School Personnel Roles and Responsibilities: Who’s Who at Your Child’s School?
Staying in touch with your local teachers and school administrators is an important part of parenting. These are the people who see your child every day and monitor their academic progress, so it’s wise to understand each of their roles in directing your child’s education. That said, it’s not always easy to monitor an entire school system. Sometimes a quick refresher on who’s who at your child’s school is helpful, so let’s take a look at the most common school personnel roles and responsibilities.
The role of a teacher is often misunderstood; this person’s responsibilities extend far beyond meeting your child’s academic needs. They must also nurture your child’s social and emotional growth during those hours spent away from home. Positive teacher-student classroom relationships correlate with high levels of student engagement and a greater chance at academic success.
Good teachers will take interest in your child’s personal life, both at home and among his or her peers. Try not to view this as an invasion of privacy, but rather, an indicator that the educator is invested in your child’s future. Academic success depends on many different factors, so don’t be shy about starting a conversation with your child’s teachers if you have any questions or concerns.
A school counselor handles both at-home and in-school concerns. Similar to off-campus counselors, this person generally acts as a guide and a resource for students. The counselor knows the school climate and can provide unique insight into problems your child might experience. There’s no substitute for having an advocate who has a physical presence on campus. This is an invaluable “safety net” for your child or adolescent.
At a minimum, your child will see the counselor before every quarter. This meeting will be focused on the child’s academic performance and plans for the weeks ahead. In your teen’s junior year of high school, the school counselor also becomes your go-to personnel for college advice and planning.
The Vice Principal
A vice principal’s responsibilities are far-reaching. In addition to handling administrative duties, vice principals must also act as the school disciplinarian. If your child or teen has been faced with disciplinary issues in the past, take a proactive approach to meeting the vice principal and working together to correct the offending behaviors. While many vice principals are flexible and understanding about minor transgressions, some do not have the liberty to be so lenient. In some cases, school districts operate under what is known as a zero tolerance policy. You should be aware of whether or not this is the case for your child’s school.
Other reasons for talking to the vice principal will vary by district. Their administrative duties can range from school bus coordination to cafeteria budgeting, so familiarize yourself with the division of duties among your child’s school personnel.
The school principal is the chief administrator. His or her primary responsibility is to ensure that the school meets all local, state, and federal standards. The principal is also in charge of overseeing academic progress and setting school-wide initiatives for the staff.
Your interactions with your child’s principal are not likely to happen very frequently. However, when you have a problem that no one else can handle, the principal is your best option.
The Athletic Director (AD)
Seattle has top-notch high school sports programs. Our schools consistently win state championships and other regional titles. This success is owed in part to the work done by local athletic directors. ADs are the people who oversee the entirety of your teen’s high school sporting career. They help develop athletics budgets, handle athlete codes of conduct, and promote academic excellence for the school’s student athletes.
Parental interaction with the AD is limited, even if your child is involved with sports. However, any pressing matters that relate to your son or daughter’s athletic experience may end up on the AD’s desk.
Understanding the roles your local school personnel play in your child’s educational experience is a must for any parent. Take every opportunity to meet and greet your local school faculty and administrators.
If the excellent public schools of Seattle are calling your name, contact us. We know the ins and outs of the Seattle school system and would love to help you navigate your child’s academic career.