There is a unique culture to every elementary building and being an involved member will make the partnership you and your child have with the school a positive experience. 

Make the Most of Your Elementary Building

Explore the elementary building webpage

Start here after discovering the setup of the K-12 picture in your district/school system as noted in Pillar 2. Here you will be able to orient yourself to many important details, including building staffing (principal/head of school, secretaries, classroom teachers, specialist teachers, support staff, and more). You will also likely learn an overview of important happenings and find items related to curriculum links, lunch menus and accounts, report cards/grading information, and much more. Once you've explored the building webpage, complete the following:

Check the calendars

  • Have a copy of the district master calendar handy. If you weren't mailed one by the district, you can usually pick up an extra copy at the district administration building or in your elementary school's office. Enter dates on your personal calendar to be ready for:
    • The first day of school
    • Teacher Meet and Greet and/or Back to School Night
    • Parent-teacher conference(s)
    • The first Parent-Teacher Association/Organization meeting
    • In-Service time or days when school is closed for students
    • The last day of school

Sign up for notifications

  • From your school district:
    • Emergency alerts, delays, cancellations, and announcements that are important to all students in your local environment will be shared. Sign up for inportant communication on your district website and/or by checking in with your building's secretary. Many schools have e-news and updates to share with parents, social media accounts, automated alert systems, parent/student portals, and more. Make sure you're on the list! 
  • From your building principal:
    • Principals like for all members of the school community to be in the know. Be sure to check if your building leader shares an email blast or newsletter to all families that would highlight activities supporting the mission of the district and the goals of the elementary building.
  • From your classroom teacher(s)
    • Many teachers keep and share one or more of the following: a blog, newsletter, weekly email, personal website, Twitter account, or Facebook account. Be sure your know what your child's teacher uses to receive notifications and updates for classroom happenings and possible schedule changes. 

Join the PTA/PTO

  • For a nominal cost, you can learn a great deal about your elementary building.
  • Whether or not you can serve on any or every committee, as a member you should get updates and be in the know with what extra-curricular happenings occur in your building. Being a member gives you insight into what activities you want your child to be a part of socially and academically that you may not be aware of if you aren't a member. These include fundraiser and special school events, enrichment clubs and opportunities, and other various ways to be a part of the action while meet other caring parents who are supportive of the academic and social offerings of the elementary building.
  • Offer to help in a way that highlights your strength areas. 

Be proactive and responsible for your child

  • Find out when there is an orientation or back to school night for families and students. This is a simple way to get the lay of the land, put staff faces to names, and make your child feel comfortable. If an option doesn't exist, politely ask if you can tour the building with your child when the building leader's schedule permits.
  • Understand the school lunch system. How are the menus shared? Does your child have multiple options? What is the payment system? Many schools have electronic payment accounts. Being proactive with this can save you and your child stress.
  • Read up on the school's grading and attendance systems. Is it online? Are report cards mailed home? Does your school have an notification if your child is late or does not show? All of these questions can be answered through a school handbook, reading online on your school's website, or by asking an employee. 
  • Introduce yourself to the office staff when you enter the building, and be sure to the school's contact information into your phone. When your child is absent or they forget a lunch or an instrument or sneakers for gym class, they will remember the kind face they are helping. 
  • Introduce yourself to your child's teacher, and follow up with our detailed steps to establish a positive parent-teacher relationship in Pillar 4.

The School's Place within the Community

Your school is part of a larger community with an abundance of connections and opportunities for your child. Take advantage of programs offered for your child by your local library and/or recreational center. Look into community colleges and local museums and universities to see what they offer for children. Network with other parents through social media and/or in person to see if they participate in any other enrichment opportunities for children that are not a part of the school's direct curriculum or offerings.

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