Tracking Your Teen’s School Progress
Are you having trouble keeping track of your teen's school progress? Have you been shocked to discover your teen is failing only after it was too late to salvage the quarter or semester grade?
In general, parents receive less and less feedback from school as their children get older. This is understandable: The older the student, the more responsibility he or she should be given to take care of things personally.
However, you are still the parent and need to know how your child is doing in school. Even if the responsibility of completing homework rests on your teen, you need information about deficiencies before it is too late. You can then take your own action. You might consider providing extra help for your teen, withholding privileges or just asking for a heads-up from school about possible red flags. A bad grade might simply be a snag in one class, but failing grades are also an early sign of problems such as chemical use, negative peer influence, bullying
or internalizing problems such as depressed mood or anxiousness.
Managing School Matters
If you have concerns about your teen's academic or behavioral activities:
Identify important school staff with whom you should meet. This includes your teen's teachers, the school principal, counselors, the school secretary and possibly others.
Introduce yourself to school professionals, and tell them who your child is.
Project an attitude of cooperation with school professionals. Tell them you want to work with them to ensure your teen's success in school.
Determine how often you should contact school staff. Base your decision on your teen's needs and his or her teachers' schedules.
Make a plan for maintaining contact with school staff, such as weekly phone calls, school notes, assignment books and emails.
Make a special plan to work together with the school when problems in your teen's schoolwork or behavior arise.
In addition to these actions, be sure to attend all scheduled parent-teacher conferences and other events where you can at least touch base with your teen's teachers about his or her progress.
Many parents contact the school only when they are upset about something. The best way to build a strong relationship with school staff is to make positive contact whenever possible. Show appreciation for the efforts teachers and counselors are making to help your teen. Everyone benefits when the relationships between school and home are positive and cooperative.
A Guide for Parents by Peg Dawson, EDD, NCSP
Home-School Conferences: A Guide for Parents by Andrea Canter, Ph.D., NCSP
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