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The school year is underway and you might even have parent-teacher conferences coming up. What types of topics should you raise for discussion? Here are seven questions to ask to check on how your child is progressing:

  1. How have the first months/weeks of school gone so far? For many students, this is the first “normal” school year in over a year and a half, so it’s important to keep tabs on how your child is doing with the pace, classes and more. Talk with the teacher about how your child is adjusting and if they have any concerns.

  2. Do you suspect any learning loss? COVID-19 learning loss is a very real problem this school year. Ask whether your child seems to be keeping up with class work or struggling in certain areas. Learning gaps aren’t always easy to detect. Talk with your child’s teachers about any red flags to watch for and what they’re seeing in school.

  3. Do my child’s study skills seem to be lacking? Grades are just one measure of students’ performance. Does the teacher notice other weak skills, such as focus, organization, time management or classroom participation?

  4. What changes should we be aware of from last year? Many teachers were more lenient during the past few years. That might no longer be the case and it could be an adjustment for your child to have more required homework. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and whether your child is adhering to them.

  5. What should we be doing at home? This is always best practice: to understand how you can support your student at home to make your child’s learning more effective. Elementary teachers might have very tangible suggestions (e.g., nightly reading), while teachers of older students might offer ideas on how to help foster good study habits and routines.

  6. What expectations do you have for my child and are they meeting them? Talk with the teacher about how your child is advancing toward any goals set for them early in the school year. You can also clarify your role at home—like how involved you should be with homework or how to uphold good routines at home.

  7. What are a few of my child’s strengths? We’re all coming off a very challenging time, and there is plenty to work on, but don’t forget to ask for affirmation of some of your child’s areas of potential or success. Those are valuable for both you and your child to know

If your discussions with teachers reveal that your child is having difficulty early in the school year, don’t wait to get help. Call Educate WNY at (716) 201-0430‬. We’ll help you get a handle on where your child is struggling and lay out a customized plan of action to help them get back on the right track.

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