“There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.”
– Henry Beecher
Research has shown that the lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools today; not funding, not lack of good teachers, but the lack of parents being involved. But judging by the more than 30 parents that showed up last Thursday night at the first meeting of the Lo Inyo School Parents Club, lack of parents’ involvement is not going to be a problem in the community of Lone Pine.
At the beginning of this school year there was concern that there might not even be a Parents Club at all this year. Most of the parents serving with the group over the past several years no longer had children at the school and something needed to be done. New school Principal Cheri Belcoe met with former Parents Club officers Darcy Francone and Jackie Martin, along with Charles James, the coordinator for Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County, to talk about it and a plan was hatched to get the ball rolling.
Several concerned parents had already expressed similar concerns over what the lack of a Parents Club would mean to the school – and they very much wanted to help. All the effort blossomed into the successful showing at the first Parents Club meeting on Thursday night. All the parents in the room were there for one reason – the love they have for their children. These are parents that recognize that a child’s success depends on a good education and their active participation in their child’s life, whether in or out of school.
Children spend more than 70 percent of their time outside the classroom. Parents are a child’s first teachers and it is not a job that ends when the child starts to attend school. While having adequate funding, good teachers at the school and an involved, supportive community are all important– the single most important ingredient to a child’s success remains the two simple ingredients that are provided by parents – love and hope.
Why are parents clubs so vital? In an era of substantial cuts in state support for public schools, these groups help fund a wide range of school activities, programs, and support for the classroom that otherwise will disappear. That support ranges from providing additional school supplies and showing appreciation for teachers to supporting sports, assemblies, and a host of other fun school events.
In partnership with McDonald’s of Lone Pine and Healthy Communities, the Lo-Inyo Parents Club hosts Breakfast with Mom and Breakfast with Dad, two highly-attended family events. The club sponsors the popular annual Halloween Carnival, the Reading is Fun program and educational field trips, as well as student, teacher and staff recognition; along with a host of other programs.
While there were no fathers present at this first meeting of the Lo Inyo Parents Club, it is hoped that there will be in the future. Fathers are the other half of the parental unit … and does anyone doubt that a father’s love, support and attention are any less important than a mother’s?
Those who missed the first Parents Club meeting at the school are asked to make it a point to go to the next one or find some way to be involved – whether just for one hour, a few hours, one day, or, throughout the school year. Residents don’t have to be a parent to be involved; only have to love children.
The bottom line is that a school with involved parents is one of life’s lessons on just how important that the very best education is provided to our children. It is also a lesson on the importance of love.