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Strategy #1: To educate parents about connections between parenting and learning...tune in to family life

Story:  Keith had worked hard to make sure each group was on task and that the history presentations would be ready for Thursday. As he was circulating the room to check in with each group one last time, he noticed that Celia was sitting off to the side with her head down so he approached her quietly. “Celia, what’s up?” he asked. Celia looked up at him with tears in her eyes, then lowered her head and replied, “Nothing’s up, and nothing matters. My part of the project isn’t finished. I’ve spent every night for the past three weeks listening to my parents argue and last night they decided to get a divorce.” When he met his mentor, Earl, the following morning, he explained, “Here I was, thinking I’d supported the kids in every way, but I forgot that they have lives outside of school that affect their learning too. How could I have known about this earlier? And even if I had, what could I have done to help Celia contribute to her group project?”

Talk about...

  • What are issues associated with family life that are likely to influence students’ progress in school?
  • How could Keith have learned about his students’ family lives?

The Learning about family life toolkit could help Keith and Earl explore what to do next.