Navigating The School System
A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak to a group of parents about navigating the school system. Since I believe that all parents, of school aged children, should know where to find help or have their questions answered, I eagerly agreed.
I began the conversation with the following recommendations:
Read all of the correspondence that your child brings home.
Respond to questions and requests from teachers.
Attend PTA meetings and parent conference days.
Participate in school activities involving school and system administrators.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Get to know the parents of your child’s classmates.
Well, as I was making those suggestions, most of the parents were nodding their heads in agreement and smiling, until I made the following statement: review the information on the school systems web site. Surprisingly, several parents stopped smiling and nodding, and one parent raised her hand to ask a question. She asked, What if you don’t have a computer? Although unexpected, since only 60% of American households are estimated to have at least one personal computer, the question was not unusual.
If you don’t use a computer, you’ll have to be a little more creative when searching for information. Along with the other recommendations, try the following when looking for answers about your child’s school system.
One: Look in the phone book. Most school system office numbers are listed individually, or there is a main number. Two: Ask the principal or other school administrator for assistance. Three: Attend Board meetings. You can learn a lot about your school system during these meetings. Four: Ask for a listing of services and phone numbers for each department of the school system. and Five: Visit the School Board building. It’s a good idea to know where it is located and what services are provided there, just in case you need them.
If your child spends more than a year attending school in one school district, it is important to know about it and what services are available in case you should ever need them.