Engaging parents in their children's education is absolutely critical to those children's success. National education research overwhelmingly supports the finding that students do better academically and socially when parents and teachers work together and children show up on the first day of school ready to learn. Too many don’t. Most teachers and administrators consider parent and family engagement to be the “missing link,” but are often unsure how to effectively connect with parents/families/guardians.
HOME WORKS! helps forge that missing link, creating a positive structure within which parents and teachers can effectively cooperate for the good of their students.
Too many children enter school not ready to learn and never catch up resulting in increased rates of school failure, lifetimes of hardships, and never reaching their full potential. Too many of our families are unaware of the importance of reading and talking with children from birth, daily attendance, and stressing the importance of education because they did not experience these behaviors growing up. Others have multiple jobs and little time to provide academic enrichment at home. Teachers and administrators have little time for parent and family engagement, are often unsure of how to make the connection to home, and lack the time and training for effective outreach to parents. The training and support HOME WORKS! provides helps make that connection to build trust so parents and teachers become partners in students' education. Consider these facts:
FACT: 70% of families surveyed in St. Louis Public Schools lack high-speed broadband service. (SLPS, 2020)
FACT: Data analyzed from the 2020 Census Bureau listed Missouri in the bottom five states for computer access and the bottom three states for internet access. (EdWeek Research Center, 2021)
FACT: In Missouri in 2019, only 34% of 4th graders were proficient (on grade level) in reading and 32% of 8th graders were proficient in math. (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2019)
FACT: 2/3 of all students who cannot read proficiently (on grade level) by the end of the 4th grade will end up in the criminal justice system and/or on welfare. (Begin to Read, 2019)
FACT: Economically-disadvantaged students and students of color experience significant education disparities. Only 34% of low-income (free and reduced price lunch) students and 24.7% of African-American students in Missouri achieve grade-level proficiency in English/Language Arts compared to 48.6% of students overall; and only 28.3% of
low-income students and 18.3% of African-American students achieve grade-level proficiency in math compared to 41.2% of students overall. (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2019)
FACT: Research indicates that children from low socio-economic status (SES) households and communities develop academic skills more slowly compared to children from higher SES groups. Initial academic skills are correlated with the home environment where low literacy environments and chronic stress negatively affect a child’s pre-academic skills. (American Psychological Association, 2017)
FACT: Children entering kindergarten from families with very low incomes are 12 to 14 months behind in language and pre-reading skills, compared with children in higher-income families where reading books and engaging in regular conversations with adults help build much larger vocabularies. (B. Hart & T.R. Risley)
FACT: Of the 36,000 St. Louis city households north of Delmar Blvd, about 16,000, or 44%, have no internet access at all. An additional 3,000 have access only via cellular data. The largest barrier cited is “lack of economic resources”. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2018)
FACT: At least 27% of students do not have access to smartphones or laptops to attend online classes, while 28% of students and parents say intermittent or lack of electricity is one of the major concerns hindering learning. (The National Council of Educational Research and Training, August 2020)
FACT: Some 16.9 million U.S. children lack high-speed home internet access, including about a third of all Black, Latino and Native American children, and about 40% of all rural kids. In all, 7.3 million don’t even have computers. (National Urban League, 2020)
To read more about the education and health of students in St. Louis, Missouri, and the U.S., take a look at these helpful websites:
How Missouri Public School Students Spend Their Time
Pre-Covid, most public school students in Missouri spent only 13.9% of their year in school (174 days times seven hours a day), yet we hold teachers 100% responsible for students’ education. Teachers cannot educate their students alone—they must have academic support from their students’ homes for their students to succeed in school and in life. Students do better academically and socially when parents provide academic enrichment at home from birth and when parents and teachers work together.The most recent “Missouri School Improvement Program: Support and Intervention” report identifies parent and community engagement as an integral step in school improvement involving “communication with and feedback from parents” and “procedures used to involve parents in educational activities”.
The pandemic has exposed the depth of the digital divide. Digital access is the foundation to do distance learning, and is a basic tool children must use to complete their homework, communicate with their teachers, and become active and engaged learners. Closing the digital divide by increasing access to the internet is critical for students and their families to stay connected to teachers and school. Tackling this digital divide is a focus of HW!.