Parents are responsible for all aspects of their children’s lives. When it comes to a child’s education, it is vital that parents partner with teachers to help ensure a positive and successful experience for the student throughout their formative and adolescent years. Here are 5 steps for building and maintaining an effective partnership in your child’s education:
1. Pay attention and know what’s going on in the realm of education. “Parents should monitor state legislation regarding education,” explained Dr. Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD and owner of Safe Harbor Counseling in Sugar Grove. “Contact your district representative and state senators to express your opinion about pending education legislation. Attend school board meetings to learn how your school district is implementing legislation, and learn the process for speaking at these events. Volunteer, and get to know your child’s school principal and his or her teachers.”
2. Contact the relevant person or group regarding issues with your child. “Different positions have different roles,” added Dr. Plachetka. “When in doubt, begin with the teachers. Support successful student behaviors in the classroom and at home, and include the principal if a situation includes issues outside the classroom.”
3. Include others when appropriate. If your concerns affect multiple children, get the other parents involved. Organize informational campaigns, and work together on policy issues and legislation.
4. Be clear and respectful. “Make an appointment and share the topic in advance,” said Dr. Plachetka. “Some topics, such as work completion, require preparation. Research the topic; understanding the pros and cons of any stance increases the likelihood of arriving at a satisfactory solution. Judgment and assumption of motives can distract from the actual issue. Be clear, direct, and kind, and offer support.”
5. Follow up. Continue to pay attention to the issues. Express gratitude, and offer assistance whenever possible.
For consultation on this and other topics, please contact:
Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD
Safe Harbor Counseling
76 S. Main Street, Suite A
Sugar Grove, IL 60554