Support With School District
Most of the clients that have engaged us over the years have concerns or issues with how things are progressing educationally for their children. They often come to us looking for support with their school district with this desperate sense that there's a silver bullet when it comes to getting services that their child needs in order to be successful at school. Having ended my career in public education as an Administrator managing a large ABA program in schools, I'll tell you that there's one single thing that you can do to increase the chances of getting what you need for your child. That silver bullet is sharing your concerns and I'll tell you why.
In most cases, the documentation that Districts are required to maintain includes a small section that summarizes Parental Concerns. This is important to get support with your school district. This is the time for you to be as open and transparent as you can be with regards to sharing your concerns. I'd also make it incredibly clear that you want all the notes documented from that part of the meeting. Unfortunately, note takers often leave out your concerns so there's no record of what you shared during that meeting. I'd be clear that all of your comments, insight, and recommendations are added to the meeting notes.
Believe it or not, Districts do have an obligation to address your concerns. That does not necessarily mean that you'll just get what you want, but it will give you more of a voice. Whether your child has ADHD, Down Syndrome, CP, an Intellectual Disability, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), or even just behavioral or social issues, your role as their parent is to share your concerns as you have them, with the educational team that's in place to serve your child. You must be transparent in sharing your concerns. While seeking expert counsel is important, never underestimate the intuition that you'll have as a parent. Take action and be proactive when you intuitively believe that things are not progressing as they should be. This is one of the best ways to get support with the school district.
Having been on the other side, I'll tell you that Districts do not want to have documented concerns that are unaddressed. They also do not want unsigned plans in place so they'll be more likely to work with you on addressing your concerns (assuming that you have a formal plan in place that requires Parental Consent). Regarding Parental Consent, be mindful of what you're signing. Review everything twice and take the necessary time to be thoughtful and thorough. You can also take the documentation home to review before signing.
To recap, there is in a sense, a silver bullet in working with your District. The key is to be open, transparent, and collaborative in sharing your concerns as it pertains to the progress your child is making at school. If you need additional support in working with your District, we're available to help! We offer a number of services that specifically pertain to working with your child's educational programming, including program audits to ensure the right level of supports and services are in place for your child.
Rob @ Cultivate