Navigating The School System

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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.

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