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Although teachers at Pacific DODDS schools are poised to meet the thousands of students who’ll file into the classrooms for another school year Monday, they’re no less ready to forge important contacts with the parents, school officials said.

“We are committed to partnership with parents,” said Steven R. Bloom, deputy director of DODDS Pacific. “We view school and learning as a shared responsibility. In order for schooling to be most effective for students … parents and teachers need to have ongoing communication,” he said.

And the best person to make that partnership with is the classroom teacher, Bloom said.

“Throughout the Pacific, we want parents to feel at home in our school,” said Bloom. He said parents need to be in contact with their child’s teacher and not to be afraid of initiating dialogue with them. “They (parents) need to become familiar with the standards and expectations at their child’s grade level.”

Contacting teachers, principals, guidance counselors or other school officials should be a straightforward matter, and is the same process, more or less, throughout the Pacific, the officials said.

“Each school generally has its own process,” said Petty Bullion, chief of the Pacific Education Division. “Generally, though, the parents just need to call the school office, ask for a telephone conversation or an appointment with the child’s teacher.”

At secondary schools especially, guidance counselors often play a key role in setting up meetings between parents and teachers or other school officials, Bullion said.

“We also encourage parents to attend orientation [or other] back-to-school events most of our schools sponsor at the beginning of the year,” Bloom said.

Some schools hold picnics the Saturday before school starts. Others may hold an open house early in the school year.

Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten Sure Start program pupils aren’t left out either, officials said.

“In DODDS Pacific, our kindergarten and Sure Start programs incorporate a home visit, which provides an opportunity for parents and teachers to meet and get to know the child better,” said Jane Schneider, DODDS Pacific elementary curriculum specialist. “It varies by location or by school but typically it occurs within the first weeks of school.”

As the school year progresses, parents typically have a broad range of questions for teachers and DODDS officials, Bloom said.

“At the beginning of the school year there are so many questions that range from transportation to lunchroom procedures. There’s no one issue we could single out as being most asked,” said Bloom.

Parents can also visit the DODDS Pacific Web site, which has links to individual schools: www.pac.odedodea.edu


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