Every day, parents, caregivers, volunteers, teachers and support staff work together to provide the best education possible for all students.
To work together effectively, the relationship between home and school must be strong. This relationship can be strengthened through open, receptive and honest two-way communication.
From time to time, there may be a misunderstanding, a lack of communication, or a serious situation that needs attention. When this happens, everyone must work together to resolve the matter. A parent or caregiver has the right to express concerns, a teacher has the right to respond and the Board has an obligation to support students, parents and staff.
Note: The word “parent” when used, includes caregiver or guardian.
Steps in Communicating with Schools
If a parent has a concern about a school matter, these are the steps that should be followed:
Step 1: Talk with Your Child’s Teacher
The parent should discuss a concern or issue with the classroom teacher at a mutually convenient time.
Step 2: Talk with Your School Principal
If the parent and the teacher are not able to resolve the issue, it should be discussed with the school principal (or designate). The principal (or designate) will gather facts from everyone involved to clarify the problem and work to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Basic to every investigation is the Board’s expectation that employees and students will follow school and Board policies and procedures.
Step 3: Talk with Your School Superintendent of Student Achievement & Well-Being
If the parent and the school principal are not able to resolve the issue, the parent may discuss the issue with the school superintendent. The school superintendent will review the matter as it relates to established policies and procedures and will respond to the parent about his/her concern.
Step 4: Talk with the Associate Director of Education
If the parent and the school superintendent are not able to resolve the issue, the parent may discuss the issue with the Associate Director of Education. The Associate Director of Education will review the matter and respond to the parent about the concerns. The Associate Director of Education may choose to consult with the Director of Education at this time.
Step 5: Register as a Delegation and Present to the Trustees
If the parent and the Senior Superintendent are not able to resolve the issue, the parent may register as a delegation and make a presentation to trustees at an In Camera (private) Meeting by contacting the Manager of Corporate Services to set up a mutually convenient time.
Representative of the Parent
From time to time, the parent may believe or feel that they need support in order that they can adequately address their child’s interests. This support may be necessary while parents are attending meetings with the staff employed by the Board.
Parents have the right to have a representative of their choosing in attendance at meetings with staff, subject to any limitations established in these procedures. Any costs/expenses associated with such a representative are the responsibility of the parents.
Principals, staff and parents will be notified in advance of a meeting as to who is anticipated to be in attendance.
The role of such a family representative will be to provide the parent guardian with support before, during, or after any meetings with Board staff. In most cases, such a representative/advocate may be in attendance as an advocate to support but not speak about the parents’ concerns. In certain circumstances, for example when there is a language barrier which inhibits communication by the parents, a parent may choose to request that the representative speak on their behalf throughout the meetings with Board staff. As a result, a representative, as referred to in these procedures, is not usually a paid advocate attending the meeting on behalf of the parent.
A representative supporting the parents must agree, at the outset of or in advance of the meeting, to respect and maintain the confidentiality of any matter discussed at a meeting between parents and staff.
The Role of Trustees
Parents may contact trustees at any time. Trustees will facilitate the communication process between the parent and the appropriate staff and provide information and direction. Trustees shall direct the parent or guardian to the process which should be followed in resolving any concerns or to the appropriate person or step in the process (dependent on the steps the parents have already undertaken to resolve the concerns at the time the trustee is contacted) but shall not act as a representative of the parents or guardians.