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Parents and teachers: Working together for successful schools
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Editor's note: This article is the second in a three-part series from the author.

Teachers are responsible for teaching our children. Parents or guardians, schools can't do their job if your child is absent. Learning builds day by day. A child who misses a day of school misses a day of learning. Parents should lead by example. If children see parents taking off work for no real reason, they may expect to be able to do the same thing and not attend school regularly.

Parents, don't take your child out of school for vacations, shopping excursions or other non-medical reasons. It sends the message that school isn't that important. Make doctor or dentist appointments after school or during vacation if possible.

Research shows that children who are in school most of the time do better on state tests. Studies show that children who are absent more often score lower on state tests.

Being late for school hurts a child's learning, too. A student who is 10 minutes late everyday will miss 30 hours of instruction during the year.

Children can copy notes or make up an assignment, but they can never get back what's most important - the discussions, the questions, the explanations by the teacher and the thinking that makes learning come alive.

A child's success in school depends on having a solid education background - one that can only be gained through regular school attendance.

Think your teens know all the rules? Are you willing to bet their future on it?

As a parent, you know that your teens need your guidance to help them make the right choices in life and steer them in the right direction. It is up to you to set the rules, enforce the rules and communicate with teens regularly about choices that impact their lives. Everyday, teens are faced with multiple decisions, from whom to hang out with to whether or not to engage in drug use, drinking, smoking or sex.

Since marijuana is the most commonly use drug among teens, it is important to have an open dialogue and firm rules about marijuana usage and many of the issues that teens encounter. Don't assume that your teens know or don't need to be reminded about the risks and negative consequences associated with their actions, particularly when they are bombarded with powerful influences like peer pressure, television and mixed messages from movies, music, videos and video games.

Today is a good day to remind your teens where you stand. The lines of communication are key, so talk to them. Make your expectations clear. Drugs are not acceptable. Getting your teens to agree can help them earn your trust - which is something all teens want.

Remember to keep close tabs on your teens. They have many influences in their lives, and they need you to help them navigate through life and make the right decisions. Know where your teens are and whom they're with. Cell phones make it easier than ever to just check in. It's not saying you don't respect their space or don't trust them, it's sending a clear message that you care.

Above all else, parents are the number one influence in your teens' lives so lead by example. Your teens are learning from you. Show the teens your love and that actions speak louder than words. Set the rules, enforce the rules and talk to your teens about risky behavior and consequences. Ensure that your teens have a future that is filled with hope and success.

Louise B. Adams is a former educator and principal of Ficquett Elementary School. She serves on the board of directors for both the Newton County Board of Health and the Washington Street Community Center.