Steps to follow when you have a concern . . .
When you advocate on behalf of your child the way you express your concerns has an effect on the outcome.
• Do your best to control your emotions, be reasonable and respectful. The less defensive people act, the easier it is for them to listen to your concerns. You can provide information that will help professionals make a decision that meets the needs of your child.
• Consider the views of others. You may not agree, but by listening you will understand where they are “coming from” and where a solution might be found. When both sides are heard, it is easier to work together to find solutions.
• Document your information. It is easy to get confused or forget. Jot down notes, record the dates of meetings, phone calls, etc. Keep copies of everything you send and receive.
• Commit to resolution. Ensure you are working to solve the problem. Be honest with yourself and others. Plan how the problem will be solved. Think of the effect your suggested plan will have. Act in good faith; assume the best of others. Be both flexible and open-minded. Another plan might work or be even better.
• Stay involved. Confirm action plans and arrange for follow up. Help to define reasonable deadlines for each goal and ensure you and your child are part of the resolution’s evaluation. If one solution is not working, try another. Plans must be workable.
Q. I have a concern. What should I do?
A. Act as soon as possible, do not let the problem get out of hand or remain unresolved. Listen carefully to what your child is saying. If you are uncomfortable seek advocacy. Try to understand all viewpoints on the issue. Do your best to look at the issue logically, leaving your emotions out of the picture for the time being. Determine clearly in your mind what the issue is. Establish what the facts are and what information may be missing. Begin to form questions. Request a meeting with the person directly involved at a mutually convenient time.
Q. Where do I start if I have a concern or problem?
A. Always start with the person directly involved. For example, if the problem is in the classroom a face-to-face meeting between teacher, support staff, parent and student may be the best approach. Most problems will be successfully solved at this level. (For further information refer to School District Regulation 9052: Process for Resolution of Concerns available at the school, the district board office, or on-line at http://www.sd83.bc.ca
Q. Where do I go next?
A. If your concerns are not addressed at this level, contact the individual’s immediate supervisor. The vice-principal or principal will make every attempt to solve the problem at the school level and can help you contact appropriate people as necessary.
Q. What if my problem cannot be solved at the school level?
A. You may wish to speak to a Director of Instruction of the school district. If you are not satisfied, referral to the superintendent may be necessary.
Q. Where would I go from here?
A. You have the option of writing a letter to the school board or asking to make a formal presentation at a board meeting. The result of this appeal will be given to you in writing. (For further information refer to School District Regulation 9052: Process For Resolution Of Concerns available at the school, the district board office or on-line at http://www.sd83.bc.ca)
Q. Would it be appropriate to ask the PAC for help?
A. Perhaps. If concerns are of a general nature (not confidential issues) it may be brought up at a PAC meeting for discussion. However, if the issue is of a personal or personnel nature then it must be dealt with in private.
Q. Could I contact the Ombudsman?
A. Yes, however, the Ombudsman can only look at whether a fair process was followed by all parties, and if not, their action is restricted to recommendations only.
We also have a printable version of the steps by clicking here – Problem Solving Brochure