The elementary school teacher asks "Who can bring in ...?" Or, "Whose parent can help with ...?" Time after time, my hand shoots up first.

I knew my folks could/would step up to the task. And, even when I wasn't sure, I'd still volunteer them. Yet I never remember my mom or dad being annoyed. Even if they were, they still came through for my teacher, my class, my school. They came through for me.

That probably plays into my love of school involvement -- then and certainly now.

The old "learn by example" rings pretty loud and clear for me.

I adore being on campus. Once my daughter started pre-school, I was happy to jump in here and there. And, then came kindergarten with a fabulous teacher duo and a welcoming school. Oh, yes, I was in deep.

From that first kinder day to the last sweet day of elementary school last June, I clocked in countless hours. But as much as I may have been helping, I was paid back tenfold in the joy that comes with giving.

My daughter just started middle school, and while I don't buzz through this campus nearly as much, I am helping behind the scenes.

I'm not sure every parent and guardian knows -- really knows -- the gift of giving, the importance of being involved and how it all benefits our children.

Educating and raising a well-rounded child most certainly takes a village.

Every year, I write my spiel about the virtues of teaching, about my love of teachers and how they need on-going support more than ever. Teachers cannot, and shouldn't, do this alone.


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Back in August, I read a message from a principal that took all my feelings -- and how most educators must surely feel -- and speak pitch perfect to the topic.

Susan Petersen is the principal of Concord's Ayers Elementary. I don't know Petersen but, boy, do I love her thinking. Here are a few excerpts from her back-to-school message that pertains to every person with a school-aged child.

—... it takes encouragement and support from parents and guardians for our children to be able to achieve resolutions. Sometimes, in the busy pace of our daily lives, we wonder just what difference an extra 15 minutes of story reading at night or reviewing what happened at school will really make. While we may never know the impact we make on our children, consider the familiar starfish legend when you find yourself wondering what difference you really make:

"As the old man walked along the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up with the youth, he asked him why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. 'But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish washed ashore,' countered the old man. 'How can your efforts make any difference?' The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and threw it safely into the waves. 'It made a difference to this one'" he said.

Parents make the difference. We need to remember that no matter how small the task, the little bit of encouragement or the extra time we spend with our children can be strong and enduring. Participate and be active in ... events and activities. The partnership between the home and the school is a key factor in your child's success. ..."

Petersen beautifully and simply said what I think all who are involved -- really involved -- in schools and education want on campuses on steady basis.

Let's step up, help out, be engaged and be present. Let's be there for our future generations of leaders and learners. Let's just do this; together. Let's raise our hands up high.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com. Please note: Trine also works part-time with the Antioch Unified School District.