Your child has been in school for approximately 135 days by the end of March. And, this is the end of the third quarter. How is your child doing in school at this point?
Congratulations if all is well. However, let’s discuss what’s next if grades are disappointing or your child is not thriving.
I posted suggestions that would empower your child to succeed throughout the academic year. Let’s review your observations of your child’s approach to school while keeping my recommendations in mind. You saw that your child worked hard. And, that homework was done on time. Plus, your child studied for quizzes and tests and sought the assistance of class teachers when necessary. After-school help was requested as needed. However, your child is frustrated and unhappy with his or her grade results. As a result, your daughter or son may be losing interest in school. Because you may not know what to do next, here are four suggestions to help your child progress.
First: Assess Reading Skills
Begin by having a current conversation with your child’s teacher (s). After all, parent-teacher conferences were months ago. And, let’s say that you learn that your child has or continues to have weak reading skills. Weak reading will cause a child to struggle in many subjects.
If your child is not reading at or above grade level, it is crucial to obtain the support of an independent reading specialist. Because reading literacy and reading comprehension are the underpinnings of all other core subjects, including mathematics. The reading specialist will assess your child’s reading level and provide a skill-building program. Stronger reading skills will support all other subjects.
Second: Assess Math Skills
However, if you learn that your child is doing poorly only in math, seek the outside support of a math tutor. Math builds on previous lessons and acquired skills. If there was previous content not mastered by your child, this building-block learning breaks down and the skill weakness is perpetuated. An excellent tutor can assess for the weak skills and strengthen them.
Third: Assess for Learning Differences
Next, be mindful of the possibility that your child may benefit from being assessed for learning differences. Learning differences may explain why your son or daughter continues to struggle academically after receiving academic support. They may also explain why the nature of your child’s difficulties remains unclear.
In this case, consider having your child evaluated by the school’s Planning and Placement Team (PPT in public schools or equivalent in private schools). Your child may be eligible to receive 504 Accommodations. These are classroom-based interventions. These modifications may include a slightly altered curriculum or longer test-taking time, for instance. They may also include special grading parameters and varied teaching style.
Alternatively, you have the right to seek an independent evaluation to gain an unrelated, objective perspective.
It may be necessary to have these accommodations incorporated into an Individualized Education Program (IEP) if your child continues to experience challenges despite the modifications. The objective is to provide support and structure that will enable your child to succeed.
Early identification of academic challenges and appropriate interventions are essential to your child’s short and long-term success. Obtaining the necessary information and support will ensure that your child successfully progresses from one grade to the next.
Fourth: Consider Changing Schools
Last, consider changing schools. Changing schools needs to be a thoughtful process. Be sure that all resources within the current school have been exhausted. These include working with the current teachers and other educational-support staff. If your child has been receiving classroom-based interventions that do not seem to be making a difference, then it may be time for a change. Also, consider a school change if your child has worked hard, has not been identified as requiring additional support but is neither thriving nor happy. The current school may not be the best-fit academic environment for your son or daughter. Smaller learning environments, an alternative school, or a school that can better support your child’s learning style and needs may make a world of difference.
In conclusion, whether your child remains in the current school or makes a change, it is important that your daughter or son be in a strong academic, joyful environment that creates challenge and inspiration to learn.