Suggested Questions to Ask School Staff
Suggested Questions to Ask School Staff
The following are sample, optional questions you may ask school staff to help your child be successful in school.
- How can I contact my child’s teacher(s) and the school staff? Do teachers prefer emails, texts, or phone calls? Is there an interpreter who can help me?
- Does the school have a calendar that shows important dates I should know about (like start and end dates of the school year, parent/teacher conferences, and back-to-school nights)?
- How can I ask for an interpreter at school events? If I am working on the day of an event, can another family member attend? How do I tell the school that someone else is coming instead of me?
- How can I get involved with the school? Can I volunteer at the school? Are there any groups or programs for families of ELs? Are there any groups or programs for immigrant families?
- How can I find out what my child is learning in school? How is the school helping my child learn English? What are the learning goals in my child’s classes? What are the goals for learning English? Who can give us that information?
- What are the rules about how often my child can miss school?
- What do I need to know about grade and promotion (going to the next grade) rules at this school? Will I get a report card for my child? If not, is there an online system the school uses to share grades (such as a student information system)? How do I learn to use this system? How will my child be graded in content areas like math while he or she is learning English?
- Are there homework rules for the whole school, or is homework up to my child’s teacher(s)? How will I know if my child has homework and how well he or she is doing it?
- What other activities should my child do besides homework to help him or her learn (math drills, reading, learning facts, visiting museums, strategy games, etc.)? What can we do to help with his or her learning?
- Who can help us with planning for high school? How do we get advice and counseling about our options for classes? Who can talk to me about my child’s goals and set goals for his or her coursework? Is there an interpreter who can help at this meeting? Which classes are required (needed) for graduation? How can I know that my child is taking the classes he or she needs to go to college?
- How are transcripts from other countries used to decide grade level and course placement?
- How do you help students set college and career goals? How do you involve families in these discussions?
Tests, Progress Reports, and Supports
- How will I know if my child is doing well in the courses needed for promotion (going to the next grade) or graduation? If I have questions about my child’s progress, whom can I speak with?
- What services does the school offer to help my child learn English? How can I help my child learn English if I don’t speak English well?
- How often does the school send progress reports home?
- What do I need to know about state tests? What tests will my child have to take and when are these tests given? What types of supports/accommodations can my child get when taking tests (for example, do they offer extended time or a bilingual dictionary)? If my child has an individualized education program (IEP) or is receiving Section 504 services, how can I know that the required supports are being given to my child?
- Are any tests given in our home language? How can I help my child get ready for state tests? How will I know the results of these tests? Will you provide the results in a language I understand? Are state tests taken on a computer or by paper and pencil? How are the test results used?
- How can I get help for my child with his or her classes? Does the school offer free or low-cost tutoring for my child? If yes, how do I get this tutoring for my child?
- How can my child get help with his or her homework? Are there any websites or telephone hotlines that can help us?
- If my child fails a class, what can he or she do?
- How do I know if my child is on track to graduate? Which classes are needed for graduation with a regular high school diploma?
- If my child is not able to meet the requirements to graduate with a regular high school diploma, can my child graduate with an alternative (different) high school diploma, certificate, or another credential? If yes, does the school or district offer an alternative high school diploma, certificate, or other credential? What does my child need to do to get it?
- How can I know that my child is taking the classes he or she needs to go to a college or university? Who can help us with college planning, applications, and financial aid for college? If my child is undocumented, can he or she get help with college planning and financial aid?
- Can my child enroll in dual enrollment courses to earn credits towards college or university?
- My child wants to take career and technical education (CTE) courses. Who should my child and I speak with about this?