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10 tips for IEP season

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

As if the back to school routine isn’t busy enough for families, there is also the added stress for parents of children with special needs to participate in Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings for each of their children. Here are 10 tips to help you go in with a positive attitude, a collaborative mindset, and a plan of action.

4 steps to effective advocacy

Advocating for your child’s needs at school is a key part of an adoptive parent’s “job description.” In this article, teacher and parent Alison Wagler shares her tips on how to work with the school as an ally, not an adversary.

One memorable Halloween at the school where I teach, a parent kindly offered to bring in a smoke machine to make the Halloween party more exciting. The party became exciting indeed when the smoke set off the fire alarm, sending 400 kids in costumes out into the rain for an unplanned fire drill.

Childhood trauma in the classroom 10 things teachers need to know

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

For children who have experienced trauma, learning can be a big struggle. Here’s how to help them.

With grief, sadness is obvious. With trauma, the symptoms can go largely unrecognized because it shows up looking like other problems: frustration, acting out, or difficulty concentrating, following directions or working in a group. Often students are misdiagnosed with anxiety, behavior disorders or attention disorders, rather than understanding the trauma that’s driving those symptoms and reactions.

Adoption-friendly family trees

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine
At some point, almost every child will have to tackle a family tree school project. Classic family tree assignments assume every kid comes from an intact biological family with one mom and one dad, which can leave adopted kids feeling confused, left out, and sad. These alternative family trees welcome kids from all families to celebrate their uniqueness.

From Sierra Leone to Coquitlam - Part 2

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Joseph is now 11 years old. He was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In his first few years, he tragically lost his birth family and ended up in a refugee camp and then an orphanage. After a three-year search and a two-year adoption process, he came to Canada to join his new family in Coquitlam. It has been an incredible journey for this young boy.

Extreme Parenting series

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child.

Heart-shaped cookies

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When my older daughter, Jessica, was in kindergarten she love to attend birthday parties. However, one day she came home from a birthday celebration very sad and very quiet. She wanted to be left alone and didn't want to talk about the party.

Success for Aboriginal students

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In School District 59, a ground-breaking program works with Aboriginal students, coach/mentor teachers, families, and communities to improve outcomes for Aboriginal students.

According to District Vice Principle Caron Jones, a coach/mentor teacher in each school guides a collaborative process that places Aboriginal student achievement at the forefront. The result has been increased successes in many areas including reading scores, course completion, and graduation rates, which rose from 45% to 62% over five years.

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