Thursday, August 8, 2013

School/Home Communication #FAIL

I've been sitting here, trying to find myself...
I get behind myself...
I need to rewind myself...

I'm looking for the words to say what I want to say. I was wrong... but... I wasn't wrong. Maybe what I want to say can be summed up in the wise old words of Cool Hand Luke...

What we've got here is failure to communicate.

Yesterday, I called looking for Alex's principal again. By this time I've worked myself up into a tizzy, I'm done looking for answers, I want action. Again, he was unavailable. I left my name, number and the message that I would like a meeting with him and the social worker. I'm looking for answers from him and placement options from her. Maybe an hour later, I get a phone call from Alex's new teacher. I get the feeling he zombie-chasing-us-tripped her but she's not the one I'm looking for. but... she seems alright.

She's calm. cool. reassuring without being patronizing. She's savvy enough, cares enough about her privacy, or heeds warnings well enough to use her privacy settings on Facebook and I can't find her on Twitter. That boosts my opinion of her quite a bit. She takes something seriously... that counts for something.

She said they restructured the classrooms. They put all of the autistic kids together in an effort to improve the way they are taught. I can't remember exactly what she said, it was a phone conversation and that's really hard to keep up with but it sounded good. She has the kids that get ABA. She has something in ABA so they thought she would be the best for that. There are 6 kids, 3 aides, and her in the classroom. One of Alex's aides from last year is with him and she understood my reasons for asking without asking for an explanation. She's talking to people, reading up on Alex, and she'll be talking to Alex's old teacher today. We set up a team meeting the first week of September to give us all time to see how things go and find out what we need to find out more about.

This is all great news and puts me at ease to hear it and to find out there are very good reasons for the change- but here's the problem... I'm getting updates on bleacher installation from the middle school (Twitter), I was told at the end of last year about expected staff changes (e-mail blasts), I'm getting updates on the kitchen manager's illness from the elementary (Facebook), I even got a letter in the mail from the elementary letting us know about this year's staff changes the other day. These schools have frequently updated websites, school fusion to keep us in touch with our kids' teachers and what's going on in the classroom as well as what's going on in the school, the principal sends out mass e-mails to tell us about things that he feels are important for us to know, they have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to keep us up on day to day things that happen in our schools... in our kids' lives.

But I cannot find a single place to find any information on Alex's school. They have a website but it's profoundly neglected. Not all of us can spend time in the schools. Our kids banned some of us. Not all of us can join the PTO, even if we were looking forward to it. We need to be able to get news without having to be there to see for ourselves. Restructuring classrooms? A new assistant principal? Definitely newsworthy. Painting the walls? A new piece of equipment? Yup, notable. Need help with something? Looking for something my kid may have outgrown? I'd like to know that, too. I want to help. even if I can't be there to do it.

If you don't have time to update your site or manage social media accounts or send out mass e-mails, ask someone who does to do it. Or, get some volunteers to put together a newspaper for the parents, your kids might even like helping with that. Being able to get information would go a long way in solidifying a relationship between school and home. ...and might just stop a hissy fit before it even starts.


  1. Being social-media savvy is a huge advantage for the schools, the parents, and the kids. I don't know why they wouldn't use it. So much easier than trying to contact each parent individually, or worse, waiting until parents contact them.

  2. Are you volunteering for the job? maybe it could be a paid job you do at home when you have time?