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BOBBY LOPEZ — Bob Hope School CEO stresses to parents they are child’s 1st teacher

What is meant by the statement that we are all provided a free education? In Texas, it means that any student between the ages of 6 and 21 is entitled to attend public school free of any expense.

So how does a parent ensure that when their child reaches the 12th grade that the child will be educated?

There are steps to this process. It all begins before one sets foot on school grounds. When a child is born, it is very important that the parents invest time with their child by engaging in reading, speaking and doing activities that will enhance the child’s overall skills.

Why? The answer is clear.

You are your child’s first teacher. Your child is learning from you, imitating you and repeating things you say and do. We all need to be mindful of our words and actions around our children even when they are very young.

Evidence shows that it is much easier for children to acquire language skills than it is for adults. Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language in your 30s and 40s?

Our children become bilingual at a very young age and can easily learn two languages if they are exposed to them. This is where a quality dual language program comes into play. Studies have shown that dual language learners have higher test scores compared to their counterparts in English-only classrooms.

The birth to 5-year window of opportunity is a critical time for the brain to make connections that develop the academic skills for language and learning.

Once we become parents, children become our priority. This obligation to our child means that we need to take time to be focused and engaged with our child. Investing in your child’s life from the very beginning, fostering the crucial academic and social skills, and consistently exposing them to both spoken and written word will promote continued academic development.

It is never too late to commit to a valuable relationship with your child.

Farmers know that they need to cultivate their crops and allow for plenty of water, nutrients and sunshine. Similarly, children need to be nourished and cultivated.

Not only do they need love, warmth and security, but they also require those early developmental experiences and relationships from the parent that will grow the necessary skills, which impact whole child success in years to come.

Expecting children to thrive in 6th grade does not happen magically or overnight. The child who has been receiving essential literacy and math skills since birth is the child who will thrive.

I am reminded of a teen mom from years ago who frequently left her young son with grandma and grandpa so she could go out with her friends. It was obvious that the young lady did not understand her relationship with her own child.

As the years passed and the child entered school, he made little progress and was behind academically and socially. Now as a school administrator, I think back to that time and it saddens me that perhaps this child could have had a completely different outcome.

At Bob Hope School, we offer a multitude of opportunities for student success, which heighten the development of many crucial skills. At the elementary campuses, our students are involved in dual language classes presented in English and Spanish.

They are also immersed in the Montessori method of instruction from ages 3-7. Our first graders begin violin instruction and in subsequent years can move to cello and bass. Additionally, another language, Mandarin Chinese, exposes students to yet another enrichment opportunity.

We believe children should all be provided with the opportunity to excel in their education. Given the accountability ratings of the last two rating years, we are on the right track.

Getting an A for the elementary campus’ accountability rating shows a strong commitment to our model of “Transforming A Community.”

That young child from years ago left school and grew up to work odd jobs. Would his mother not have preferred something more for her child? I am sure she would have.

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of the Bob Hope School since 2010. Contact him at bobby.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244.