December 2019 Counselor's Tips
As winter deepens and we prepare for the end of the semester, it can be a time with a great deal of stress and effort to keep working hard. As we race to the semester “finish line” it is important to remember that we are all here for the same purpose: to inspire our students to passionately pursue their unlimited potentials, nurture this diverse community of creative and critical thinkers, and recognize, respect, and respond to their unique needs. Part of this is fostering positive, collaborative, and effective communication among parents, students, and staff. Here are some tips for keeping the lines of communication open and student focused:
- Talk to the Teacher First – If you are concerned about anything that is occurring in the classroom, your first resource is the teacher. The teacher in the classroom will have the most complete knowledge of their classroom procedures and the strengths and needs of the students in their class. Many questions and concerns that are brought to the office are resolved more quickly and effectively when addressed directly to the teacher first.
Share Concerns Respectfully – Especially over email. Words without context can often be misconstrued or misunderstood. Parents have the right to be advised of and fully discuss their students’ progress and learning, but also a responsibility to promote respect for school personnel and their position. Remembering that we are all here to support the continued growth and learning of Hulstrom students and presuming that positive intent in all of our communications can help us frame our questions and concerns in a respectful manner that allows all parties to be heard.
- Choose an appropriate time – make sure that you and the teacher both have enough time to fully express your concerns AND problem solve together. Please remember to leave a voice message if you call and allow 24-48 hours response time for messages and emails.
- Focus on the positives – even when something is not going well, not everything is going wrong. Keep the positives in mind. We can often use positives and strengths to help build skills and solve problems.
- Be solution oriented – approach every conversation with ideas to help solve the problem AND be open to other ideas; we are a problem-solving team!
- Seek Understanding and Partnership – We can all take the time to listen to learn, rather than respond. Teachers and parents often see different sides of children and different behaviors in different spaces or situations. It is important for both parties to hear the whole story, acknowledge the other’s point of view, ask for clarification, and come together to determine solutions.
When we come together respectfully and collaboratively, our Hulstrom community grows stronger and we can all work together to achieve our shared goals around growth and learning for our students. We can all work within our existing systems to advocate for the rights of students, parents, and teachers while upholding our responsibilities as well. For more information about Individual Rights and Responsibilities, please refer to District Policy 8900.
As always, reach out if you are in need of further support.
Hulstrom School Counselor