Almost 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation. Nearly two-thirds of our children will live in a single-parent home sometimes during their minor years. It is important that teachers and parents understand and support this growing population of children.

According to research, children who enter a single-parent family as a result of divorce are challenged in academic conduct, psychological adjustments, and the quality of mother-child and father. We will focus on the educational gap and various ways that parental involvement can close that gap.

The first way parents can help alleviate the gap is by taking advantage of the various resources that the school has to offer. It is important that parents check with the school and find out what opportunities are available for students. Most schools have in school and after school tutoring, reading, science, and math night (the parents attend this with the student, and they can see what type of fun and hands-on activities students do during class to help them learn). Some schools also provide classes to help parents to know how to help their child with homework. There is also a parent resource center that is readily available. The resource center has different materials that can be checked out to help students. Not only do parents need to take advantage of the different resources, but they need to have good communication with the teachers.

Communication is vital for children to succeed. It is important that parents attend all parent-teacher conferences. If they cannot attend in person, they can do a phone conference. When a problem arises, you do not have to wait until it is conference time, but you can set up an appointment at any time. If your child has more than one teacher, make sure you stay in close contact with all the teachers. You can also monitor your child’s grades online. Most schools have paper and electronic grades available. Middle and high schools have infinite campus which can be used as an app on your cell phone. Infinite campus has grades, grade book updates, attendance, schedule, and assignments available. Great communication can lead to school involvement.


School involvement is a must! Most schools provide great opportunities for parents to participate in. Parents can help with seasonal parties, field trips, special holiday meals, math, science, and reading night (they can work as volunteers), parent-teacher organization, help with book fairs, award, and field days. Parental involvement helps students feel a sense of pride and encourages them to do their best.

In conclusion, some students struggle in school as a result of being part of a single-parent household. Parents can definitely fill that gap by taking advantage of school resources, constant communication with the teachers, and school involvement. As a parent, you do not have to take advantage of every resource and activity. Parents are not able to call teachers all the time, but it is important that they do what is necessary in order for their child to be successful.

Written by Dr. Cynthia Thomas

Author of My Family: