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Reaching Agreements

It is important to remember that everyone is working together toward the same goal: the best possible outcome for the individual student.

While most meetings between parents and school district are cooperative, there are times when there may be a difference of opinion. Effective communication can help prevent many problems before they occur. If you experience conflict along the way a foundation of open communication can turns conflict into consensus.

Document All Communication Along the Way!

We frequently say, “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.” Be sure to keep a copy of your emails or detailed notes of your interactions. Follow up with a Letter of Understanding if things were verbal to assure understanding. Keep to the facts and leave emotion out of communication. Don’t forget to document and acknowledge when things are going well or when you feel someone has done a great job.

Contact Your Child’s Teacher or Case Manager

The first step in addressing any issue with the school district should be to contact your child’s teacher or case manager. A polite note or email explaining your concerns and asking for clarification can solve a lot. Always be sure to include relevant information and don’t assume that others are aware of your concerns or of the details.

Share Important Information About Your Child

Another important thing to keep in mind is that – when you communicate with the school – you should share important information about your child. There are many things that only parents know about their children. What motivates your child? Are there certain things that you child may try to avoid?

Ask to Speak With Your Child’s Principal

If a letter or email does not alleviate your concern, you can ask to speak with the child’s principal, area coordinator, process coordinator or director of special education. Continue communicating up the chain of command until you have resolved your concerns or exhausted all of the schools resources. Try not to go over someone’s head unless it is simply unavoidable.

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