How to approach a parent

Discussion in 'General Education' started by pxydst07, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. pxydst07

    pxydst07 Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2009

    I teach fourth grade in a low income district. We do have a lot of struggling readers, but my classroom this year seems to be doing fairly well. I have a student that just moved into our district and she is extremely low. She is so low that I am wondering if she possibly had an IEP at her old school. If she didn't I'm actually curious if she was ever suggested for services. She is on a Primer level in math and in reading.
    How can I approach her mom and ask in a round-about way if she was receiving any help/services? I guess I'm just looking for a way to bring this up. Do I just ask about her past school history? Do I ask how she works at home? Do I ask if they have any concerns? Or do I just voice my concerns? She has trouble following through with basic directions, let alone the actual work. She sits there lost and looking out in front of her like I am speaking a foreign language.
    Now for question 2. I know that someone at home is doing her homework for her and giving her answers. She can't do any of the work in school, yet it's all coming back done. I am modifying her work and differentiating for her, but I can't give her preschool/kindergarten work. I'm doing the best I can and giving her only 10 spelling words a week. I make sure that the spelling words follow the same patterns to help her as much as possible. So, how do I approach that situation about people giving her the answers? I stress the importance of doing work on your own and I also let the children know that it's okay to have someone help you and explain things to you. I make sure they know the difference between the two, but this situation is just so obvious.
    I know both of these are touchy subjects that cannot be directly stated. How can I approach her mom? I also know that with RTI in place, it could be awhile before she receives the help she needs....IF her mom is willing to sign off on the services.
    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I would like to call her mom this week and schedule a conference with her.
    Thanks!:confused:
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 15, 2009

    You could always ask the child is she saw a second teacher. Our kids always know when we ask.
    How long until you get the records? Contact the old school and ask.
    In my experience, the parents often don't know if their child had one (scary, but true).
    You could also start the testing process to get her an IEP.
     
  4. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Sep 15, 2009

    Maybe you could just start a pleasant conversation - how you are happy the child is in your class - any strengths you have noticed - you want to do your very best serving her - any observations she or her previous teacher may have made that will help you get started quickly - what the parent feels are her strengths and weaknesses - what are the parent's goals for the child this year - and then insert a few observations or concerns and ask if the parent feels the child had these last year or are they a problem with the transition or....
     
  5. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Sep 15, 2009

    I would call mom or catch her after school and ask if she has a few minutes to talk. Say, "I've noticed your daughter is having a hard time in class. I'm trying to get her back on track to reach her potential and to get her up to the grade level expectations. But to do this the best I can, I have a couple questions." Then just rattle off the questions. When you get to the part about someone doing her homework, say "I don't want to jump to any conclusions but it seems like your daughter is not doing her homework. I have taken a hard look at her work at school and her work from home, and they are pretty different. From now on, I want to make sure your daughter is doing her homework on her own so I best see her abilities." End it with asking if she has questions.
     
  6. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Sep 15, 2009

    I just wanted to add sometimes you have to give it a little time. When you have taught long enough that "danger, danger" warning light can pop into your head pretty quickly. I approached a parent the first week of school this year asking basically the same question and she looked like a deer in the headlights - I had approached her too soon before she got to know me. The conversation was interesting - no the family didn't think he has any issues - he is just very different than his sister - probably just the difference between boys and girls, they thought. Then at the end of the conversation she mentioned he was born 2 months early, had issues with breathing and his blood, didn't walk until 1 1/2, didn't talk until after 2, couldn't sit still for anything including a meal, and has multiple meltdowns in a day but they thought he had no lingering side effects from his rough start!!!! Good luck to me!
     
  7. pxydst07

    pxydst07 Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2009

    Thanks!

    Thanks for the advice and ideas. I know as a parent myself, you never want to hear someone trying to say that something is wrong. Unfortunately, we find that children transferring into our district are sometimes running from retention. That has happened numerous times! I don't know where the lag in paperwork lies, but it's awful to see a child sit in your classroom with a blank look on their face. I've been doing some one on one testing with her and trying to have documentation of how severe her struggling is. I am planning to talk to her mom by the end of the week. We are already a month into school and I feel that waiting any longer would be a huge disservice to this child. I've already noticed kids making comments about her and saying things under their breath and I would like our social worker to come in and talk about that with the kids. Good luck to me trying to get that done. Thanks again for the help!
     
  8. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2009

    I would have the child's parents come in and show them how their child is doing. Have another student's work that is at grade level to show the difference. Talk about that sometimes schools have students work with another teacher to help them. Inquire if that happened at the old school. Then brainstorm ideas with the parents on how to help their child. Make sure you add having their child referred and tested if she was not at the other school. Remind them that just because I child is tested for special education services does not mean the child MUST receive them.
     
  9. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2009

    I forgot to add...if having the social worker come in to talk to the kids doesn't work out, then do a lesson on community and accepting differences in people. There are also lots of great children's books out there about this topic.
     
  10. 2inspire

    2inspire Companion

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    Sep 15, 2009

    First, keep some of the "homework" work samples and some work samples of what she does in class.

    As far as the homework issue-I'd approach it like this, "Momma Mayberry, I've noticed Hannah struggles quite a bit with (insert concept here) 2 digit subtraction with re-grouping here at school but she seems to have mastered the concept at home. Do you mind sharing how you approach homework in case I can use some of those strategies here at school to help her be successful?

    This way you're letting the parent know that #1 there is a discrepency and #2 you noticed it. Plus if they do have any tricks hopefully they'll share them with you.

    As far as the IEP, ask your secretary if her file has come in and look for the IEP there. If the file is not there yet then call her old school and ask for the building process coordinator-that person should be able to tell you if the student has an IEP.
     

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