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We All Want Communication From Our Schools and Community But What Role Do We Play?

Families need to play a bigger role in finding out what is going on

As a parent, teacher, a PTA member and a Glen Ellyn resident I know that I am always talking to people about communication. We want our schools and teachers to tell us what is going on, we want the school board to tell us what it is doing about the issues we worry about. We get upset when the village does not inform us why something has changed or why a fee is raised. These are just a few of the things we all want.

I began thinking about how difficult this is to achieve without taking responsibility for ourselves. In my role as a PTA parent, I am constantly working with other parents on getting the information out to families at school. How can we improve it? We have a website that sends out information every Sunday to parents and reminds them about the week’s events. We advertise flyers and we have a website that people can go to any time to look for answers to questions or to just check out what is going on. Yet we still have parents who complain about not being informed of things. They miss deadlines for hot lunch or yearbook sales and they claim they were never told about it. It is frustrating when you know you have done as much as you can to get it out there and people are still complaining that you aren’t doing enough.

The D41 School Board sends out an email to families updating the happenings at the board meetings and other district events and information. It also has a website that has a lot of information for parents. You can find the curriculum standards for each grade level, a detailed description of what your child should be taught in those grades, and subject areas. Some other things you can find include the parent survey results, reading lists for parents, agendas, and minutes from board meetings, pod cast links so you can hear a board meeting you did not attend in person, and the finances of our district including tax information. Those are just of few things right there for parents to look at any time they want.

The village website has agendas and minutes as well.  It also has a survey area, question of the week, and other event information. There is also a bulletin board where residents can talk about issues involving Glen Ellyn and start topics that concern them.  The village website has links to the board members and to other village leaders. 

There are so many things going on in the world today that effect all of our families.  As someone that is very involved in learning about what is going on in and around our community, I have come to realize that many of us do not take the time to learn about what is going on. We get frustrated and often complain about things we can actually change or at least help bring change. All of the above organizations can’t call us each day with a personal news blurb about what is going on. If they did, most of us would hang up or be too busy to listen at the time of the call. We need to take a more personal role in finding out what concerns us. If you are frustrated with your school district then you should go to a meeting and learn what is going on. You can voice your complaints in a productive way. You can actually contact your district members and talk to them in person about your concerns. Often times what is talked about around town is not the reality of the situation. Once you talk to the right person you find that out. Sometimes you find out that things are worse than you thought, but at least you have a good understanding of them.

If you have child in school then you should begin your year finding out how that school will notify you of things. Will it be email, paper copies, etc. You have to take some leadership to make sure you are ready to receive what people are providing you. As parents in a school district, we should question our board members and show up to meetings if that is something we care about.  If the issues of the school district do not concern you then that is not an issue for you. 

If we really stop and think, how many of us really read the district e news that comes in our inbox? How many of you read the village newsletter online or just get on to check out what is going on?  The eblast our building sends to parents is opened by only about 30 percent of families. The rest never read it.  We have to take advantage of what we are given in order for it to work.

The point I want to make is that there are people in our community that want to help, teach, and inform us of what is going on and why. They do their best most of the time. Sometimes they do it wrong, but for the most part they are trying to communicate with us as much as they can without personally calling each of us.  We need to take a more active and personal role in seeking out what we want and for finding out how to get the information being provided. This is a big town with a lot of people and communicating with everyone is a huge job.

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