HELPING PARENTS RESOLVE PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL
As hard as parents, teachers, and students work to try to make each school day productive and successful, the reality is that from time to time problems arise. It is important to resolve all problems as quickly and completely as possible. If your teachers and administrators do not know about a problem, they cannot help you solve it. To help students have the best possible school experience, we ask all parents to follow these simple guidelines when a problem occurs:
- When your child has a problem or concern, call the teacher who is most directly involved.
- If you are not satisfied with the solution after your discussion with the teacher, call the school principal. The principal will review the situation and make recommendations for a resolution.
- If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction after your discussion with the principal, call the superintendent. He will study the issue and develop a plan for resolving the problem.
- If you are still not satisfied with the resolution, write a letter about your concern to the Board of Education for their consideration.
Helpful Hints in Handling Problems
The following information was excerpted from the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ brochure.
Why is it important to begin with my child’s teacher?
Your child’s teacher is likely to have the most information about the problem. Starting with the teacher also demonstrates your respect.
When a problem comes up, how should I deal with the school?
Teachers and administrators understand that some of their actions may be met with initial responses of anger and frustration by parents, but parents must keep in mind that such responses lead to confrontation rather than problem-solving. Try to keep an open mind, get the facts, and write them down. You will then be in a better position to clearly discuss what you see as the issues to be resolved.
When I want to report a problem, should I use my name?
Parents often express concern that their child will suffer retribution at school if his or her name is associated with a complaint. On the contrary, teachers and administrators appreciate it when you present your concerns in a way that shows you are willing to solve problems and they can assure you that retribution is not tolerated. Giving your name lends credibility to your complaint and allows for follow-up to ensure that the complaint has been investigated and resolved.
Who should I believe when told about an incident that happened at school?
Often the conflict and emotions that arise from an incident cloud the retelling. You should look for the facts and suspend judgment until you have heard and thought about all sides of the story.
What’s the best way to contact a teacher about a problem?
Let the teacher know by phone or in person that you have a problem you wish to discuss. It’s a good idea to have prepared notes, including questions to be asked, clarifications to be sought, and points to be made. Listen without interruption to the teacher’s response, while taking additional notes. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the discussion, tell the teacher that you plan to bring the matter to the next level. Whether you do this or not, it’s important to avoid confrontation and maintain civil contact with the teacher about your child’s education in general.
What are the best strategies for contacting the principal about a problem?
Call or make an appointment to see the principal. Tell him or her that you have spoken with the Teacher. Use your notes to describe the outcome. If you bypassed the teacher, explain why and share whatever information you have. In either case, understand that the principal will not address your problem until he or she has spoken with the teacher – who may be invited to sit in on the discussion – and examined all available resources.
How do I develop a good relationship with my child’s teacher?
Call or introduce yourself personally to teachers early in the school year. Share information about your child and your family, including interests and activities. Building relationships with teachers early may help prevent problems later.
Please see Series 1000 of the Board of Education Policy Manual for additional guidelines on communicating within the district.