Now that the Labor Day break is history, schools are back in session and students will spend the next several months in classrooms and doing homework. Kim Greder is an associate professor and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach family life specialist. She encourages parents to set high, but reasonable, expectations for the children and to get involved in their education.

“I think having positive open communication with your children on a regular basis is something that develops that relationship, so your kid is then going to talk with you when things aren’t going so well at school, when they have concerns about things, if they know they can trust you and you’re willing to listen,” Greder says.

Another key to a student’s success, according to Greder, is parents who frequently visit with their teachers and school counselors. “I think some people realize that when they connect with teachers, school counselors, and their kids that it pays off, that their kids do well in school when they keep that communication going,” Greder says. “I think there are also parents who don’t understand how valuable this is.”

Greder says youth who are most at risk of failing a grade or dropping out of school commonly have parents who have low levels of education, low income, are a racial or ethnic minority, and live in a neighborhood that experiences high poverty.

Greder suggests parents take these proactive steps to avoid problems in school or potential dropout:

· Regularly talk with your child about his or her school day

· Encourage reading at home and be a role model to read regularly

· Talk to your child’s teachers and school counselor for updates on grades and behavior, and identify resources available to help your child at school

· Watch who your child hangs out with and make sure they are doing healthy activities

· Get your child involved in activities or sports to develop leadership skills and positive communication and conflict resolution skills.