Taking a closer look: My child’s academic success

The U.S. Department of Education provides simple tips for parents about how to be involved in your child's school and how to better manage the problems that may arise during the school year.



Parental Involvement


Work with your child’s teacher and school to keep the lines of communication open. Partner with the teacher to enhance the academic success and social well being of your child. Attend parent-teacher meetings and stay informed about your child’s academic progress. Discuss with your child’s teacher what you can do at home to help your child. Go on field trips with your child’s class and volunteer to help the teacher in the classroom, on the playground or at special events.


Talk with your child daily about school. Ask your child what he or she learned that day. Ask how the day went, and ask about your child’s friends. Review your child’s homework each evening, and consult homework Web sites if available. Be sure that your child completes all of his or her assignments


Be a Positive Voice for Your Child


Remember, teachers, principals and others who work for the school are there to help you. Be a voice for your child. That is your right. Also, work with the school to make sure your child’s needs are being met. Becoming a voice for your child makes you an advocate. As a parent, you are the advocate who speaks out for your child and the one who supports your child, not just financially but also emotionally, socially and academically.


Who knows your child better than you do? The teacher may know many things about your son or daughter, but the things that happen at home or have happened in your child’s life, only you know. You can voice your concerns and your dreams for your child. You are the adult best able to help your child succeed. By so doing, you become your child’s strongest supporter.




If a Problem Comes Up


If your child is having some problems with schoolwork, talk to him or her about the problem. Talk to the teacher, too. Meet with the teacher at a time that is convenient for you, the teacher and the school principal or vice principal. You may want to write a note, send an e-mail, telephone or visit the school in person to make an appointment. When you contact the school, explain to the staff person that you want to make an appointment to see the teacher, and thank the person for his or her help.


Be prepared for the meeting. Write down your notes and questions ahead of time. Discuss with the teacher what he or she can do to help. Ask how you may assist in helping your child. Remember to ask the teacher where you might get additional resources. Take careful notes. After the meeting, be sure to explain to your child what he or she may need to do to improve the situation or take advantage of help that is available. Check with the teacher in a few days to see if the situation has changed.




Here are some questions to consider when trying to solve a problem with your child:




Help for You


·         Have you asked other parents about your child’s teacher and the school?


·         Have you asked a teacher or staff person to introduce you to the teacher or principal?


·         Have you talked with the parent-teacher association or parent advisory council?


·         Have you attended parent-teacher conferences at school?


·         What is the best time to go to the school?


·         What is the best way to approach a particular teacher or principal?




Help for a Social Problem


·         What seems to be wrong with your child? Is your child disruptive in class?


·         Has a situation come up at home or at school that is a problem for your child?


·         Is the teacher aware of the problem or situation?


·         Is the teacher aware of the needs of your child?


·         Is your child afraid to go to school? Is your child being treated fairly?


·         Does your child need to change his or her seat?




Help for an Academic Problem


·         Is your child doing his or her homework?


·         If your child needs additional help, what do you want the teacher to do?


·         Does the school have a tutoring program?


·         Do you suspect that your child may have a disability?



By U.S. Department of Education


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