3. Get Involved
Communicate with Your School
What is important to know to communicate with your child's school?
Communicating effectively means knowing your responsibilities as a parent. Attend meetings, parent-teacher workshops, and planning conferences to learn more about how you can help your child to succeed. Many teachers now have e-mail addresses. Contact them with any questions.
Learn as much about your child's academic performance as possible. What level is your child at (remedial, regular, honors, advanced placement) and which level is appropriate for your child? Getting poor grades in advanced classes may harm your child's chances for getting into the right college. Also, understand class placement procedures, which can be complicated. Student placement includes grades and other math and language tests.
Knowing important deadlines is also key to staying on track. Find out about deadlines and post them in a prominent place. Learn about important tests such as PSAT, SAT, and ACT and when your child will need to take them.
If you have questions or concerns, it's important to understand the school's hierarchy. Generally, start with the teacher if you have questions about your child's performance. Visit with the school counselor or possibly the principal if you feel issues haven't been addressed properly. The principle can help you decide who you may need to meet with to discuss a particular problem. Finally, contact the district office to solve problems that are outside the expertise of teachers and principles.
How do parents find out about meetings and events?
Some information is sent home with the student and/or mailed‹read all school information no matter how it arrives. Many schools send out a school calendar at the beginning of the year. Post the calendar in a prominent place to keep track of important events and deadlines. Make sure you know the grading schedule‹when final exams and report cards are due.
How do you know what your rights are as a parent?
Parents have many rights. Most schools have a statement of written policies and procedures. Ask for it so that you know how to contact the school. New technology is making it easier to contact schools. Many schools now have web sites and teachers have e-mail addresses.
You may request a conference to discuss your child's progress. In some cases, a Student Study Team is needed. This involves key staff at the school including teachers, counselors, the school nurse, and possibly a resources specialist. The Study team will meet to discuss your child and how to improve performance. You may also wish to "shadow" your children in class to see how they respond to their environment.
Next: Get Involved
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