resilience, and leverage community resources for success. By cultivating a supportive home environment, navigating and advocating within education systems, and becoming involved with educational activities, families can empower their children to overcome challenges and thrive academically.
As families get ready for the new school year, let us remember that education is a powerful tool for social and economic mobility. By investing time and effort into back-to-school preparations, families pave the way for a brighter future and contribute to building stronger, more vibrant communities. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive educational landscape for all students.