The Norman Transcript

August 23, 2013

How can we be supportive of school staff?

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: Both of our children are transitioning to new grade levels at different schools this year. We felt very close to the faculty and staff at the previous schools.

What can we do to integrate ourselves into these upper level schools without being intrusive? We want the teachers to know we are supportive, but we certainly don’t want to go overboard and embarrass our kids.

— Bill and Juanita, Norman

A: First of all, please don’t worry about embarrassing your kids. You can be supportive of them and the school staff in several ways. You can join PTSA — there are so many volunteer jobs that need to be completed and not enough people to fill them.

Believe it or not, our kids like to know parents are involved and visible. You certainly don’t have to follow them around from class to class, but try to participate as much as possible. As counselors, we can tell you we appreciate interested parents, but we also like for our students to advocate for themselves as much as possible. It’s a good life lesson for them.

You can also make sure the teacher(s) have your current contact information such as cell phone and email address. Communication is so important.

Along this line, remember that as kids get older, always check the validity of things you are told. There are two sides to a story, so when your student comes home and says, ‘My teacher did (insert story),’ you need to talk to both parties and hear the entire explanation. It’s always best to go to the source … don’t call the principal or counselor, because they weren’t sitting in the class and won’t have the answers.

If you haven’t signed up for Parent Portal and it’s available, it’s a great way to keep track of your child’s progress, including tardies, absences and grades. We appreciate our parents being involved — we wish all parents were like you.

Q: My son is entering high school this year. It’s going to be different for my wife and I because we understand that credits now come into the picture in order to graduate. What advice do you have for us to keep up with this for the next four years?

— Matt and Linda, Moore

A: We feel you should attend any available orientations or meetings for parents. Your son will be given a student handbook, and information regarding required courses and credits needed for graduation will be included.

Make sure you read the handbook and understand what is in it. Making a check sheet that you keep on a bulletin board at home will help you monitor your son’s progress. Your son’s counselor will make sure he is on track for graduation, but if you qualify for Oklahoma’s Promise, for example, please check to make sure he is taking the needed classes and maintaining the GPA for this scholarship. This is the responsibility of the parents and students.

As you are probably aware, your son was given opportunities to experience a lot of elective classes that interested him prior to entering high school. Now that credits are being given for these electives, please stress to him that these courses are not “blow offs.” They serve specific purposes, and many students end up pursuing careers in fields related to these elective courses.

Also, additional science and math classes can be used for elective credits. A lot of students will want to go this route if they are interested in medicine or engineering, for example. Don’t hesitate to contact the school — or us — if you still have questions.

Please send questions to questions.classact@gmail.

com. Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with more than 50 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district.