Parent-School Communication

Communication between parents and school faculty and staff is a vital way in which you can assist your child’s transition into Zervas School. It is also the primary means by which teachers and staff become familiar with your child, and you with life at Zervas. This is particularly true in terms of special needs or concerns, which teachers and school staff might need to know about so that your child’s journey is as smooth and rewarding as possible. The following are structured and less formal ways by which this communication occurs.

Welcome-to-Zervas Coffee Hour
On the first two days of school, Zervas parents are invited to a coffee get-together in our “Nature Classroom” (in front of the school) after taking their children to the classrooms. This is a nice time for parents to meet other families in the community and offer each other support.

Zervas Notes – PTO Newsletter
Our monthly Zervas Notes newsletter contains information about school and community activities and letters from the Principal and Co-Presidents. Please read Zervas Notes thoroughly, as it will announce upcoming meetings and events and other items of interest. Submissions to Zervas Notes are due no later than the Friday before publication and should be emailed to zmail@zervaspto.org. Newsletter editors may or may not publish all requests and reserve the right to revise content before including.

ZMail
The PTO sends out weekly emails with reminders of upcoming events, as well as reminders and information about last minute changes. Please email the PTO to sign up at zmail@zervaspto.org

Curriculum Night
Parents are invited each fall to their child’s classroom to hear their teacher explain the curriculum and answer general questions about the year. Teachers also use this opportunity to inform parents of expectations, policies and procedures that are unique to their individual classroom. Parents may look at materials in the room as well as their child’s work. Curriculum Nights are not intended for discussion of individual children or their progress; this occurs by arrangement, if necessary, or at the regularly scheduled conference in the fall (see section on Student Evaluation).

In addition to meeting your child’s classroom teacher, all specialists present a short introduction to their work. The dates of these evenings will be announced in Zervas Notes. These evenings are designed for parents to attend without their children.

Coffee & Conversation Hour with the Principal
Coffee & Conversation Hour is a morning coffee for parents and guardians to share time and conversation with the principal. The goal is to provide an informal opportunity to exchange thoughts and/or information. The co-presidents of the PTO will also be present.  Principal’s Coffees are scheduled throughout the year. The dates appear on the calendar and will be announced in Zervas Notes.

Bulletin Board
The bulletin board in the main hall posts the monthly Zervas Notes, information from ZASP and NewtonPAC for Special Education, etc. Community information is also posted there.

Student Evaluation: How Is My Child Doing in School?

Fall Conferences
Every parent is invited to an individual conference in the fall. The purpose of the conference is to discuss your child’s progress and for the parent and teacher to get to know one another.

End-of-January Report Card
A checklist detailing skills presented by the teacher and mastered by your child, as well as comments, are sent home. Conferences do not normally take place at this time.

June Report Card and Spring Conference
Before the end of school, report cards illuminating your child’s progress in classroom skills, as well as art, music and physical education, are given to the parent in an individual parent/teacher conference. The report card follows a checklist format and has a short narrative paragraph.

Informal Conferences
Even in the best of schools, your child can feel shy, angry, under-challenged, or overwhelmed. Even when children have had experiences in other school settings before coming to Zervas, the transition to kindergarten and school in general can be demanding. Should such feelings emerge, it is important to remember that you and your child’s teachers share a common goal: to find the right ingredients and environment for your child to have a successful school experience. The best advice is to let the teacher know immediately if a concern arises so that both school and home can work together to help support and encourage your child. If the teacher notices a problem, you can be sure that he/she will be in touch. Teachers are happy to talk with you about your child when all is well, too.

If you wish to speak to your child’s teacher, it is best to call during the school day and leave a specific message, or send a note explaining the reasons why a conference might be necessary. This gives the teacher a chance to confer with other faculty, if appropriate, and respond to you in a timely fashion. If you need more than a telephone conversation, you should arrange an appointment to meet your child’s teacher at a mutually convenient time.

Sometimes parents feel somewhat uncomfortable communicating with teachers. (“Do they notice my child’s special needs?”, “Is my child’s unusual behavior at home a reflection of things that are happening in school?”, “My child seems to be out of sorts, but I don’t know if it has anything to do with school.”) But it is essential for both you and your child that you and the teacher join forces as soon as possible. Identifying difficulties or problems and addressing them in a timely fashion, before patterns of misunderstanding develop, can help you and the teacher become a team working cooperatively for the good of your child.

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