Yogi Berra wisely said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Quibble with his grammar, but the message is sound regarding his forte, baseball. Many experts agree it applies to education, too.
The second half of the Monroeville school year is revving up after the winter break. Whether your child is average or in an individualized education plan (IEP) because of special needs, the return to school after the holidays can be challenging. Federal law requires that schools deliver an appropriate public education. School officials may need to be held to account, but experts say there are things parents can do, themselves, to get children on track after the break.
Jump-starting January and beyond
To set the course for the rest of the year, here are some suggestions from the ranks of Understood.org, the online community dedicated to helping families of children facing learning struggles.
The first recommendation is for you to conduct a personal assessment of your child’s performance in the first two grading periods. By looking back, you can spot what worked and what did not. You can develop plans for how to build on success and determine what opportunities exist for making improvements.
Adopt an attitude of ‘new beginning with a review of your child’s grades, his or her IEP, or 504 plan. Coordinating with teachers and school officials on possible shifts in focus is also wise.
In addition to that, consider these ideas:
- Get your child’s input. Brief but regular conversations that encourage your child to talk about aspirations for the rest of the year is considered better than one big talk about what might change in weeks ahead.
- Ask to meet with the teacher. While the law may only require annual review of your child’s IEP, you can ask for more frequent checks.
- Time changes with care. Changes in the IEP, if approved, don’t need immediate implementation. Many experts say it’s good to give your child and the whole IEP team two or three weeks.
- Prioritize the focus. Choose one or two areas for renewed attention. Too much change can be disruptive and derail progress that might have been realized in periods one and two.
One last thing you might want to do is get a calendar of milestone class events from your child’s teacher. With such an outline, you can better ensure that your child’s schedule includes the time necessary to properly prepare.