Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BLACKADEMIA WEDNESDAY: Back-To-School - The Parent, Student & School... Education as a partnership

Every Wed @ 9am on TOUCH-FM 106.1
BOSTON (As Broadcast on TOUCH 106.1 on Sept. 5, 2012) - It's back-to-school time! Education is a partnership and not the job of the school alone. Way too many parents send their kids to school without looking into the environment that they are sending their kids. Most people show more care in buying a car then they do in making sure that their child is getting the most out of their educational experience. As we would not simply send money to a car dealer and hope they give us the best car for the money, we should not send out kids to school and simply hope for the best. Parents and students are accountable for holding the teachers, administrators and staff of the school accountable. For the college student, this tasks falls on you, as you are now an adult. Here's how it works:
  1. Familiarize Yourself with Policies Rules & Regulations. Time to do some homework.  Visit the web-page for the Department of Education in your state, as it pertains to parent and students rights and responsibilities. Also check out the policies of your school district. Become familiar with them, print out a copy and keep it handy for reference. Unfortunately, schools and districts sometimes rely on the ignorance of parents to push through actions and such that are not in your child's best interest, but their own.  Also find out about any parent or child advocacy groups or organizations in your area. Not all parents are adept in advocating for their children and these groups can provide wonderful, free resources.
  2. Zone School Are NOT Your Only Option. You may live in an area where you have a zoned school, and the zoned school may not be to your liking or meet your child's needs. There are a lot of other options out there and you have the right to send your child to another school if you feel it would be of benefit to your child. Schools and school departments may try to discourage this, but DO NOT FOLD. It's up to you to see that your child is in the right school.
  3. Get To Know The School and Get The School to know you on your terms. Don't wait for open school night, or a note to come home from school about your child. First impressions are important!!! The principal, assistant principal and support staff (Guidance Counselors, Adjustment Counselors, etc.) should all know you, as you them in a civil context, not just when you are called into school for a meeting or disciplinary issue. Again, if your child has an IEP, you should know and be known by the Special Education coordinator and the IEP Team BEFORE your first IEP (Individualized Educational Plan/Program) review meeting. For college students, utilize your professors office hours just to pop in and say hi. Don't wait for the end of the semester or when you think you're having a problem.
  4. Assess The Teacher. Be Nosy. Ask Questions About Curriculum & Lesson Plans. We have a lot of excellent teachers in the public school systems. We also have a lot of lousy teachers in the school systems. We have teachers who are nice, mean, laid-back, strict, well organized, poorly organized, racist, presumptuous, caring, liberal, smart... When encountering a new teacher, ask around for folks who's child had them as a teacher and what their feelings were about this teacher and their teaching style. Be sure to make contact with your child's teacher within the first week of school. Ask questions, discuss general concerns, if your child has an IEP be sure to make sure that the teacher is aware of this.Sometimes the teacher might be a great teacher, but not a good fit for your child. Figure this out early in the game and address it early. Also allow for contact grace periods. If you e-mail or send a note to a teacher, allow 48 for them to reply. If the note sent Monday did not get replied to by Wednesday, follow the note up with a call to the school for the teacher. If still no response, a call of concern to the Assistant Principal or Principal is in order.
Again, these steps can be carried out in a manner that is minimally confrontational and unpleasant.  Making the most of your child's educational experience starts with you!

This transcript is from the BLACKADEMIA WEDNESDAYS featured on The Morning Show with Brother Charles on 106.1 TOUCH-FM in Boston at 9am every Wednesday Morning. The broadcast can also be heard on-line at www.touchfm.org


No comments: