Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

July 24, 2009

It's Back To School For Kids And Dads: The Importance Of Being Involved In Your Child's Education

Fathers’ involvement in their children’s education is on the rise according to a recent study by The National Center for Fathering and the National Parent Teacher Association. Over the past 10 years fathers across the country have been taking their child to school, attending class events, visiting their child’s classroom and volunteering at school more often than ever before. By being so actively involved, these fathers can positively affect their child’s school performance as well as instill in them the tools to not only graduate, but also go on to college and a successful career. As kids begin to head back to school, Colorado dads are making a point to show they care by doing anything from volunteering at school to working on homework problems with their children.

“Children spend about the same time at school as most fathers do at work. While good parenting starts at home, it must also follow through to this very significant part of a child’s life,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Fathers who are involved in their child’s education can ensure that they will be successful at home, at school and at life.

According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, the following are easy ways for fathers to become more involved in their child’s education:
• Check your child’s homework. Make sure to see what was assigned, not just what was finished.
• Join a parent organization at your child's school, like the PTA, to show your child that you care about how he or she does in school.
• Be a chaperone at your child’s next school function or field trip.
• Talk regularly with your child’s coaches, teachers and club leaders.
• Get everyone in the family a library card and start visiting. If you are not sure where the nearest library is, try searching online or ask your child’s teacher.
• Read together with your kids. It’s not just a mom thing. When reading with young children who are still learning, move your finger along with the words as you read. With older kids, take a look at their school reading list and read along with them. Every time you come to the end of a chapter or section, talk about it together. Listen to what they thought and share some thoughts of your own.

Fathers should also be aware of the following resources which provide guidance, tips and insight on ensuring academic success for their children:
• The U.S. Department of Education offers many resources to help fathers make sure their children get the most out of school, are encouraged to read and have the right planning when it comes to applying to college. Visit www.ed.gov/parents/landing.jhtml
• Reading is Fundamental is an organization that has many suggestions for motivating kids to read, working with their teachers and encouraging struggling readers. Visit www.rif.org/parents
• The National Parent Teacher Association has resources focused specifically on male involvement in a child’s education. Visit www.pta.org/topic_male_involvement.asp
• Scholastic has a variety of free online articles that cover suggested reading for children, educational activities and guides to various school subjects. Visit www2.scholastic.com/browse/parentsHome.jsp

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.