(BPT)—Parents know educating their children is a collaborative effort between families and teachers. Each new school year, parents look for ways to make that effort as fruitful and positive for their children as possible. By supporting their child's teacher, parents can help ensure kids get the best education possible every year.
If you're looking for ways to show your child's teacher your support - and facilitate his or her efforts to educate your child - keep these points in mind:
Supplies show support
Teachers often spend their own money to ensure their students and classrooms have the supplies they need throughout the year. In fact, a study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that teachers spend an average of $356 from their own pockets on supplies and instructional materials - a total of $1.3 billion for all U.S. public school teachers. The same study revealed that parents - not governments, corporations or even charities - were the major source of supplemental funds for classroom needs, averaging $19 per student on classroom supplies.
This year, parents can do even more to ensure students and teachers have the supplies they need to succeed. Teachers participating in the Staples Teacher Rewards and Reward-A-Classroom programs can now generate custom supply lists that parents can access on www.staples.com/rewardaclassroom. Searching by the teacher's name and city, parents can locate and print out a custom list, and bring it to a Staples store - or order directly from Staples.com. Additionally, through the Reward-A-Classroom program, parents can earn extra rewards for a participating teacher of their choice. By linking their Staples Rewards account to a participating teacher's Rewards Account, parents will earn an additional 2 percent back in Rewards on everything (5 percent back on any Copy & Print order) when they shop in store and online that will go directly to the teacher. Parents will still receive their usual five percent back in Staples Rewards on everything.
"Sometimes, helping obtain needed supplies can be the most supportive thing a parent can do for their child's teacher," says Alison Corcoran, senior vice president of stores and online marketing for Staples. "When parents can help supply teachers simply by spending money on things they would purchase regardless, it's a win-win situation for everyone."
To learn more about the rewards programs, log on to www.staples.com/rewards.
Stay in touch - in every way
Schools often offer orientation nights to introduce parents to teachers and demonstrate the curriculum students will learn throughout the year. Attending these events is a simple, powerful way to show teachers you support their efforts - and appreciate them taking personal time after hours to benefit your children.
If your teacher maintains a website or page for your child's class, be sure to check in regularly for homework assignments, news and any updates to your teacher's supplies list or wish list. Keeping in touch helps teachers know you're aware of their work and of students' achievements.
Hands on wherever you are
Whether it's at home checking your child's homework or as a volunteer in the classroom, taking a hands-on approach to helping shows teachers you are as committed to your child's education as they are.
Schools need volunteers for a range of activities, from assisting on testing days and in school libraries to helping out with parties, performances, sporting events and other fun occasions. Even if you can only spare an hour a month, you'll be helping out the teacher - and demonstrating to him or her that you consider yourself a part of the educational team.
If volunteering isn't practical, consistently reinforcing classroom messages and lessons at home can be just as helpful and supportive. Look for ways to incorporate lessons learned in the classroom with day-to-day home life. For example, when your child studies weights and measures, involve him in food prep and use cooking as a way to practice measuring techniques. When your child learns about government and voting, take her with you to the polls so she can see the voting process.
"It's important for all of us to show teachers how much we value their commitment and contribution to our communities," Corcoran says. "Keeping teachers well-supplied and reinforcing classroom lessons are great ways for parents to help teachers make a difference - and ensure their kids get the education they need."