Mother And Preteen Daughter in guidance with professional

Tips on how parents can advocate constructively for their child with school staff

Oct. 21, 2022 – They say it takes a village to raise a child and that is certainly true when it comes to helping children succeed academically.

When school staff and parents work together harmoniously, children benefit.

Leila Jenkins, a specialist with the Florida Inclusion Network, recently hosted a Parent Academy course designed to help parents navigate the best ways to advocate for their children positively with school staff.

Jenkins had several suggestions for parents who have concerns about any aspect of their child’s educational experience at the school.

One of her biggest recommendations is for parents to create a suggested and constructive plan of action that addresses the concerns. Then reach out to the school, keeping the following points in mind.

  • Agree on how to meet – Know whether in-person, virtual, or over the phone best meets everyone’s needs and schedules.
  • Identify the specific concern or topic – It is important for families to know what they want to have addressed during the meeting. Knowing the topic or concern will allow for school staff to properly identify the right people to participate in the meeting to problem-solve.
  • Timing is everything – Plan a time that works best for the family and the school so the concern can be discussed fully. Communicating important issues regarding your child may be difficult right before school starts, at the very end of school, or at a sporting event.
  • Listen to others with an open mind – Go into the meeting knowing what you want to say, but also keep an open mind for new ideas, information, and perspectives.
  • Words of affirmation can go a long way – Taking a moment to thank school staff or acknowledge their hard work can help build rapport and foster a positive communication flow.

For additional information, families can watch the full “Communicating positively with school staff” course. While it’s geared toward families of students with disabilities, the course provides information applicable for all families of school-aged children.

Note – You will be required to enter your name and email address before playing the video.

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