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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fall Is a Good Time for Parents to Strengthen School Connections

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

The start of the school year in the fall marks a new beginning for students and families. If you’re a parent, now is a good time to think about what you can do to support your children’s learning and commit to taking those actions all year round.

One big thing you can do as a parent is strengthen connections with your children’s teachers and school staff. Cooperation and shared responsibility between parents and teachers are necessary to foster learning and students’ success in school. As a parent, your responsibilities call for you to:

  • Work with teachers to set goals for your children's education. Remember — you are a partner with teachers in your children’s academic success.
  • Make the first contact with your children’s teachers. Talk with them at the beginning of the school year before you have any concerns about your children’s work and continue meeting with them throughout the year. It’s easier to celebrate successes and work out problems if you already have a relationship with the teacher.
  • Ask for a language interpreter or a cultural guide if you need them. This will help prevent any misunderstandings stemming from cultural differences.
  • Let teachers know about big events in your children's lives, including a death or serious illness in the family, divorce or separation, job loss, or reduced income. When teachers know about these events, it helps them understand behavior changes and provide support.
Teachers and schools should:
  • Provide an inviting, supportive climate for parents and families.
  • Examine and, if necessary, update their practices for partnering with parents to ensure children's academic success.
  • Listen to parents and respond to their thoughts and desires for their children with respect.
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