Friday, July 25, 2014

Help for Parents Navigating the School System

I've been corraling stories about how to help parents make informed choices about schools and how to judgm how their child's school is doing.

Need help figuring out schools?   A handy "cheat sheet" of what to ask from the Huffington Post.

More questions you should ask your school/district especially around student data privacy.  This is a truly great and comprehensive list. 

A great idea for parents that teachers/administrators use - "learning walks."  From Edutopia:

It is an invitation to parents to come to the school for a set period of time (an hour or two), to go on a guided tour of the school/classrooms during the school day. Not to look at the decor - but to learn more about the learning happening or explore other topics revolving around education and the school

Each tour/learning walk, would have a topic or theme to guide the discussion and help with selection of which classrooms to visit. The thought is more about giving parents an opportunity to witness what a “real” lesson looks like and not a “dog and pony show” lesson. These are also not about a parent sitting in on and observing THEIR child...but to learn more about a topic or the school through observing in them in action. Following the Learning Walk, the group would sit down to talk more in depth about what they've observed and answer questions.

Last, not to discourage anyone, but this is a list of the "worst" college majors (they lumped Liberal Arts into one category). 

I find myself in a struggle over this issue of what a young person should choose to major in especially if the jobs available don't match what either what their strong points are and/or they have little interest in pursuing.  But it's a competitive economy and hard to know what the best road to take may be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On this topic SPS Teaching and Learning can do a lot to provide an on ramp to the revised corrective action plan for special education (url anyone?) with OSPI.

An indicator that I suggest tracking is families feeling that they/we have successfully understood and advocated for what they/we think their child or IEP needs. Has SPS met the family at least half way?

To enable this, the SPED Dept and T&L need to bear down on what families know and need to know re IDEA. IDEA places a lot of burden and opportunity on families. Families have to be THE advocates.

SPS happens to be the ONLY district nearby that does not have a contract with the Arc of King County, which offers regular trainings to families on navigating their school districts in reference to IDEA and ADA.

Families' sense of accomplishment in navigating esp in buildings where the administration's first and last response is defensive or close-minded and gate-keeping, is something that in my opinion could have and should have been encapsulated in the corrective action plan for SPS from OSPI.