Every school year has its ups and downs. When your child is struggling, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do to help. Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center reminds parents that there are many resources available right in their child’s school. “Obviously parents know that they should reach out to the teacher when school becomes difficult for their child, but there are many other staff members at a school whose job it is to nurture students’ development,” Huntington says. Here are six valuable school resources for both parents and children:
- Guidance counseling office – The guidance counselor provides academic, personal and post-graduate advising services. That includes crisis intervention, helping students work through social issues, drug and alcohol intervention, and counseling for students who are dealing with personal matters. It also includes helping high school students select the right course load and prepare for post-secondary education and their careers and giving them advice and information about standardized tests, the ACT and SAT, the Advanced Placement program and other exams.
- Mental health team – Mental health teams in schools often include school psychologists, nurses, social workers, and other staff. Generally, these teams are intended to meet the needs of the whole student. Every school district is different, but you can expect this team to offer guidance on things like identifying educational disabilities, intervening with serious mental health issues, and more.
- Special education – Special education serves students who might have an Individual Education Plan or qualify for other special education or 504 services. This team will support the needs of students who have developmental delays, emotional disorders and other learning challenges.
- Technology team – Technology and the internet are integral to student learning. Your school’s technology teacher or department is a great resource for both students and parents. This department might host classes or webinars on topics such as internet and social media safety, bridging the technology gap between home and school, and how parents can support today’s learners in the digital age.
- Gifted/talented services– Students who stand out as having exceptional abilities and potential for academic achievement might be identified as gifted and talented and referred to this school specialist team. Working with your child's teacher, this team will foster your child’s learning and growth. If your child is identified as such, you’ll want to get to know this individual or office, as they can work with you on how to best support your advanced learner at home.
- Resource center for families – Some school districts around the country cultivate and develop student achievement through a resource center for families. Ask your school whether such a resource center exists, as it might offer parent development and training programs, parent groups, educational resources, instructional services for students and families, and more.
As a parent, you want to help your child flourish in school as much as possible. “Take advantage of the resources at your school,” says Huntington “After all, they are there for the benefit of your child.”