This page contains an affiliate link. If you take action based on it, I’ll receive a referral fee, at no mark up to you. Here’s why – and what my son thinks about it.
As the mom of a child who has struggled a lot socially, school enrollment has always been accompanied by a sense of anxiety.
That’s because it’s also the time when school administrators start making next year’s class lists. And this is what goes through my mind:
- Should I tell them about my child’s social struggles?
- Or start asking around to see which teacher’s personality and teaching style might be a good fit for him?
- Or ask that certain kids not be in the same class?
When you don’t want to be a helicopter parent, but you see your child experience social challenges year after year, it’s difficult to know what to do.
A promising new tool
This year, in addition to the online enrollment process, our school administrators asked parents to complete a questionnaire. It was a lovely one-page form that could really help with this parenting conundrum – and, more importantly, better ensure students end up in classes that are the best fit for them.
This is the type of information the principal and her team asked us to supply them with:
- Please provide three adjectives that describe your child.
- What does your child like to do for fun outside of school?
- What are your child’s strengths?
- In what area(s) would you like to see your child improve?
- What motivates your child?
- What kind of things upset your child?
- How would you rate your child’s attitude toward school? 1 2 3 4 5 (super)
- How would you rate your child’s sense of responsibility? 1 2 3 4 5 (super)
It also said to use the back side of the page, which was blank, to add any other details that might help them make the best placement decision for each student.
I wanted to send my completed questionnaire back with hearts all over it.
Imagine how much a school’s leadership team can do with this kind of information. When combined with grades, standardized test results, and the feedback students’ current teachers provide, parents can offer important insights that only they may know.
It could start to paint clearer pictures of kids who fall outside the norm in any number of ways.
For example, with kids like my son, their giftedness may be discovered earlier – and that could open up avenues and opportunities to help them find their tribe sooner. To feel a teensy bit more understood and a teensy bit less like an alien. And maybe, just maybe, to not develop social anxiety or other disorders that can creep into their lives at a ridiculously young age.
For a child who acts out, or is painfully shy, or is facing a yet-to-be-detected disability, the responses to these questions might reveal something entirely different. But equally important.
Does your school have a good process in place to help ensure great class placements? If so, please tell me.
Know a bright student who struggles a lot socially or emotionally?
Maybe he or she is a kite kid. Learn more