What a great start we’ve had to the 2015-16 school year! There are so many people to thank for contributing to that effort, including our friends from Burgerville and River’s Edge Church, who once again came together to support our amazing Back to School Barbecue. It was awesome having the food cart here! We also received a huge number of school supply donations from partners and individuals in the community, allowing us to fully stock classrooms with supplies and provide backpacks for every student. I’m sure you join me in expressing appreciation for their support and efforts to give Fruit Valley students every advantage as the school year begins.
One of our goals this year is to increase parent involvement, and what better time is there to start working toward meeting that goal than the first week of school! I’d like to share several tips on how to start and maintain those good connections between teachers and parents/guardians:
- Get and stay informed: Read the newsletters! I promise you, we will keep them interesting and informative… and doing so might save you from missing the announcement about that school event your child has been eagerly awaiting or reminders about early release days. Additionally, Vancouver Public Schools offers parents a great resource in the form of Parent @ccess, which is a secure online site where parents can find information about everything from how much money a student has in his/her lunch account to specific information available about your child’s academic progress, including assessment data.
- Attend Back-to-School Curriculum Night and Parent/Teacher Conferences: Our Back-to-School event will be held on Tuesday, September 22, from 6-7 p.m. Please come visit your child(ren)’s classroom and learn more about their daily schedule, materials used, and expectations for the year.
- Conferences take place October 21-23. You will have an opportunity during Curriculum Night to let us know your preference for a conference time. Our goal is to have 100% of our parents join our teachers for conferences, as we find that opportunity to visit with you (and you child in the case of older students) extremely valuable.
- Really be a partner: The best outcomes occur when parents/guardians and teachers see each other as collaborators with the same goal: a student’s success. If there is a conflict, remember that we have the same goal and ask how we can achieve it together.
- Support getting your student to school, on time, every day: The authors of an article in the Oregonian newspaper note it is crucial for parents to take school start times seriously. “Being on time is something that really sets kids up for success,” they state. It’s also important that students be at school. Research shows how critical attendance is when it comes to learning and academic success.
- Communication with the teacher is so important, but…. Please understand that teachers really want to communicate with you, but know that first thing in the morning isn’t always the best time. Parents often come by for the morning drop-off in hopes of talking to a teacher, but that’s exactly when teachers can’t fully focus on a conversation with a parent. It is recommended that you let the office know about your need to meet with the teacher, giving a brief summary of the concern and asking if they can touch base at the end of the day. Parent e-mails and notes are also always appreciated! Individual e-mail addresses can be found on our building’s website, which can be accessed by going to vansd.org and clicking on the Schools button at the top right side of the page.
- Volunteering is a great way to connect: If you are interested in volunteering, please let us know and be specific about your interests, skills and schedule. Some teachers will say, “Give me a month to get to know my class.” If your child’s teacher declines parent help in the classroom, please don’t take that as something personal and don’t feel a teacher is trying to hide something. The teacher knows his/her class, and may feel it might be too distracting to have another adult or a different adult in every day. Parents can still stay connected by volunteering elsewhere at the school, such as in the library. We actually have many volunteer opportunities available for parents, including everything from involvement with our PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) to things like helping every other week with this newsletter! If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please see Staci in the Family Resource Center, who will help you complete the required Washington State background check and other paperwork and put you to work!
We look forward to partnering with you in the very important work of helping your child be a successful learner and student!