Today's Lesson

In our experience we have met 2 types of parents; parents looking for the best school (‘best’ based on a set of criteria predetermined well before they speak to us). And - the other type of parent.  Parents who are determined to find the best school for their child.


If you are the first type of parent, best of luck to you on your search. We are confident you will find an amazing school (as many do exist) and your child may (or may not) bask in their glow of excellence. Unfortunately, excellence does not breed through osmosis. We believe that one rather, should approach selecting their child’s school with a grain of realism. 


Which brings me to the most important question you can ask yourself to launch your search: “What is the best school for my child?”


At Wolff Educational Services we conduct needs assessments that breaks this criteria into 3 selection houses. They are the Social, Emotional and Academic Houses of your child’s success and achievement at school. We have broken these houses into realistic criteria based on actual achievement data (the learning skills) and are written in academic language (reflective of curriculum expectations). Once the assessment is completed, it is simply a matter of matching the results (your child's area of strength and need) with the schools that offer programming in these areas. The equation breeds student success and achievement. Its flawless in its design.


Parents, education today is comprised of these 3 houses working together in unity and harmony. Students must demonstrate learning in all 3 of these areas in order to be successful. The way the curriculum is taught and learned is not inherent of 20th century practices anymore. 21st century classrooms are much more layered in there design and learning platforms are reflective of differentiated instruction, individualized for your child to demonstrate learning and skills. 


Before you begin your school search, know what it is your are looking for. Know what your child's strengths and areas of need are in each area (house) of the learning platforms and how they relate to both the classroom and school. Understand what the classroom does and can do, map the landscape as you would any foreign environment. 


And if you feel like you need an education in all things education before you try and map out a route for your child - call us! We can help - however, we will only find the best school for your child….not necessarily what you think is the best school.


Until Our Next Lesson……


How to maximize teacher Facetime? Use the acronym: POP

As this school year is winding down, there might be ongoing concerns you have about how the year has gone OR you have concerns regarding next year. Whether you are scheduling a meeting with your child’s teacher or run into him/her when you’re in the school, you want to maximize your “facetime.” The standard, “How’s my child doing?” will often yield the same response, “Fine, nothing to worry about.” Or, “There’s a problem in math, let’s set up a time to talk about it.”

The question is,  “How to get the most information in whatever time you have?”  The key is to be Prepared, Organized, and leave with a Plan. Whatever concern you might have will fall into one of these categories: academic, social or emotional. 

The first step to being prepared is to PRIORITIZE your concerns.  What are you most concerned? Problems with friends? A specific academic area? Anxiety?  Self esteem? Whatever the area of concern, be able to provide the teacher with examples.

Once you decide precisely what it is you want to discuss, the next step is to ASK the right question. Don’t ask a question that you already know the answer to. 

Not: “How is my child doing in math?”

Say: “I noticed my child received a Level 2 on the last Numeracy assessment, what can we do to help them improve?”

Often parents request interviews because they feel they really don’t know how their child is doing.  Perhaps they haven’t seen work samples or they can’t get a satisfactory answer from their child.  Ask the teacher specific questions.

Not: How’s my child doing?

Say: “Can you tell me what my child’s academic strengths and weaknesses are?  Can you show me examples?  Can you suggest how we can develop the areas of strength and improve the areas of weakness?  Can you show me what that assignment should have looked like? 

Academic areas are often easier to discuss than social/emotional areas.  But, direct questions should result in a clear understanding of strengths and/or weaknesses. 

Not: Does my child have friends?

Say: Does my child demonstrate age appropriate social skills? Does my child begin tasks promptly? Does he/she work independently?

You want to leave the meeting feeling that your concerns/questions have been addressed. If you are feeling unclear and the time is up, ask to set up another meeting. You may want to clarify what it is that you will be doing and what the teacher will be doing. Have a clear Plan.

Remember: POP

·      Prioritize

·      Organize

·      Plan