The Parent Advocate: Our Best Tips

How to get involved in your child’s school

It’s no surprise that parents want the best for their children. And academic success plays an important part in leading young people on the path toward post-secondary education and meaningful employment. But when you’re a family of immigrants, English isn’t your first language or the school system seems too difficult to understand, how do you help your child get there? Here are our best tips for every parent to be more involved in their child’s school.

Stay informed.

Find out what the policies are at your child’s school. Ask to meet with a teacher or the principal for more information, or pick up a copy of the student handbook. If it’s not available in your language, don’t be shy about asking for an interpreter or a translated copy.

Don’t be a stranger.

Make every effort to attend regular parent-teacher interviews and school events. For times when you’re unavailable, schedule a special appointment to discuss your child’s progress. It’s easier to address any problems or issues that arise if you and the teacher have already met.

Come out.

Do your best to attend the school meetings you’ve been invited to. These are good opportunities to find out more about crucial aspects of school life such as special education, IEP (individualized education program) and discipline policies.

Write it down.

If your issue cannot be easily addressed, keep written notes about what was said during important meetings and conversations. Have a list of questions ready and ask for an interpreter if you are uncomfortable with your English language skills.

Keep your cool.

Concerns about our children can be upsetting. Remain composed even if the situation is frustrating. People are more likely to listen to what you have to say when you speak calmly.