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Director’s Corner August 2018

August 30th, 2018

I wanted to talk in this issue about the new school year, and as always the issues that come to mind revolve around communication, and the information that families sometimes have and sometimes share about their students. I can’t remember if it has ever come up in this space, but, in addition to a few other things, I am a member of the Cromwell Board of Education. In my mailbox for the last week or so have been a series of notices of what is going on in the school to get things ready to start. One of the messages talked about new teacher orientation and the fact that they were taking all the new teachers on a bus tour of the town so they would have a better idea of the place their students are coming from.

That sounded like a great idea and it made me think of the things we as parents can do to start out the new year with our students’ new teachers. A quick friendly note to welcome the teacher to the team and get him or her some helpful information. Something along the lines of:

Dear New teacher,

We are looking forward to a great new year with you and Sally. I know by now you have read her IEP, but that can’t give you a picture of the whole kid so I though you should know that she loves music, and especially (some band I’ve never heard of), she was particularly interested when the class worked on ecology last year, and is friends with John and Jill.

I also want you to know that when her asthma acts up she tends to lose focus and can sometimes act up. I will try and let you know when that is happening so you’ll understand and can be ready.

I also hope you will feel free to let me know about things that go on in school so we can work together….

Opening and maintaining lines of communication with your school is great, but it reminds me of our constant concern about what we should be trying to communicate, data. And as parents we need to be vigilant to be sure that the data that we and the educators have is accurate, and supports our student’s program. An important part of our job as a mom or dad is to make sure we understand the information that is used to design our student’s program. We also need to make sure that not only is our student learning, but that we on her team are learning from seeing what is or isn’t working. To work with the educators we can focus on questions about progress information and new questions. “I know you are working very hard on Sally’s reading program, but she is not making any progress. Should we be looking at what other experts say about using this approach with a student like her?” Is a lot more likely to get positive results than “You’re doing it wrong!” More importantly it follows what IDEA requires Teams to do.

In any case all of us at CPAC hope each of your students has a successful year. And if you need knowledge on how to help that happen we’re here for you.