Setting the Standard

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A child’s success has little to do with the child. Infants need nurturing. Toddlers are like sponges, imitating and copying those that help them grow. Parental and guardian involvement is crucial to success in and out of school.

By the time kids become school-age, they take a lot of what they learned at home with them — including the ability, interest, or even love for learning.

Desiree Chavez lives and educates along the border in Mission. She teaches 10th grade English at IDEA College Prep Mission in the same community she grew up in.

Her mother was the first in her family to attend college and she’s hoping to empower those who might also represent first-generation college-educated students.

“My mom navigated college and she’s college-educated on her own,” Chavez said. “She remembers what it was like not having her mom be able to help her and she took pride being able to be an asset to me and my friends and my teachers.”

Her own personal experience helps her be the liaison for students that might be the first in their family to apply for higher education.

“A majority of our demographic live below the poverty line,” Chavez said. “The reason that these parents put their students at our campus is because they know that we’re going to work together as a team in order for their child to be successful. When we are able to have that connection between the parent, and the student, and the teacher. It really does take a village for a child to be successful.”

From NPR to Business Insider to GreatSchools.org, experts agree that the success of children and students starts at home and expands to the environment they live in.

Another positive in a strong parent-teacher-student connection is shared success when a student excels.

“My favorite thing to do is to meet again later, maybe at a report card night, or to call their parents and say, ‘hey, so-and-so passed this test and we see great improvement from our last meeting.’ It’s not always calling when things are bad — it’s also about that gloat,” Chavez said. “It invigorates the child, the parents, and as a teacher, myself, as well.”

At nearby McAllen ISD, Lorena Anzaldua focuses on parental involvement as federal programs strategist.

She explained that involvement in a student’s life comes with a myriad of benefits.

“A number of different studies all point to the same results, research indicates that parents involved in their children’s education are more likely to: earn better grades, score higher on tests, pass their classes, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, be more positive in their attitude toward school, graduate, and continue their education,” Anzaldua said via email.

In the age of students growing up around so much technology, Anzaldua said that’s another area parents can’t ignore.

“The increased use of technology and social media has a strong presence in everyday lives, especially the younger population,” she said. “Parents/guardians need to keep a watchful eye and try to keep up with all the latest trends.”

That’s no small task with how quick media moves, but it can be the difference between cyber safety or something much worse.

Children have the ability and capability to develop a lifelong passion and drive to love learning and excel in the classroom and in life.

“The most invaluable resource is having a parent and teaching connection relationship,” Chavez said. “It shows the student that we are working together to make you successful, but we’re also going to do whatever it takes.”

She explained that these relationships can be beneficial to the entire family.

“When you have that involvement, you’re educating their parents as well and then that sets them up to help younger siblings,” Chavez said. “It’s just that continued success. We see a chain effect and it’s invaluable. I got to see it from my mom’s perspective and now I get to see it from other parents’ perspectives.”

How are you active in your child’s education? #JoinTheConversation at facebook.com/rgvisionmagazine.