Advocacy, Back to School, Tips & Strategies

Now’s the Time to Talk About Next Year

Spring is here!

It’s April now. Birds are chirping, the sun is staying out longer, and winter is starting to feel like a memory. As the days grow warmer and we start getting excited about all the fun ahead of us in the summer, it seems like entirely the wrong time to be thinking about the start of the next school year, right?

Actually, now is a great time to start thinking about the next school year!

Why, you ask? Because students are now 8 months into the 10-month school year and at this point, your child’s classroom teacher and the school staff have had 8 months of developing a relationship with your child and your family. This means they know your child the best that they can right now.

Compare this to when students return to school in the fall and enter a new classroom with new peers and a new teacher. Not only can this be a stressful time for students, it’s a stressful time for teachers too because everyone needs time to get to know each other. The transition out of one school year, into the summer, and then into a new classroom setting can be really tough. It can result in a loss of communication, supports, accommodations, or other things your child needs in order to succeed and feel confident at school.

That’s why this is the perfect time to initiate a conversation with your child’s teacher or the school staff about how you will transition your child into the next school year. It’s the right moment to start talking about how you can carry forward whatever accommodations or requirements your child needs and how you can prepare them and their new classroom teacher for the best chance at a successful start to school in the fall.

What does this conversation sound like? Well, it should focus on what’s working for the student right now: what things are helping your child in the classroom? When do they feel most successful and most comfortable in a learning environment? What can the teacher or the school staff do in order to facilitate a smoother transition into the fall term?

Addressing these ideas now, as opposed to next year, means there is a better chance for a more productive conversation instead of a stressful one. So, however you communicate with your child’s teacher—through an app, email, or a phone call—we encourage you to get in touch and start talking about what’s working and what isn’t. Clarify your expectations for the rest of the school year and the upcoming fall, and listen to the teacher, who at this point has had 8 months of engaging with your child and can have a much more constructive conversation with you.