Building a Positive Relationship with the School

Establish a partnership with the teacher at the beginning of the school year:

  • Ask how the Teacher wants you to stay in touch.
  • Arrange a meeting with the Teacher to discuss your child’s needs and program
  • Ask for suggestions of activities that you can do at home with your child to support the child’s learning
  • Suggest a follow-up meeting a few weeks later to see how your child is managing in the classroom

Get involved in school activities:

  • Attend any meet the teacher or open house events
  • Introduce yourself to the teacher(s) and Principal
  • Volunteer in the classroom or at school activities, if you have the time
  • If you can’t volunteer at the school find out if there are other ways you can help the teachers or the school

Calling the school:

  • Be clear about the reason you are calling and what you want to talk about
  • Be direct and confident, yet positive and polite
  • If you are not satisfied, ask who else you may speak to
  • Convey a sense of cooperation. For example; “How can we work with each other?”
  • End the conversation with a summary of the discussion and the next steps
  • Take notes while talking with school personnel over the phone
  • Get names, titles, dates, and a write a brief summary of what was said and by whom
  • Follow up telephone calls with a short summary letter. For example: “It is my understanding from our telephone conversation of (date) that points 1, 2 and 3 will happen, etc.”   Keep a copy for files.

At a school meeting:

  • Start the meeting with introductions to make sure you know everyone’s name and their role at the school
  • Bring a friend or relative with you to take notes or speak for you, if necessary
  • Request for clarification of the meeting purpose and goals to make sure everyone has the same expectations
  • Share a positive story or recent success of your child and provide praise to the staff who helped your child succeed
  • Come to the meeting with an open mind, ready to listen to the opinions and ideas of the school staff
  • Be clear about your concerns and be specific in your requests and responses. Rather than “My child isn’t learning” develop statements such as “My child cannot read his/her 5th grade reader.”
  • Share your ideas in a clear and organized way
  • Share any reports or information that provide information about your child and their strengths and needs
  • Be realistic about your expectations and requests.
  • Be prepared for the best and the worst outcome, and come ready with alternatives and options
  • At the end of the meeting ask for a summary of the discussion and next steps
  • If minutes from the meeting are going to be sent out, request a copy.
  • After the meeting make your own notes about what happened, including the names and titles of those who attended
  • Follow up the meeting with a short summary letter. Example: “It is my understanding from our meeting of (date) that points 1, 2 and 3 will happen, etc.”   Keep a copy for files.

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