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Tips on working with schools to help better a child’s educational success

Why does it seem like the education system for our little ones is geared toward moms being stay-at-home moms and available for everything through the week?

This is a problem I’ve seen and likely not just in my area. I feel as though this is a problem in a lot of school communities.

Since my daughter started school this fall, most things have fallen on a weekday or weeknight — like the kindergarten orientation, conferences and PTO meetings.

Orientation is the first glimpse into the school life. A time when we are supposed to feel that the collaboration between the school and parents is strong for the school year.

So why was the only option for orientation during the week during work hours or right after work hours, leaving no commute time? That puts so much stress and guilt on the parents.

Stress over whether they have to take off work or guilt if they can’t take off work and have to miss it.

It’s 2023, most households have working parents. So schools should make a time that works for everyone and not just people who are available during the day.

Recently, kindergarten had spirit week, which yes is so much fun — however only if parents are given enough time to prepare.

I have looked forward to weeks like this for my little one since she was born. I love getting her dressed up and then seeing her excitement to show people her outfit.

But you need time to prepare for the theme days. For my child’s school, an email was sent out making parents aware that spirit week was happening just five days before it started. Five days is not enough time to pull together five days’ worth of fun outfits for spirit week.

If I was a stay-at-home mom and didn’t work through the day, I would have more time to pull something together. But it was really tough to pull together last-minute. Amazon wouldn’t even guarantee shipment of things in time.

No student or parent should feel like they have to miss out because they weren’t given enough time to prepare.

Another way schools gear activities towards a stay-at-home parent is when they schedule conferences during the day. Again, it puts the parents in a situation where they have to call off work to attend the conference. There should be options in the evening, weekend conferences and/or Zoom conferences available.

Our child’s best educational success comes from working together, but how can we work together if we can’t even meet?

Now — if you are lucky and feel comfortable — you can make a change through the PTO or the Board of Education. Go to the meetings if you can make it work in your schedule. Write letters and emails. Make your concerns known. I guarantee other parents feel the same way, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Your child depends on you and your help to succeed in school.

We can make change, mamas, so let’s not give up.

ANN BURNS is a Morgantown native, raising two young children with her husband, Drake. She writes weekly columns for The Dominion Post. Contact her at