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Tips for parents attending school meetings
February 6, 2019

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If your child is struggling in any area of school, you may be invited to a school meeting. These meetings are to problem solve with a team of people dedicated to your child's success at school. Any conference or meeting at school can be intimidating. If you are prepared and have an idea of what to expect, it will make you more comfortable.

What Is It?

Meetings at schools can have several different names. You may see a meeting notice for "S.A.T." (Student Assistance Team), "I.E.P." (Individualized Education Program) or "I.F.S.P." (Individualized Family Service Plan). No matter the name of the meeting, the goals will be similar identifying the best way to help your child in school.

Who Is At the Table?

Some meetings may be small and consist of only your child's teacher. However, most school meetings will involve more staff. Be prepared that there may be quite a few people at the table.

Some of the people in the meeting may be:

Remember, that all the people at the table are there to help and support your child. However, they may have different opinions about the best way to do that. There may also be a S.A.T. coordinator, who is in charge of the meeting paperwork and helping guide the discussion and planning. You are also welcome to bring someone with you. It may help to have another person to either take notes or who can discuss the meeting with you afterwards. This could be a friend or someone who also knows your child.

Educators can use words that are unfamiliar to you. They may also use acronyms or a series of letters that stand for words. You may want to review this list before you attend a meeting. However, you should always feel free to speak up and ask them to explain. Try not to be embarrassed if you don't understand; sometimes, they may just forget that not everyone is used to using the buzz words.

Parents and guardians are the most important members of any school team. You know your child better than anyone else at the table and can share valuable information. Speak up to share your thoughts and concerns and ask questions when needed. Being a prepared, informed and active participant in the meeting will greatly help your child's education.

Sources:

National Association of School Psychologists.

Who Are School Psychologists? Retrieved 3/23/15, from www.nasponline.org/about-sp/who-are-school-psychologists.aspx.

West Virginia Department of Education. (2013a).

Hand in Hand Guidance for West Virginia Parents. From wvde.state.wv.us/osp/handinhand.pdf.

West Virginia Department of Education. (2013b).

Support for Personalized Learning (SPL) Good Kids doing Great Work. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from

wvde.state.wv.us/osp/Parent-Guide.pdf.

Mollie Toppe is a WVU Extension Agent for Wetzel County.

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