PS Smart Tip: Be Your Own Best Advocate

This is from a dad I met at a recent talk:

“I went to the prospective parent meeting last month at our elementary school and the misinformation and confusion (about enrollment info) was unsettling to say the least. I’m quickly learning that, as in healthcare, if you are not your own advocate, you (and your kids) are completely screwed.”

I personally refuse to take a fatalistic approach about it all, although yes, I also have plenty of dark thoughts towards the LAUSD machine. However, I personally feel empowered to gather information, speak out, and stay on top of things. We tend to forget that these are OUR schools, OUR kids, OUR tax money. When parents make noise, and are aware of what’s going on, they can’t be so misguided or pushed around. It’s when we stay blind, deaf, immobilized with fear and passivity, that’s when we are controlled and pushed around, thus, as you put it, screwed.

Believe me, with our kids’ education at stake, this IS personal and WE ARE the best advocates they have. Count on it!

Stay strong and carry on! Be vigilant and it will all work out.

I find that a cocktail here or there tends to help.

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PS Smart Tip: Being Pro-Active

No school is perfect, and no school can provide all things to all people. But many times we as parents are the first to see or hear things, either directly on campus or through our children, that could use a tweak, a solution, or an all-out revamping. Now is not the time to sit idly by and expect someone else to solve it.
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Ask questions, talk to others, take a quick meeting with your teacher to find out their perspective and discuss possible solutions, and if you don’t get resolution, talk to the principal. Perhaps you’ve got ideas and some strategic planning or creative problem-solving will fix the issue. Sometimes just letting others know there is a problem that needs addressing is enough to get something adjusted or changed. Sometimes we can solve things in-house, and sometimes we have to take it all the way to our School Board Rep or Superintendent or even the press.
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We tend to forget that these are our schools, our children, our tax dollars. Although others might be “in charge,” when all stakeholders work together collectively and collaboratively, that’s where real community can be built and positive change can take place.

PS Smart Tip: Don’t Keep It To Yourself!

This one’s for kids: if you find you either need extra help or extra work in class, ask for it. It does no good to suffer in silence if the work’s either going over your head or you’re downright bored in class. People can’t read your mind. Find the courage to speak up – either to your teacher or ask your parents to talk to the teacher – and you will get the help or extra work you need.

This goes for all kinds of issues, problems or sticky situations. Don’t keep it all inside and get frustrated. Reach out and talk to someone about it…a teacher, a TA, your parents, your friend’s mom, your favorite coach, and together you can come up with some next steps and possible solutions. Today’s tip is all about being pro-active to get the support you need.