NORMAN — Q: I have been asking my daughter how things are at school, and she assures me everything is fine. I recently gained access to Parent Portal, and I quickly learned she is failing three of her classes. She is a senior and needs to graduate. Why was I not notified of this problem?
— Jack, of Moore
Many districts send home regular progress reports, and Moore, for example, sends them every three weeks with your student. It’s normal for a kid to not want a parent to know if grades aren’t particularly good. Since she’s a senior, she should know the importance of passing her classes and take some responsibility in that.
Parent Portal is your best bet because you can also find out absences, tardies, assignments, grades on assignments and overall course grades. We realize that it’s only as current as the grades that have been entered. However, it is the best tool for parents to keep tabs on progress.
As far as why you weren’t told, we would urge you to first question your daughter. She of all people knows what her grades are. Now that you are on Parent Portal this may be a moot point, but checking with your student’s teachers throughout the semester is never a bad idea. Email can be easily accessed through Parent Portal. It’s difficult for a classroom teacher to contact every parent of every student when they have 140 kids during a school day — which is another big plus of Parent Portal.
Parent/teacher conferences are held at least twice per school year (once each semester), and even if parents think their kids are making straight A’s, we strongly urge parents to attend. Something to think about: Your daughter is probably close to being 18, if not already. If she doesn’t see the need to pass her classes while she can do so for free, then maybe allowing her to pay for summer school, internet or night school classes might wake her up.
If you haven’t checked out the website loveandlogic.com, please do. It’s a great tool with a great perspective on parenting with less stress on us. We hope that communication will improve between you and your daughter and that she has a successful senior year.
Q: I drive a carpool of about four kids. There is one who smells so badly, I can hardly stand for him to get in my car. What’s the best way to deal with this?
— Name withheld by request
A: This is one of the hardest issues as a counselor that we have to address. We try to use privacy and sensitivity. Since you didn’t tell us what age this student is, you can either choose to talk to the parent or the child. If you don’t feel comfortable doing either of those, then you can ask the school nurse to visit with the student.
Sometimes the school counselor may have some resources for some personal hygiene items. If you are aware of it, so are others around him. You are doing him a favor by trying to intervene.
A few pointers: please don’t say anything to him in front of others or talk to others about him. It is a very embarrassing situation, and you need to let him know you’re doing this because you care about him. Please remember to use kind words and offer some solutions and not just criticism.
Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily represent the views of any certain school district. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.