Parents: please communicate with the educators!

Greetings from the entrance hall of my house in Mequon. I look quizzically deep into the bowels of my work bag.

What do I need to pack to embark on today’s adventure that I affectionately call Jewish education?

Today, I know what to put in my schoolbag. An olive branch. The one that I will extend my outstretched arm to each of the parents of my students. You are my ally, my partner. I am counting on you to unravel the mysteries of your child for me. Your child comes to my class a stranger. A puzzle to solve. All I know is what I observe and notice. It’s a guessing game. How does your child learn best? Good question. What does your child need to succeed in the classroom? I scratch my head. How to handle a difficult situation? You got me.

As a parent of a child with a disability, I know the feeling of a hand cramp after completing all the school paperwork explaining my child’s special learning needs. Still. And then again. I know the feeling of seeing the school counselor’s name flashing on the caller ID and not having the energy to answer. I understand. I understand you.

But transparency is the name of the game. We Jewish educators are here to meet the needs of all of our students on their Jewish educational journey. And we want it. And it helps to be equipped with all the tools to do so. What is this magical educational tool? Information.

So, on behalf of your children’s teachers, I ask a personal favor. Pick up the phone to reach or answer it when you see our names on the caller ID. Complete ALL optional questions marked with an asterisk on the registration form regarding learning needs. Bring an updated IEP and 504 for your child’s record to the school office.

Parents, it is said that “All Israel is responsible for one another” (Mishnah Sanhedrin). Together, parents and teachers, we take responsibility for educating our children in a Jewish way. Please fill out our educational toolkit with student information to help us get to know your child better.

Jennifer Saber is the Kesher Inclusion Specialist and Teen Philanthropy Coordinator for the Jewish Federation of Milwaukee’s Coalition for Jewish Learning. She also holds the position of Inclusive Education Coordinator, North America, Shutaf Inclusion Programs in Jerusalem. Contact Jennifer if you are interested in Jewish educational support (there is no charge) for your child at [email protected]

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