CHICAGO, June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With summer almost here, students nationwide are celebrating the close of another school year. Many other children, however, will end the year feeling defeated about their poor academic performance. Will they have to repeat a grade? Or will they move ahead with classmates despite lagging behind benchmark standards? Even today's youngest students are worried and suffering, and the educational system and even society at large often downplay their vulnerability, according to Dr. Tanya Foster-DeMers, a Chicago-based, award-winning teacher and president of TAF™ Educational LLC (http://tafeducational.com). When children start school with academic performance that is substandard or behind their peers, there is a true educational crisis -- one that should "sound an alarm" for society, she says.
"If these children complete kindergarten or first grade at a level behind their peers, it becomes difficult and often impossible to reverse the achievement gap," she says. "It's hard to believe that a young child's future is riding on kindergarten and first grade, yet studies confirm this fact."
While Foster-DeMers notes some improvements as a result of pre-kindergarten education, research shows that it remains insufficient for preparing today's youth for kindergarten and first grade. What's more, many parents don't know or understand their young child's academic situation and the relationship of that to future success.
Foster-DeMers' research approaches this issue with a sense of urgency, and her findings demonstrate that parents who receive specific tools and commit to a process, such as her TAF™ Instructional At-Home Plan (IAHP)®, are able to help change outcomes for their children. This effort prevails in spite of poverty and the parents' own educational level.
The TAF IAHP is an actionable, measurable, intentional parent-involvement strategy that emphasizes at-home practice. It has been applied to Chicago-based students for several years. Since then, the at-risk student population has dropped by 50 percent, with benchmark students increasing 50 percent. This same student body performed 60 percent better than peers whose parents did not use the strategy. With TAF IAHP, the year's end has become a time of great celebration for students, parents and teachers alike.
"Parent involvement clearly continues to be the most underused weapon in our fight to close the achievement gap," Foster-DeMers says. "We can't afford to allow another school year to end with students not meeting academic standards. Our failure to act will also be their failure."
About TAF Educational LLC
TAF Educational LLC is dedicated to making a difference in the educational lives of children and their families. TAF Educational assists schools, educators, and communities with the goal of ensuring that students reach their potential. It also strives to help educators understand that collaborating with and maximizing their relationships with parents is one of the most valuable tools in education today.
Tanya Foster-DeMers, Ed.D.
President, TAF Educational LLC
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SOURCE TAF Educational LLC