Five People to Know at Your Child's School
Schools have a variety of people working to ensure your child's learning and safety.
You've checked the list of things your child needs to go back to school. Now that they're ready, ask yourself, "Am I? Do I know the person to go to if I have questions or concerns?"
Here are five people you should get to know at your child's school:
1. Classroom Teacher. Your child's classroom teacher is the person who knows the most about your child's learning and behavior. They see your child more than other staff members and should be able to answer questions as they arise. Teachers may have suggestions about the best way for you to contact them.
2. School Principal. The principal is ultimately responsible for managing the school. All personnel are held accountable by the principal who in turn sets standards of expectations for the students and the staff.
School improvement and setting standards is a professional and collaborative process between administration and faculty. The principal is the one best equipped to answer broader questions and to offer advice on a variety of school-related issues.
3. School Nurse. The nurse is authorized to dispense medications and to make a decision about a child presenting any one of a variety of symptoms. Let the school nurse know of any condition, either chronic or temporary your child may have. She is also likely to have public health information about the flu and other common health threats.
4. Specialists. A number of people may work with your child based on their specialization. This includes reading, art and music specialists, as well as speech, physical and occupational therapists.
You will want to know what the goals of instruction are for your child and whether your child is reaching those goals. In many areas you may request an appointment, ask for a written report or attend a meeting with several teachers all of whom should be prepared with an update giving specific examples of your child's work and behavior.
5. School Psychologist. These staff members are licensed by the state to provide services such as cognitive assessments, behavioral assessments and in some cases counseling services or recommendations for a child.
You may wish to seek the services of the psychologist if your child has difficulty learning, needs particular accommodations, experiences difficulties in relationships with peers or shows any other signs of trouble adapting to school.
Schools change. They update their policies often. Each school develops a yearly improvement plan based on discussions between the staff and principal. All public schools are subject to changing state laws and requirements. Be aware of how changes affect your child.
If you have questions, ask the appropriate person. According to most educators and school researchers your child is more likely to make a good adjustment to school and to do well academically if you understand your child's needs, and the school's goals and policies.