Ask the Horizons Team: Parent-School Partnerships
As a special education team leader in an elementary school, I’ve been taking to heart some of the things you’ve written about regarding parent-school partnerships. I’m looking to make our school district less stressful and frustrating for families whose children struggle in school. What are some of the biggest complaints that you receive from families in regards to their interactions with schools? I’m curious what you hear from parents so we can try to avoid making the same mistakes.
Bridgett in Brooklyn, NY
First of all, thank you for reading our newsletter and I’m glad you are benefitting from some of the ideas we share in it. I’d also like to praise you for looking at how you can change things in your school to better meet the needs of parents and families! Off the top of my head, here are some of the biggest “complaints” our team hears from parents in regards to interactions with school staff members:
- Every year is like starting over. We sit down for conferences and hear the same thing we did the year before, and then the teachers begin to look at what supports should be put in place. Why can’t there be better communication between the teachers each year so we are prepared to have the supports in place right from the beginning?
- I feel like I’m constantly being told/reminded that my child struggles in a specific area (or every area), and it’s very difficult. I am very aware of my child’s struggles and don’t need to be constantly reminded. I just want teachers/school staff members to tell me how they are helping my child improve. Some reminders of the things my child is good at wouldn’t hurt every now and then, either!
- It’s very frustrating when school staff members constantly ask us what they should do about our child’s struggles. While I appreciate being included in the discussion and having the opportunity to provide ideas, often I am just as stumped as you are about what to do. We deal with so much at home as parents of a special needs child, and it’s hard for us to know all the ins and outs of how things work at school. Once in a while we’d love to have something that tells us how they are supporting our child, and maybe even give us ideas of what we can be doing at home to make things easier for our child and family.
I hope this helps you think about some things that might make your programs even better for the children and families you serve. Thanks for keeping the needs of parents and families in mind!