“My son says he hates school. What should I do?”
“My daughter is failing in math. How do I get an after-school tutor for her?”
“A boy in my son’s class is bullying him, but no one seems to be helping him.”
“I’m thinking of moving my child to another school, but don’t know if I can or how to do it.”
Problems do come up for children at school. In most cases, it’s best to do something sooner rather than later, before the problem gets worse.
So if something isn’t working for your child at school, remember that it’s OK to speak up, ask questions, and find out what you need to know to change the situation. It might not be easy! You may not always get an answer with the first, second, or even third person you ask. But if you start building a network of people and places now, you can rely on them when you need to find information that will help you solve a problem
Here are some of the people and places you can turn to in order to support your child’s success:
Your child’s teacher
If you have questions about your child’s progress in school, start by asking his or her teacher. A good teacher expects you to ask questions — it shows you’re paying attention. Your child’s teacher may not have all the answers, but he or she may be able to point you to someone who does.
Your school’s staff
Sometimes, though, the teacher can’t help you solve a problem. Remember that the school staff is also there to help parents. Make an appointment to talk with the principal or vice principal — or stop by the front office and see if the secretary can answer your question. It’s likely that lots of other people have asked the same question, and someone has the answer for you.
Your school district
Your school district oversees several schools in your area. If the teachers and administrators at your child’s school can’t help you with a problem, you can ask the district. School districts are usually run by a school board and a superintendent — if you search for your school’s district online, you’ll find its website and contact information. (Or ask someone at your child’s school for that information.) Even if you don’t need help right now, you can learn a lot about what’s going on in your community’s schools — and meet other involved parents — by attending one of the district’s regular meetings, which are open to the public.
Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs)
PTAs and PTOs are groups that support schools by getting parents involved. The PTA’s mission statement says, “We invite the stranger and welcome the newcomer.” So don’t be shy about visiting. You can look for your PTA here: http://www.pta.org/jp_find_your_pta.html. You’ll meet other parents who can be helpful in answering all sorts of questions about your child’s school and education.
Your friends, family, and coworkers
You may be surprised to find out what the people around you — in your own extended family, workplace, or place of worship — already know. They may have faced similar situations with their own kids. The only way you’ll find out is if you ask them.