Even if you relocate often or are temporarily deployed, there are ways you can build a relationship with the school and your child's teachers and help your child perform as well as he or she can. Your relationship with the school will benefit the school and demonstrate to your child and the school staff the importance you attach to education. The following tips can help you build a strong relationship with your child's school.
- Meet the staff. Make a special effort to meet your child's teacher. If your child is younger, consider accompanying him or her to school on the first day to say hello. If your child is starting at a new school, arrange a meeting with the teacher to discuss programs, texts and the curriculum.
- Be aware of school policies. Keep on top of events by reading the parent group newsletter, the school bulletin board, the school handbook and flyers that your child brings home. If you are away from home and the school has a website, log on regularly for updates and information. Be sure to understand the school's calendar and policies on what to do in bad weather, if your child is sick or forgets lunch.
- Attend events. Try to attend back-to-school nights, open houses, school fairs and other programs to stay connected. They are excellent opportunities to chat with your child's teachers and meet other school staff members.
- Volunteer at school. As your schedule permits, try to volunteer at your child's school. By participating, you can help improve the quality of school life. There are ways to help even if you cannot be at school during the day. You might help other parents organize a weekend fundraiser for new playground equipment or discuss solutions to a high school gang problem. You could offer to coach a sports team on weekends, chaperone the school dance or share your deployment experience as a guest speaker in your child's classroom once you return home. You can even help your child's classroom teacher by doing volunteer work at home, such as coordinating class parties or assembling student projects.
- Join the parent-teacher group. Try to attend meetings of the school's parent-teacher organization. These groups provide information about educational planning; keep parents informed about testing and changes in district policies; and raise funds for the schools. If your child's school doesn't have a parent-teacher group, contact the national PTA or the national PTO network and other interested parents to find out how to start one.
- Attend school board meetings. By attending important school board meetings, you can voice concerns - and praise - to the school board, the organization that oversees the school district.