Looking for ways to support your child’s education and effectively advocate for their success? Here are a few quick tips to get you started compiled by the Council’s Individual Advocacy Team.
Put it in Writing
As much as possible, put your communication to the school in writing, especially if you are requesting a meeting or services. Keep a copy of the letter, email, or note for your own records. This way, you have documentation of your requests and the responses you have received.
Keep your child’s education records in one place. This includes report cards, letters from the school, suspension notices, IEPs, evaluations, and other school-related documents. Create a folder in your email account to keep all school-related email communication together.
The first step to resolving any conflicts with school staff is to schedule a meeting to talk through concerns. You should ask questions and take notes.
Keep your cool
Try always to remain calm and rational during the meeting.
Get Support for You
Bring someone with you to important meetings. This person can be anyone who helps you to feel supported, such as a friend, relative, your student’s service provider, or advocate. Typically, there are several school employees present at meetings, and having someone to help you advocate may make you feel more comfortable and keep the meeting focused and productive.
Use the Tools to Stay Informed
Keep up to date with your child’s progress in school. Most school systems now have a website and/or smart phone app that allow you to see your child’s grades, attendance, and assignments. Check this resource regularly and follow up with your child’s teachers about your questions and/or concerns.
Get to know your child’s teachers. Teachers often know a lot about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Thank them regularly for the work they do to help support your child!
You can find more information about education issues, enrollment and at our FAQs for Families and Advocates pages.