8/30/16

The #1 Rule For Back-To-School



For so many of us first-timers, back to school is scary. We have to leave our child in the care of people we've only met for a few minutes during orientation. I don't know about you, but that's terrifying for me. All the unknowns send me into mommy-paranoia overload. The only thing that calms me is remembering, it's for the best.

My child's education is everything to me. Everything. I want nothing more than to give him the very best education and school experience possible. Education is, after all, a critical foundation for life.

When the time came to start Pre-K, I looked at every program in the city, weighed the pro's and cons, and made the best-informed decision possible. We ended up at a school that came highly recommended, with the caveat, there was a new principal.

It turned out, the new principal was ruffling feathers, teachers quit over the summer, and the moral had visibly tanked. There were a couple of occasions in the first two months I thought about sending my son back to his old Mother's Day Out program at the Church two days a week.

Two things kept me there:

1. My son had an exceptional teacher and was thriving.
2. There was a badass mother in the class I knew from the church program who constantly in the office fighting for our children. I LOVED watching her in action. She quickly became my school-mom hero.

My hero, who coincidentally is named, Ollie, is a mother of three beautiful children, one in elementary, middle and high-school. After ten years in the school system, this chick knows the ins-and-ous of state laws, how the system works and most of all, how to work with every department within a school to make things right, not only for her child but for the other children. Seriously, watching her in action is the most amazing thing in the world.

Last year, when the school was on its head, and us first-timers were scratching our heads unsure what to do, Ollie was in the office demanding answers and reminding them of State mandated laws. Long story short, Ollie got shit done. Fast.

Every time Ollie would rectify a situation for our school or tell me about something she had to deal with at another school, I would always be left in awe praising her, and every time she would say, "You have to be an advocate for your child in school. It's so important for your child's education and your sanity."

I'm so thankful that I had Ollie to help me with my first year of school. Seeing her stand up (alone) and make things right was not only amazing but empowering. She showed me that when things are not right say something immediately, because, in a classroom of 20+ children, it's easy to let things slide or get lost in the cracks.

Most of all, she taught me the most important rule for back to school:

To provide the best and safest education for a child, it's essential to be his/her biggest advocate every step of the way. When you know something is not right, address the issue immediately, don't wait or waste another day of your child's education hoping the issue will resolve itself. Even if that means asking tough questions, standing up to teachers, principals or the entire PTO, your child's education is worth it.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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