|Listen to Renée read this article aloud.
What is my role as a Carroll parent? What can or should I do to support my child? I’m asked this question often, particularly among families new to our community.
I’m happy to provide a concrete answer.
Many families come to us from schools in which their children weren’t learning and may have felt crummy about themselves. When you raised the alarm bell, your voices went unheard. In response, maybe you became a vocal advocate, a tireless homework helper, a cheerleader, a steady ear for your child’s frustrations. Maybe you sat in silence and suffered, trying to understand your rights and options.
Now you’re at Carroll and, in many ways, the role we ask you to assume requires adopting some new and different—seemingly contradictory—habits. Some of these practices will sound unsettling, even risky. But stick to them, and you will be serving your child in their journey through Carroll in the best possible way.
Trust us—I appreciate how scary it feels for parents to place their trust in us—in our process and approach—especially when they and their child have been scarred by prior educational experiences. But I urge you to do just that. Trust that we are giving your child exactly what they need to grow and thrive. Carroll has successfully educated children with LBLDs for well over a half century. We have faith in our approach. You can, too.
Communicate with us—The more we know about your child and your family, the better we can partner to ensure a successful outcome. Parent-teacher conferences are just one opportunity for us to learn more about where you notice your child struggling at home, or how they are adjusting to a new learning plan we may have recommended.
Have patience—We go as fast as we can and as slow as we need to. Every child responds to new learning interventions differently. We don’t impose a timeline on progress.
Encourage reading—Homework should no longer be a battleground. You can leave that part to us. Instead, focus on nurturing a daily reading routine at home, whether that’s designated family reading time, you read aloud to your child, your child reads aloud, or your child listens to an audiobook.
Reinforce interests and skills outside of school—For children with dyslexia, the school day is taxing. Even at Carroll, the days are filled with productive struggle. During after-school hours, it’s important that they reset by practicing a skill or pursuing an interest that brings them confidence and joy.
Nurture social connection—Separating from an old school and friend group can be painful for kids, socially and emotionally. Help them to stay connected to their old friends while at the same time building new connections within the Carroll community. Our Parents’ Association and parent grade reps are tremendous assets, organizing activities and events to help ensure all our students feel engaged, accepted, and experience belonging.
Contribute to our culture of giving—Now that you can rest assured knowing that your children are in good hands at Carroll, we invite you to redirect your energy towards strengthening our school community. Whether through giving of your time, advocacy work, or philanthropy, together we can maximize our impact and best support your children.
Use the word dyslexia—Many schools prefer not to utter the word, so I recognize that it may feel jarring initially to arrive at Carroll, where we embrace it, celebrate it, and talk about dyslexia. We encourage you to do the same at home. Talk about it with your child, even explore your family history and discuss the experiences of others. October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month, but at Carroll, the conversation and awareness—the growth—occurs every single day, with each and every child.