To help every child at Clifford School work towards reaching his or her potential, it is important that parents, teachers, and school staff work together and communicate to achieve this goal. The tone of these interactions, from the casual setting of the playground to the formal parent-teacher conference, all work together to create a positive atmosphere at our school.
- Assume Good Intentions
- What motivates both parents and teachers is their love of children. We all want to create a positive, supportive learning environment.
- Build Positive Relationships
- At Clifford School, we are proud to have thoughtful and dedicated teachers. We are equally as proud of our supportive and caring parent community. We all benefit from building positive relationships. In your discussions with other parents and the community, share good news, and appreciation as often as possible, for this will help build relationships. Sharing the positive will lay the foundation for productive and thoughtful interactions throughout the year, especially when issues do arise. We welcome all of our parents to share successes, questions, and concerns with the classroom teacher and school staff. There are a number of ways to do this: note to the teacher, phone message, email, visit to the classroom, or contact any of our instructional specialists, support staff, and Principal.
- Be Respectful When Communicating
- Drop-off and pick-up times are rarely good times for teachers to hold a thoughtful conversation with parents. E-mail is often an effective tool. However, you should avoid using e-mail if the situation is very complex. When you talk to your child’s teacher:
- Allow time for dialogue and response. Some problems cannot be addressed immediately. Schedule a time that is mutually convenient. Let the teacher know what day(s) and times are convenient for you.
- Discuss your child – not others. Parents should frame their concerns and questions in terms of the effect they are having on their child only.
- Use “I” messages that frame your concerns from your perspective. For example, you could say, “I am concerned that Amy has more homework than she can handle” rather than, “Why are you assigning so much homework?”
- Follow up with the teacher. If the teacher resolves the problem to your satisfaction, take the time to thank him/her. If the problem is unresolved or resurfaces, communicate clearly and promptly.
- Be a Role Model
- Help model positive behavior for other parents. If another parent or group of parents is sharing rumors or unproductive information about a teacher or staff member, encourage them to approach the teacher individually with their concerns. Be a champion and play to your child’s strengths. Take a moment to reflect with your child on the best part of their day, and help them focus on the positive. You can ask them questions like, “What made you feel the most proud today?” “What was the most fun part of your day?” “What was the most interesting thing you learned today?” “How did you make a difference today?”
- Solve Problems Effectively
- Even in the best circumstances, questions and concerns will arise. The first step you should take is to talk to your child’s teacher. Classroom teachers want to work with you to resolve any concerns. Some examples of common concerns:
- “My child tells me he/she has no friends.”
- “My child tells me he/she is being teased on the playground”
- “My child tells me someone in the class is being mean to him/her.”
- “The homework is too hard or too easy for my child.”
- Guide For Parents
- If your child is experiencing academic difficulties we encourage you to follow the following steps:
FIRST: ASK YOUR STUDENT
Get as much information from your student as possible about the problem. Check your student’s homework assignment sheets and/or student planner. Help your student organize his/her materials and develop a plan to make up missed assignments by the teacher’s established deadlines. You can reasonably expect that academic subjects have homework assigned nightly. Please refer to each teacher’s individual course outline and classroom expectations for specifics.
SECOND: ASK THE TEACHER
Send an email or leave a message on the teacher’s voicemail asking for more information. The student and teacher’s understanding of the problem may be quite different. The teacher’s email are published on our website. It is our policy not to interrupt the classroom during the instructional day. Phone calls and all messages should be left on voicemail.
THIRD: MEET WITH THE TEACHER
A meeting with the teacher should be arranged when the issue cannot be resolved with a phone call. It is valuable for the student to be present at this meeting. If there is a problem in more than one class, follow the same procedure with each teacher. Because of other obligations it is not possible to meet with teachers on a drop-in basis. Please call in advance for an appointment (teachers make their own appointments)
FOURTH: REQUEST A MEETING WITH ALL TEACHERS TOGETHER
A meeting with all teachers together is appropriate if your student is failing most classes and you have met with teachers or there is some outside issue that affects his/her school wide performance. Contact the school office to schedule a meeting with all of your student’s teachers together. This meeting should not be scheduled until the first three options have been exhausted.
If you have an issue that needs immediate attention, please contact an administrator.
- If you do not feel that your concerns are adequately addressed, make an appointment with the principal or ask the teacher to include the principal or vice principal in your next discussion.
If you follow the processes outlined in the partnership and still feel you have unresolved issues please refer to the following Web site for Redwood City School District guidelines and procedures: https://www.rcsdk8.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=561