Parents Have the Power

Parents have more power than they realize, and it may come in different forms than they expect.
I hear from parents who are frustrated because neighborhood schools do not meet the needs of their bright kids. Parents need to know that they have options—but one option that is not acceptable is to complain without acting positively. Here is a list of possibilities for action.

First and Foremost, Educate Yourself

School-Related Possibilities
  • Continue to work with your school and district in a positive, helpful manner. Be assertive, but not aggressive. Assertive parents present positive, educated alternatives and suggestions that build bridges. Aggressive parents cause educators to build walls of defense.
  • Offer to help in the school and classroom. Don't be surprised if you are never called if you offer general help; instead, come in with a specific need and suggestion. For instance, “It must be very difficult for you to work with all of your math students. I would love to help you by working with a small group of students on enrichment. What would be a good time for me to come in each week to help you?” Once you offer to do something like this, though, be there every week and on time. Be professional in honoring the confidentiality of students. Teachers need to be able to depend on you.
  • Think about any specific skills, interests, or hobbies that you may have. Is there a way you might use this knowledge to work with an individual child, a small group of students, or an entire class?
  • Sponsor a before or after-school club such as Chess Club or Math Club or Junior Great Books.
  • If you are still unhappy and your district/state allows it, transfer your child to another school that you feel is more academically suited to your child’s needs.

Outside of School Enrichment
  • Enroll your child in music lessons.
  • Consider children’s classes that are offered by private agencies, museums, and junior colleges.
  • Expose your child to enriching experiences such as travel, plays, and live music.
  • Encourage your child’s hobbies and other outside interests.

Outside of School Academic Experiences
  • Consider homeschooling your child.
  • Enroll your child in online classes.
  • Find a mentor for your child.
  • Hire a tutor who can work on enrichment and acceleration with your son or daughter.

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