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“Brandon, where’s you book bag?”

“It’s on the kitchen table, mom!”

“Bring it to me right now!”

“Oh mom, it’s a new school year. Give me a chance. My homework is already finished!”

“That’s fine, I still want your book bag. Last year, I didn’t keep up with all of the school notices and I don’t intend to miss this year’s back to school night or any conferences with your teacher. Even though everything is on the school’s website, you know our internet goes down sometimes. Not to mention when my smart phone doesn’t act so smart! So, get used to it! I’ll be checking your book bag for notices on a regular basis.”

Sound familiar?

When my children were in school, there were times that I missed dates, activities and school meetings. Creating and implementing engaging lesson plans and marking papers by day (and often at night) while managing the activities of my two sons was exciting, rewarding, challenging and often tiring. Especially the year that I was teaching 4th grade and my oldest was also in the 4th grade!

As an educator, I understood the importance of fostering parent-teacher relationships. I understood the importance of collaborating with my sons’ teachers. I understood that the quality of the collaboration had a positive impact on my son’s educational/social growth and development. I understood that the Back to School Night experience was usually where it all began.

After the principal’s introduction to all parents in the auditorium, parents excitedly travel to the classrooms.

This week, I will share a few tips to help you make the most of your Back to School Night experience.

1. Be prepared to hear an overview of the teacher’s expectations, daily schedule, curriculum, and classroom rituals. Examine your child’s textbooks, classroom library, technology and digital lessons. Remember: Your child’s learning tools and how they use them are essential to your child’s success.

2. Actively listen, ask questions and take notes about the teacher’s presentation. Remember: This is not the time for in specific in-depth discussions about your child. Request an individual parent teacher conference about your child. Don’t wait until the middle of the marking period progress reports.

3. Experience the total classroom environment and look for examples of student work, bulletin boards, learning stations, seating arrangements etc. This is where your child spends the majority of their day. It should be an inviting place where learners can soar. Remember:It’s still early in the school year and the teacher may post works in progress.In other words, work that shows the process of learning.

4. Be sure to get the teacher’s contact information to keep the nes of communication open. If your child had challenges in the previous grade, contact the teacher on a weekly basis to ensure your child is making progress. If your child excelled in the previous grade, keep in touch with the teacher to ensure your child continues to soar. If your child seems bored, disinterested, troubled or out of sorts, contact the teacher to see if they exhibit any of these behaviors in the classroom. Remember: Students do better in school when parents and teachers work together.Your child’s teacher is the always the point of contact if you have concerns.Make every effort to connect with them before reaching out to the principal.

5. Consider writing an encouraging note to your child; let them know you expect great things from them this school year. Tell them how proud you are of them and will do your part to help them be happy and successful. They will be delighted to read it the next morning when they arrive at school.

Remember: Children thrive on love and positive encouragement.


Remember: If you have concerns about anything and don’t have time to ask the teacher during BTSN, write a note or send an email the next day.

“There is a brilliant child locked inside every student.”

Marva Collins

Next week’s post will feature ways to prepare for a positive parent teacher conference.

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