Friday, September 29, 2017

Communicate With Your Child's Teacher!

Installment 2: Start the School Year Off Right! 
Effectively Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher…
We’re now almost a full month into the school year, so this week’s installment is designed to help you effectively communicate with your child’s teachers and set a positive tone for the new academic year. Keep in mind that regular communications with the teacher benefit your child and ensure that her/his learning needs are central in the teacher’s mind.

If elected, I want to introduce new traditions and practices like this regular information sheet to enhance your child’s education through the Englewood Public School District. I would also like to host parent forums and workshops to be held twice during each school year (Thank you for this fantastic suggestion, Omar) and an annual Read Out Englewood Literacy Fair to encourage students’ literacy growth.

Most importantly, I will never forget that my primary role as a duly elected Board of Education member is to serve and assist you in providing your child with a high-quality, excellent public school education. And now onto the tips for enhancing communication with your child’s teacher.

Arrange a time to visit your child’s classroom and meet with her or his teacher, as soon as possible. The sole purpose of this meeting is to introduce yourself and clearly present your expectations regarding regular communication, academic progress and any important information that could impact your child’s educational success. 

For example:
  • How frequently would you like updates on your child’s progress in class? 
  • Is it best to call or email you, if there is a problem? 
  • When is the best time to contact you? 
  • Would you like to be notified when the child is in danger of failing a class/subject or would you like to know about the lack of progress early enough to intervene? 
  • Does your child have a 504 or IEP? 
  • Does your child have a food allergy, epilepsy or another medical condition that requires the teacher to follow a certain protocol?
Send notes, emails and call, if you’re unable to meet with your child’s teacher and explain the reason a visit is inconvenient at this time. But, make certain that your child’s teacher knows that you are a concerned parent/caregiver who will be actively involved in your child’s education. Also, suggest times to meet that work for you and see whether the teacher can accommodate your schedule. 

Volunteer in your child’s classroom or at the school, when available. If the teacher sees you on a regular basis and knows that you have a presence in the school, she/he also knows that establishing a positive relationship with you is necessary. 

Lastly, check your child’s notebook and homework routinely. Then, you can give the teacher real-time information about your child’s trouble understanding a concept or practice. 

Excerpted from Paul, D. G. (2000). Raising Black Children Who Love Reading and Writing: A Guide from Birth through Grade 6. Bergin & Garvey/Greenwood Publishing Group, 88 Post Road West, PO Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881-5007.

Paid for by Dierdre G. Paul, P.O. Box 471, Teaneck, New Jersey, 07666

Monday, September 25, 2017

Know Your Child’s Educational Rights in the Englewood Public Schools

Dr. Dierdre G. Paul

What is the difference between an IEP and a 504?
Navigating the education system can be challenging for all parents, but it is even more so for parents/caregivers of children with special needs. 

One of my campaign promises is to make the process easier for you by providing regular informational pieces, tips, and links. 

I will never forget that my primary role as a duly elected Board of Education member is to serve and assist you in providing your child with a high-quality, excellent public school education in the Englewood Public School District.

An IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) is, generally, for those students who have been evaluated by the Child Study Team and classified. 504s are usually provided for students who have not undergone the evaluation process but still struggle (academically) in school.

Parents of children with both, IEPs and 504s, must consent to their children’s educational evaluation by the school district. 

A student with an IEP can receive an independent educational evaluation by an outside expert of your choice, paid for by the district and at no cost to you, the parent. Further, the district doesn’t have to agree to pay beforehand.

If a significant change is made to either, your child’s IEP or 504, you are entitled to written notice prior to the enactment of the change.

IEPs must be evaluated each year and the student must be reevaluated every three (3) years. While it isn’t mandated that a 504 be evaluated each year, it is a commonly held expectation that they should follow the same pattern of evaluation set for IEPs. Thus, parents should expect that 504s are annually evaluated and the student is reevaluated every 3 years.

Paid for by Dierdre G. Paul, Services Provided by Rightway Project, LLC

(Freely copied from Dr. Paul's Facebook status Update.)