You probably know the importance of building a bridge with your child’s school and maintaining communicative, positive relationships with his or her teacher, but are you taking advantage of the breadth of other school resources available to you? Eileen Huntington, co-founder of Huntington Learning Center suggests that parents seek assistance and guidance from various individuals throughout their child’s school years. “Every school employs support staff members who are there to help students flourish,” says Huntington. Here are a few people whom parents should get to know:
The school psychologist – The school psychologist can support your student’s educational success by collaborating with the teacher and other support staff, such as the interventionist team or special education teachers. The psychologist can assist if your child frequently shows signs of anxiety or struggles with social skills or confidence, among other scenarios. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, these professionals are trained to “link mental health to learning and behavior” and use their expertise to promote academic achievement, supportive learning environments and more.
Technology teacher – In today’s digital age, children quickly become adept at using computers, tablets and smartphones—as well as the internet, social media and more. As your child continues to acquire technology skills, talk with the technology teacher on how best to be supportive. This teacher can help you explore tools available to help build your child’s technological proficiency.
School librarian – According to the School Library Journal, reading and writing test scores are better for students who have access to a school librarian. Not only is the librarian a great resource for students on choosing appropriate and interesting reading material, the library offers students access to technology, research databases (in high school) and of course, an ever-evolving collection of reading material.
Gifted/talented specialist - If your student has been identified as gifted and talented, you may be referred to this school specialist. This person will work in concert with your child's teacher to create an advanced learning plan to ensure he or she is challenged and engaged in the classroom. The specialist can also give you suggestions on how to nurture your unique learner at home.
Parent resource center staff – Some public schools and districts have parent resource centers, which offer expert-led workshops and support groups for parents. Call your school district to see if they offer such a center dedicated to getting families involved in their children’s academic success.
Give your child the best education possible by advocating for him or her. Keeping in touch with his or her teacher is always important, but there are a number of other individuals who are there to help, too. Reach out to them when needed, and your child will be the better for it.