Set your child up for success: Write a passport letter to the new teacher
When your child walks into a new classroom in September, the teacher knows only what others have said. That’s her first impression of your daughter or son.
Make sure your voice is in the mix, right from the start! Compose a brief passport letter to introduce your child and email it to the teacher the week before school begins.
We’ve found this humanizing snapshot helps teachers see your child beyond the IEP, and sets up a friendly, caring start to the school year. Teachers tell us they appreciate the gesture, and the information—as long as it’s brief! Keep it to one page.
What should your passport letter include?
-- Warm, cooperative tone, from the get go, for example: "My child Terry is very much looking forward to starting the sixth grade with you this upcoming school year. I’m writing to introduce Terry, identify some things that will help in your class, and ask for your help and sensitivity.
-- Descriptive photo of your child enjoying a favorite activity (printed on the page, not attached)
-- Specific names of your child’s disabilities and when diagnosed
-- Positive attributes of your child – stick with three
-- Symptoms to watch out for, and their triggers
-- Techniques to calm your child, including safe words/phrases
-- Tips on what has worked in previous classrooms, and what has not
-- Information about your child’s social interactions
-- Your child’s favorites—subjects, items, foods—which can be motivators
-- Your offer to help in the classroom, on field trips, with projects
Close with your contact information and the best methods and times to reach you. By setting up the partnership for success from the beginning, your child’s passport into the next grade can be stamped with approval!
In many cases, a special education advocate can serve as an intermediary, which not only benefits your child, but also helps you maintain a positive relationship with the teacher. Call or email us today to find out more information, or for assistance in composing your child’s passport letter.