This article seeks to motivate partnership and proaction on the part of a parent with a child in public school
7 Steps to keeping your child safe at school
By Manes Pierre
As a parent, you have a lot of influence in your child’s life. However, the influence or the climate in which your child experiences at school can be very profound. Here are the 7 steps that you should take to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected:
1. Set up an appointment with your school administration to ensure that the leadership is culturally competent and sensitive to your child’s individual need within the first month of class. As you speak to the school principal or the designee, ask what the school has done or is doing to create a climate of acceptance for all children to feel comfortable to come to school. You must set the tone in terms of how you want your child to be treated. Make that investment. It is worth putting your child first!
2. Ask the school for a copy of the school strategic plan or ask the administration how that plan connects with the academic success of your child. That document must be made available to you upon request. It is worth putting your child first!
3. Ask the administration to share the school philosophy with regards to school detention versus school positive referral. Do they have a plan to keep your child in school if he/she acts differently than the rest of the class? In order words, do they promote a supportive model or a punitive model when dealing with student to student conflict, student to teacher conflict, parent to teacher conflict, teacher to teacher conflict and teacher to administration conflict? A school that does not function through a task-based approach will fail your child for a personality-driven school does not take into account differences of opinion, instead the school leadership will use threats, detention or even expulsion when dealing with the smallest sign of dissent. A school that strives on controlling your child and your child’s teachers instead of facilitating their success is not good match for your child. Make sure that your child is developing his/her God-given gifts without fear or discomfort. Your child is worth putting first!
4. Ensure that your child’s teacher has enough support to educate effectively. Find out if the administration is providing the support necessary to help your child succeed. For example, ask the school administration if textbooks are provided to support the district’s curriculum. In addition, ask if the school uses technology as part of the instructional model. The world has changed and for many people, change is very difficult. Find out what the school is doing to adapt our global world. Make sure you child is not left behind in this fierce global competition. Make sure your child is first in line for that global experience!
5. Ensure that your child receives a holistic education. In other words, find out how often your child goes to music, art, physical education (P.E), school clubs, foreign language class, among other things. It is essential that your child is exposed to a variety of educational skills. You want your child to have a menu of choices in his or her educational diet. Your child deserves to be first in line!
6. Remember to build a bridge with your child’s teacher. Your child spends one third of the day in school. It is essential that you know that your child is home away from home when he or she is in school. Beware of school administrators that bash their teachers. If your child’s teacher is disrespected and that disrespect comes from the school administration, this should be a warning that the school climate is personality-driven. Your child cannot be successful when the climate is not conducive for success for your child’s teacher. It is also essential that your child’s teacher supports the administration’s goals. A supportive environment is good for all children. If there is not support between administration and staff, your child’s education is in limbo. Watch out for a school that has a high teacher’s turnover ratio. It is a sign of a personality-driven school. No significant learning can take place at a school that drives out teachers year in and year out.
7. Finally, as a parent, you deserve to take care of yourself. If you are stressed out, overworked and overextended, chances are, you will not be able to put your child first. Go to an activity that rejuvenates you and brings you energy from time to time. It will be a lot easier to advocate and fight for your child’s education when your own life is balanced. Therefore, put your child first by living a proactive, fun-filled life.