It’s no secret that a solid education can unlock the doors for a more successful future, and, contrary to the ordinary perception, families in Forest Park really are fortunate to have as many options as they do.

Between public and private institutions both here and in surrounding communities, there’s no reason for a child not to have the best.

Of course, the responsibility of ensuring that each of these educational environments is a viable and competitive one rests more with the parents than it does with the children. If you flip through the pages of this week’s Review, you’ll find a number of stories focusing on our schools. While each of these institutions may be addressing seemingly unrelated challenges, there is a common thread among them.

Parental involvement.

In the case of our page six story on St. Bernardine’s, administrators there are trying to rebound from a period of decreasing enrollment and revenues. For 90 years now, St. Bernardine School has been teaching children the three R’s and this longevity alone has galvanized the school’s importance in Forest Park.

The village’s public elementary and middle schools are beginning an important search for a new superintendent and welcome residents’ input. It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking as a parent, a taxpayer or a student; District 91 is interested in making sure that the public school system is meeting the public’s needs. This story is on page 11.

And finally, our front page story on our newest institution, the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy is struggling to become the secondary educational experience we all want for our kids.

For any of these schools to make positive strides they need to hear from the parents. Too often our willingness to get involved comes after a problem has been identified. All of the school’s reported on in this week’s Review are at a stage where the community’s input can be used as guidance for years to come, rather than finding a Band-Aid solution to an immediate problem. Getting involved now may help avoid the need for emergency school board meetings that aren’t convenient or pleasant for anyone.

We realize not everyone’s schedule can accommodate the PTA, parent-teacher conferences and school board meetings. Obviously, we would encourage at least occasional attendance at these functions, but really what we’re advocating here is the establishment of a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our schools. And for those parents who do take an active role in their child’s learning, educators must be cognizant of the effort and encourage this behavior.