Families and Schools Can Work Together for Children’s Success



Ideally, every child would go to school on time with a positive attitude and be greeted by a supportive teacher and a roomful of friendly classmates. School would offer just the right amount of challenge so that students learn and grow and earn diplomas.

Reality is often messier than that dream. Children may resist going to school, may act out while they are in school, or they may be in school but not making adequate progress.

When that happens, the adults in their lives – whether they are parents, grandparents, or other relatives – may not know what is causing the struggle or how to help.

So, what options are available?

Families can start by contacting their child’s teacher. April Dixon, a Family Education Specialist at Starbridge, advises, “Communication is key. Reach out to the teacher to discuss your child’s strengths and challenges (what is and what is not working). This strategy allows both of you and the student to participate in the problem-solving process.”

If the family and school are struggling to identify what is causing the challenge, or the conversation with the teacher is not productive, resources are available to help.

Starbridge is a Rochester-based nonprofit, and one of its services is a Parent Center that provides educational information and resources for free to parents and family members.

Dixon says, “I tell families that my role is to provide information to you. I can provide that by phone, email, or through our workshops. My goal is to empower you to know what options are available to support your child at school, and what your rights are in working with your child’s school. We want your children to get what they need to succeed as painlessly as possible.”

Schools can provide a range of supports and services – from academic assistance via a content specialist, to behavior management plans, to special education services for children who have different learning styles or needs.

Jenny Hutkowski, Director of Family and Youth Education, says, “We have a 20-year relationship partnering with Rochester City School District, and offering workshops for families who are seeking supports for children who may be struggling in school or are enrolled in special education.”

This spring, Starbridge and RCSD’s Parent University are partnering to host several free workshops for families on a variety of education-related topics. Workshops will be presented in either English or Spanish, and all are free to attend. For more information about topics and dates, please visit www.starbridgeinc.org/events.
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