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Parents visit all the classes in their child's schedule in a mini-version of the child's day. This can be an eye-opener for parents who don't realize how much territory a middle school or high student has to cover in the course of a day.
Some students have classes that are only a semester long and will get a new set of teachers in the spring. Plan to attend the spring semester "meet-the-teachers" night, if your school has one.
By Marian Wilde
The homework policy should include information on when homework is due, how it is evaluated and how often, how much is assigned each night and on weekends, and how much it counts towards the final grade.
Find out how to contact the teacher and what form of communication she prefers: email, voice mail or notes. Many teachers now use Web sites or weekly classroom newsletters to stay in touch with parents. If the teacher plans to send home a printed newsletter with your child, you'll want to know how often and if you should expect to receive it on a particular day of the week, so you'll know to remind your child.
Jeff Wright, 2006 Kentucky Teacher of the Year and a high school science teacher, urges parents to be proactive when it comes to contacting teachers. "When you look at the fact that high school teachers have around 150 students, it really does help when parents call me," he says. "Just having a parent call and say 'What's his behavior like? What's his grade like? Is he doing better for you?' really helps a teacher."
Denis Cruz, 2006 California Teacher of the Year, suggests asking these questions:
Many schools hold back-to-school night several weeks to a month after school starts. Other schools have a parent-orientation session, either before school starts or sometime during the first week of school. Advantages of parent orientation nights:
Advantages of back-to-school nights in late September:
Jeff Wright, a 2006 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, has both parent orientations and back-to-school nights at his high school. "We have an open house at the very beginning of fall," he says. "Later, we have a back-to-school night and every class - freshman, sophomore, junior, senior - will have different sessions on different nights. We do that because a lot of times people just can't make it on one night. It does help in that one night you deliver all the information, give the parents and students time to let that sink in, and then a couple of weeks later they come back and say, OK, here's all the questions we have."
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