Taking an active role in your child’s education can give them a huge leg up in the classroom. And the best way to start getting involved is with some simple conversations. Here are five important questions to ask your child’s teacher to gain a better understanding of their approach to learning, ensure that you stay in the loop with your child’s progress, and provide the best support possible all year long:
1. What are the most important concepts and skills my child needs to master this school year?
State standards indicate various skills at each grade level that must be mastered in order for students to be successful in the next grade level. Have a conversation with your child’s teacher to understand what foundational concepts they will be working on throughout the school year to ensure that you’re reinforcing the same skills at home as you assist your child.
2. What standards will my child’s learning be assessed against, and how will you measure their progress?
Every state has its own set of academic standards and system in place for measuring student progress against those standards. Some schools and districts even have their own standards that your student may be assessed on. Talk to your child’s teacher about the role of standards and assessment in their classroom, and be sure you’re aware of key testing dates. It’s also a good idea to ask about the format of classroom and high-stakes assessments. For instance, will project-based learning be used to determine concept master? Will state tests be administered online? Gaining an understanding of what testing will look like for your child can help you more effectively support their efforts to prepare.
3. How do you use technology in your classroom?
Technology is playing a more and more significant role in day-to-day life, and the classroom is no exception. Find out what devices, online programs, and learning management systems will be utilized in your child’s classroom. Will they be issued a device by the school that they’re using daily, or are they expected to bring their own? What guidelines for responsible use of technology and digital citizenship will your child’s teacher enforce? You can also ask if any online tools or preparation programs are available through the district for your child to access at home for additional practice.
4. How will you communicate with me on a regular basis regarding my child’s progress?
Educators have their own methods and processes for communicating with students’ parents and caregivers. Be proactive about clarifying what that looks like for your child’s educators, and establish an open line of communication early in the school year. Talk about which methods of communication are most convenient for both of your, whether it’s email, phone calls, texting, or messaging through an online program used in the classroom. Keeping in regular contact will help you to stay informed about whether or not your child is working at grade level and establish an action plan with your child’s educator if he or she does begin to fall behind.
5. What programs are in place to ensure that my child is in a safe, caring, and healthy environment while at school?
A significant portion of your child’s day-to-day life takes place at school; make sure that it is happening in a positive setting! Ask about specific policies and initiatives in place at your child’s school regarding discipline, bullying prevention, physical activity, and high-quality nutrition.
By: Sarah Cornelius