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We want our children’s teachers to recognize and build on their strengths. For the past 3 videos we’ve been talking this, Click here to see the previous videos. We know our kids will be more successful when others believe in them and provide the supports they need.
So, building relationships with teachers and other staff is very important. We want them to learn about our child’s strengths and be committed to providing the services they deserve.
I challenge you to take time before the new school year to not only make a list of your child’s gifts and strengths but to also write down the strengths and talents of the staff that work with your children.
Today, let’s take a step back and reflect on the strengths and talents of the teachers and school administrators in the school or in the District.
Ask your child to sit down with you and make a list of all the positive things that have happened at his school. When school starts this year, make sure you find a way to show your appreciation to the staff for their strengths and the positive impact they’ve had on your child’s life.
There are some people working at the school that get overlooked. Is the school a clean, safe, and welcoming environment? We know our school’s custodian do more than clean the building and sprinkle that powdered stuff on carpets when kids are sick. Custodians can be one of our kids champions! Thank the school custodian at the beginning of the year.
Does your child feel comfortable going to the office and asking for help? Share your gratitude with the school secretary. The secretary can be one of your greatest allies at the school – they’re often the go-to person that knows the scoop on what is happening. So, make sure you develop a positive relationship with them.
Have you noticed over the summer how much your child’s reading improved? Tell his teacher you’re thrilled about this. Teachers, like all of us need to know what they’re doing is making a difference for kids. Tell them you appreciate their efforts.
Have you received support from the principal? Stop in her office and share how much that meant to you. Principals often hear from parents when things aren’t going well. Start the school year off by making sure the principal knows how thankful you are for all she’s done to support you and your child.
Is there a trusted adult always willing to help your child in the classroom or on the playground? Take a minute and thank that person. There are many staff that help our kids on a daily basis and we want to make sure we let them know much we value them.
Throughout the school year, think of all the positive aspects of your child’s school day, identify who makes that possible, and let them know you appreciate them!
Now, I’m not naïve and I know many parents have had struggles getting the education that their child deserves. I know because I sit next to parents every week at IEP meetings and help them advocate for their child.
And I also believe it’s critical to build and nurture relationships. Remember the 3 Rs of advocacy are Relationships, Relationships, Relationships! So, begin this new school year by honoring and valuing the people in your child’s life.
When teachers are appreciated it energizes them. It also increases the likelihood that when they work with your child they will invest more in him and provide the supports and services he needs.
If you’d like to learn more, Chapter 5 in my book: The Art of Advocacy: A Parent’s Guide to a Collaborative IEP Process is all about Building Authentic Relationships. And the good news is, I just reduced the price of it to 99 cents for the Kindle version. Grab your copy now while this Back-To-School sale is still on. Click here.
Today’s 3 Advocacy Action steps you can take are:
1. Make list of staff’s strengths.
2. Thank staff.
3. Build relationships.
I love this quote by Judith Billings, “Children are the priority. Change is the reality. Collaboration is the strategy.”
As a parent and as an advocate my purpose is to partner with parents like you and collaborate with the school staff so your child will be happy, safe and learning at school!