In my last blog, “3 Professionals for a Foster Kid’s School Success”, I talked about three people that need to be your first line of communication in regards to your child’s experiences at school. This included the classroom teacher, SPED teacher, and guidance counselor as well as the various roles they play in helping to answer your questions and concerns. What happens, though, when you don’t get answers from this front line of defense?
Let me stop here for just a moment to clarify. I did not say, “What happens, though, when you get an answer you don’t like?” The reality is that there are times when teachers make decisions that you will not like or agree with. By all means continue the conversations with the teacher in a respectful manner seeking more explanation and understand. What I am addressing is what to do after you have done your due diligence to contact the classroom teacher, SPED teacher and/or school counselor and you are still not receiving any answers and/or support or if you believe such answers go against proper policy or processes.
The Assistant Principal and Head Principal
It is at this point that going to the school’s administration may be beneficial. This would be the assistant principal in many situations or potentially the head principal. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Talk to the right person
Find out who the best person for you to contact is. Responsibility for students and particular situations is often divided up among the administrators of the building.
- Remember your goal: Helping your child
Your approach should not be condescending or derogatory against the teacher. Remember that your goal is to get what is needed for your child, not tear down teachers or administrators.
- Phone conversations won’t be immediate
If you are going to discuss the situation via phone, expect not being able to talk to the administrator right away. More than likely, they are dealing with things in the building and will have to call you back at another time.
- Set up an appointment
If you decide to meet face-to-face, call to set up an appointment. Administrators stay incredibly busy throughout the day dealing with the dealings of a school; they may not be able to stop on demand to speak with you.
- Look to the future not the past
Explain the past, but focus on the future. It could become very easy to stay in the frustrations of what hasn’t been done or what hasn’t been provided to your child. While the administrator needs to know what has occurred, it is more important to create a plan of what to do next to ensure this type of situation does not happen again.
* Keep an open mind. As I mentioned earlier, there is often information or happenings that you are not aware of that happen in the day-to-day operations of a school and the education of your child. Listen to what the administrators have to say and work with them to do what is best for your child.