The one thing I want every parent to understand is that they are the most important influence in their child's life. Therefore, you must be a positive partner with the schools and work together to see that your child is meeting all academic benchmarks. That brings us to tip #73.
Tip #73: Administration and Teachers Must be Effective.
The school administration and teachers are there to educate and assist in developing your child academically and socially. You are there to make sure your child respects you, adults, peers, and themselves and values an education.
According to New Visions for Public Schools an effective school has a clear focus and high expectations of their staff, parents as well as their students. Effective schools motivate and engage the entire school community and inspire their members to strive constantly to ensure the success of every student. In effective schools there is a clear focus. Further, the school has high expectations coupled with an action plan for achieving excellence for every student and the belief that every student can learn. Does your child's school meet these criteria so that your child is getting the "Best Education Possible"?
Questions to Ask or Things to Do:
1. Are the principal, teachers, parents, and community partners working closely together to make the school successful? An example would be is there an active Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and the officers should meet with the administration to assist with the overall school program and goals?
2. Encourage your child to go to school with a purpose of learning and try to keep them excited about learning by checking papers, checking homework, and praising accomplishments.
3. Try to make sure your child feels successful in and out of the classroom. Have your child involved in after school activities such as sports, dance programs, art or singing lessons, or academic team competitions.
4. Are there programs and curriculum in place for advanced learners at your school, and is your child being challenged?
5. Are there tutoring and other programs in place for students having difficulties in learning? Check with local churches, Girls and Boys Clubs, civic organizations, and some college students tutor for service learning credits.
6. If your child is having academic difficulty, is there a group of professionals at school diagnosing and working to help that child? (And are you working with your child to help them keep up with the the class at home?)
7. Have you gone to teacher conferences to know your child progress academically? And are you working with the teacher to make sure your child is successful and truly understand what you should be focusing on?
8. Does the teacher make suggestions as to what you could be doing at home, and is the plan being followed?
9. Can your child do most of the homework independently and complete it in a timely manner? If not talk to the teacher to find out exactly why the homework is taking so much time and see what can be worked out. (In my opinion, homework should take 30-60 minutes, increased or decreased based on the student's performance behind or ahead of their class.)
10. Is there good communications between home and school through newsletters, emails, telephone calls, and visits? (there should be weekly communication of expectations of your child and a mid term progress reports /meeting as to the progress and grade the student is getting at midpoint).
11. Do you feel good about your child's academic progress? If not, partner with the teachers to learn what you can do to help and what your child needs to do to be accountable.