Here are CFCR’s top six tips on how to best advocate for your child at school:
1. Put each communication 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.
2. 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.
3. Schedule meetings with the school
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. As much as possible, try to stay calm and rational during the meeting.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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!