The Importance of Parent Support from
Someone Who Knows: 2014 Tuskegee Graduate, Jeff Jackson

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You cannot look at this photograph without feeling a part of the excitement!

When I saw this photograph on Facebook of 2014 Tuskegee graduate Jeff Jackson and his family (most of which who drove hundreds of miles to support him), I couldn't help but think that this illustrates everything I have been trying to impress on parents and guardians my entire teaching career of 20+ years...


The media always promotes the gracious words of entertainers and athletes when they thank their supporters, but it deeply touched my heart to hear Jeff reflect on how important family means when it comes to education:


...I have the best support system in the entire world. They were with me every single step of the way! From preschool, to elementary onto high school and to be here for my college graduation! When I [saw] them pull up to campus Friday morning on a bus, words couldn't express how enthused I was! If I could relive that moment right there was just amazing! I love my family with everything that I have! This diploma isn't only mine, I think they should have put y'all name on it as well. Family isn't everything its the only thing!

Many parents, and for the right reasons, feel they have to FIRST "get it together" in order to serve as educational advocates for their children. As a former administrator and lifelong teacher, I understand how intimidating it can be to attempt to communicate with educators and administrators...some can be condescending. There is much work to be done on BOTH sides of the issue. So let's get started!

There is nothing more important than serving as your child's educational advocate...often, all it requires is just your presence. This doesn't mean only coming to school when your child is experiencing discipline problems, but also making unexpected visits to the classroom to ensure a behavioral change has been made (after reporting the office and following all security procedures). It is very difficult for an administrator to talk around a student in a discipline hearing if a parent is present. In addition, classroom visits can be very effective in PREVENTING behavioral issues. Most importantly, every child REALLY wants someone there to see when he/she sings a solo or is the first to make it to the finish line (or just makes it to the finish line -- it ALL counts). I have learned that if a parent or guardian has to work, another close relative or friend can do the job. It's just important that your child knows that you will have someone in the stands cheering for him or her.

This is too important for you to be TOO BUSY to do. You will find that once you begin to share in the excitement of your child's school life, other unwanted distractions lose their power right away. Peers with questionable habits tend to prey on children who have little parental influence. Belonging is a very real and important need (Maslow); it is best for children to feel that sense of belonging in their own families.

I am happy to help bridge that communication gap by offering helpful "straight talk" to help you maneuver the education maze as you serve as your own child's educational advocate. I hope you will return to the Coffeehouse often to take a look at the new ideas and suggestions I have for becoming an effective educational advocate for your child.

I wish to thank my very dear lifelong friend, Greg Porter, for providing permission to share this photo and their family story. Much success to Jeff and all graduates. These are the stories that deserve to be shared!


If you have any particular questions or information you'd like to see included here, please let me know! It is simply my prayer that you find this helpful and inspiring in leading your own children to educational success!

Join the conversation on my Facebook page: Education Coffeehouse: Encourage, Engage and Educate

Professor Marsha


Marsha Kay Bass, ABD

"It is easier to raise strong children than repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass

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