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Seven Questions You Need to Ask on Back-to-School Night

With the new school year upon us, parents will be attending a back-to-school night at their child’s school. Many ask us, “What questions should I be asking?” Here are seven you might explore with your child’s teachers and principal.

  1. In what ways will my child’s learning be connected to the real world? Too often, students don’t see how school assignments relate to their lives outside school. Their engagement can soar when they see how those assignments help with other activities they enjoy.
  2. How will my child be assessed? To what extent will your child be assessed on creative or analytic written work, in-depth exploration of intellectual interests, completing complicated projects, or generating thought-provoking questions? Will assessments encourage a student to take risks and make productive mistakes, and allow them to produce original work of which they’re proud?
  3. To what extent will my child be setting their own goals? Students who set their own goals can develop a sense of personal agency and responsibility that will serve them well as adults.
  4. How important is student engagement in this class/school? Bored students are less likely to learn well. Teachers know this and want their students to find school interesting. But how will your school determine whether students are engaged?
  5. What skills and mind-set should my child be developing in this class? During this school year? Ask teachers and principals about the skills and mind-set they want students to develop. Make your own list before back-to-school night. How will the coming school year help your child develop these skills and attitudes? How will your school know that progress is being made?
  6. What is our school’s approach to ensuring a healthy and supportive environment for children? How is your school thinking about social and emotional learning? What do educators look for as early warning indicators? What are the respective roles of educators and parents when an unhealthy dynamic starts to unfold?
  7. How much time will my child spend preparing for and taking standardized tests? Unfortunately, education in the United States still largely revolves around standardized tests. Educators know the flaws of the assessments and struggle with being held accountable by them, and with their impact on students and their families. If you share their concerns, ask how parents can play a constructive role in reducing the impact of these tests.

Read the full article for additional  recommendations.

Excerpted from “7 questions you need to ask on back-to-school night” in On Parenting, a twice weekly newsletter on modern parenting published by The Washington Post.  Authored by Ken Robinson — education expert, author, TED Talker — and Ted Dintersmith, education activist and author.  Robinson is the author of “You, Your Child and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education.” Dintersmith is the author of “What School Could Be.”

Source: The Washington Post | The relief, and heartbreak, of watching my autistic son becoming more socially aware, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/08/23/mommy-will-my-friends-make-fun-of-me | © 2018 The Washington Post

Have questions? CHC can help. To schedule an evaluation or to get advice about your child’s challenges, call or email a CHC Care Coordinator at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org

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