You can best support your child’s education through good communication with six key people at his or her school. The Empowering Team gives Lisa Capretto an A for her discussion in this Oprah.com article on how best to work with the people who are important in shaping your child’s educational experience.
The principal runs the show and sets the tone and culture for the entire school. She solves problems, creates rules, polices the students, manages the staff, acts as a mentor, evaluates classrooms and, most importantly, constantly communicates with everyone from the teachers to the parents to the school board. It’s a complex job and one that can’t be done without parent support.
Most principals were teachers at one point too, so they’re quite familiar with classroom dynamics, working with children and the importance of parental involvement. They’ll often make an effort to engage and help parents feel welcome, but don’t hesitate to be the one who reaches out.
Find out if the principal is holding any meetings, orientations, events or open houses to get to know parents, or consider working with other parents to host your own “meet the principal” breakfast or coffee hour.
In addition to informing the school nurse about any health conditions your child may have, you can also use this meeting to learn about the school’s health policies, screenings (such as vision and hearing), signs that your child is too sick to go to school and how you can best stay informed about health alerts throughout the school year.
Knowing the room parent is a great way to stay informed and get more involved in what’s going on in the classroom. He will let you know about upcoming class events, projects, celebrations and volunteer opportunities.
If your child’s classroom doesn’t have a room parent, make an effort to get to know at least one other parent in the class. You can help each other stay up-to-date on important classroom information, get clarity on certain issues, have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of and share helpful suggestions for how to deal with problems that may arise.