There’s so much for a parent to keep track of: open houses, parent-teacher conferences, back-to-school nights, PTA meetings, field trips, school assemblies, school vacation days, and fundraisers. Here are six ways to make sure you get the information you need:
Your child’s backpack
Especially for younger children, chances are you’ll learn about most school news and functions through newsletters and notes your child brings home in her backpack. When she gets home from school, ask her to empty her backpack — at least a few times a week — so you can sort through any papers meant for you. This can apply with middle schoolers, too.
Try reading through them with your child. That way, you can talk about all the things going on at school. This will help you remember important events — and let your child know that you are interested in what goes on at school.
The school website
Most schools have a website where they post the latest school news and information. If you don’t know it, call the school office to find out the web address. At some schools, every teacher maintains a web page, so you might even be able to keep up with homework assignments, field trips, and other information about your child’s classroom.
The school newsletter
Many schools put out a regular newsletter (often, once a week) that has all the news for the upcoming week. It may come home in your child’s backpack (so don’t forget to check!). But more and more schools send their newsletter by email. If your school has an e-newsletter, make sure the school office has your correct email address so that you can get the newsletter sent to your email inbox. The moment you receive a newsletter, so important events don’t get forgotten, enter important dates right away onto your phone’s calendar and set a reminder the day before.
The school bulletin board
When you go into the school, regularly check the central bulletin board. (If you don’t know where it is, ask at the front office.) Aside from school news and announcements, you may see notices from other parents that interest you.
The class parent
If you haven’t heard from a “class parent” yet, ask your child’s teacher who it is and how to contact them. The class parent is someone who has volunteered to let other parents know about class events and organize volunteer events. The class parent is the person to check with about what kind of help the teacher might need in the classroom. She will also know about any upcoming events. Make sure to keep her email or phone number handy in case you have questions.
Feel free to ask your child’s teacher (either in parent-teacher meetings, at pickups or drop-offs, or through email or phone if there are school or classroom events you should know about. If it seems like you’re often missing important information, ask the teacher what the best way is to keep informed about school news.