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Checking on Your Teen's School Progress

Parents looking at report card

Are you having trouble keeping track of your teen's school progress? Have you been shocked to find out your son or daughter hasn’t​ been turning in assignments and projects, or, worse yet, that he or she is failing a class?

In general, parents receive less and less feedback from school as their children get older. This is understandable: The older a student is, the more responsibility he or she should assume for schoolwork, grades and academic success.

Regardless of how old your child is, however, you are still the parent and need to know how things are going at school. If your teen is struggling or failing, you need be aware of it so you can take appropriate action. In such situations, you might consider providing or obtaining extra help for your teen. Or, you might use consequences like withholding privileges, including participation in extracurricular activities, to get your teen back on track. The bottom line is that awareness allows you to catch a problem before it gets too big, determine the cause and work with your teen and school staff to find a solution.

Here are some suggestions for staying on top your student’s school progress:

  • Talk to your teen often about how things are going at school. This doesn’t mean you have to conduct an interrogation; just ask specific questions so your teen can share the highlights and challenges of school life.
  • Have your teen start keeping a log of class assignments. Check the log each night, and then make sure your teen is completing homework, studying for tests and quizzes, and keeping up with his or her class work.
  • Identify important school personnel with whom you should meet. This includes your teen's teachers, the principal, counselors, the school secretary and possibly others.
  • Introduce yourself to school professionals, and tell them who your child is.
  • Project an attitude of cooperation with school professionals. Tell them you want to work with them to ensure your teen's success in school.
  • Determine how often you should contact school personnel. Base your decision on your teen's needs and the teachers' schedules.
  • Make a plan for maintaining contact with school personnel. This could involve weekly phone calls, school notes, assignment books and emails.
  • Make a special plan to work with school staff when your teen has academic or behavior problems.

Many parents contact the school only when they are upset about something. The best way to build a strong relationship with school personnel is to make positive contact whenever possible. Show appreciation for the efforts the teachers and counselors are making to help your teen. Everyone benefits when the relationship between home and school is positive and cooperative.