How To REALLY Get Involved In Your Child's Education

Over the summer, a mom reached out to me for help.  As she shared her story of frustration with me, I totally felt her pain.  I felt her concern.  I simply felt for her given her situation.  She is the mother of five children, one of whom is a young adult with Autism who she refers to as her "special guy." She attends church here in the community.  She has been a wonderful mother to all of her children, one of whom is a girl that I have had the pleasure of working with this past year.

Her issue was that there was a breakdown in the system where sixth graders are given a specific amount of time to choose one of the area middle schools to attend prior to the completion of 6th grade.  Her older children are currently attending or have attended their school of choice in which they are not zoned for.  Naturally, she would like her incoming middle schooler to attend the same school as the others.  The logistics of the day just work better that way.  The paperwork wasn't passed on appropriately and now the "powers that be" will not allow her child in the school with her other children.  She made the deadline, but someone on the inside allegedly screwed up.

Her question to me was, "What can I do?" I wasn't able to help her.  I do believe that as parents, we should be involved in our children's schools as much as possible.  While attending PTA meetings is important, I have come to find that based on past experience at the schools my children have attended, they're filled with fundraising events which does not directly address the schools academic and staff issues.  After visiting two White House forums this year, I have decided to start attending my school district's Board of Education meetings.  This is where the real meat and potatoes to education are discussed. This is where budget cuts, teachers, Board of Trustees, and Superintendent selections are made.  This is where nutrition is being discussed. This is where it all goes down.  This is where parents need to be as well.

I suggest that she begin attending Board meetings as well.  I think she should bring her issue out into the open.  Address it publicly and see what happens.  It may be too late with school starting today, but you never now. What's that saying?  The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Another free tip is when you don't like the way things are being handled in your district, run for office.  We need more women in office anyway.  Just my two cents.

Board of Education Meeting Schedules:

Valley Stream School District 13 - September 19th @ 8 p.m., Dever Elementary School
Dever Elementary
Howell Road Elementary
Willow Road Elementary
Wheeler Avenue Elementary

Valley Stream School District 24 - September 5th @ 7:30 p.m., Buck Elementary School
Brooklyn Avenue
Buck Elementary
Carbonaro Elementary

Valley Stream School District 30 - September 10th @ 8 p.m., Shaw Avenue Elementary
Clearstream Avenue
Forest Road Elementary
Shaw Avenue Elementary

Valley Stream Central High School District - September 11th @ 8 p.m., Central H.S.
Central High School
Memorial Junior High School
North Middle/High School
South Middle/High School

Please confirm whether the meeting dates listed above are closed or open sessions by calling your district's Board of Education office.

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