Key Questions for a New School

By Ella Holton-McCoy and Sean McCormick, M.Ed/ET

Materials: paper and pencil/pen

After reading this article, your task is to actually write down a list of questions (or copy these ones), grab your paper and pencil!

If your student is starting at a new school, whether they are promoting from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school or changing school districts altogether, it is important to ask the school administrators questions to ensure that the school is a good fit.

The first place to start would be to ask your student what questions or concerns they have about this new school.

To start this conversation, ask your student:

  • What would make you feel comfortable and welcome in your new school?
  • What would you like to know about/like to ask your teacher?
  • What do you want your new teacher to know about you?
  • What was helpful for you at your previous school?
  • What do you hope your new school has that your old school didn’t?

For example, if your student says that they hope their new school will not have tests, follow up with this concern. Support your student in communicating what they think they need to be successful. This is an important step in their self-advocacy and for feeling like they are in charge of their learning.

Next, as a parent, it is important to know the expectations of your child in their new school, especially if your student experiences executive functioning challenges or learning differences. Here are a few questions to and help you get started with your owl questions for the school:

  • Do you offer a separate support period for students with learning differences?
  • How do you support students in self-advocacy development?
  • If a student needs additional help, are there assigned staff members to help with this or do you refer out to tutors and specialists?
  • If additional support is available on campus, is that support provided by trained/credentialed teachers or para educators?
  • How will I be notified if my student is beginning to fall behind?

Students with ADHD and other learning differences are often entitled to additional support. As a parent, it can feel overwhelming trying to make sure your student attends a school that is cognizant and understanding of their needs. Every student with a learning challenge presents differently, so it is essential that you advocate for your student’s unique needs.

Once you have your list of questions, reach out to a school administrator, counselor or teacher about setting up a 15–30 minute meeting to discuss your questions and begin to build a strong foundation for your student at their new school. Another way to approach the school staff is to email them your questions.

Approaching a transition to a new school with a plan can help reduce stress for you and your child. This process also models executive functioning skills for your child, and helps them feel prepared for the upcoming change.

For more information about educational rights for your child in public schools and private schools, click here.

For more tips or to learn more about how we can help your child reach their full potential, visit efspecialists.com or email us at info@efspecialists.com.

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