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As one school year winds down, another school year looms on the horizon. It is never too early to begin to think about the upcoming year as a student, a parent, or a teacher.

Student placement is a critical decision that will greatly impact the learning and development of a student. Some schools encourage parent feedback with the process, while others may not. Teams of educators, teachers, and specialists work hard on balancing the needs of the students, staff, and facility. Usually, the ultimate decision in many school lies with the principal.

If you are considering asking for a specific teacher, here are a few tips.

1. Know your child. It is very important to understand the academic, social, and emotional needs of your child. Understanding your child’s strengths and weaknesses will be the most important factor in determining which teacher to request. (Even if you are new to a school district and do not know any teachers, your child’s learning style would be important information to share.) You will want to select the teaching and learning environment that will be fit your child’s learning style.

2. Know the school policy. Some schools will send home a letter or post information on the school website. It is very important that you read and understand the policy. Many schools ask for feedback in the following areas: learning style, social needs, emotional needs, and relationships with peers.

3. Speak with other parents who have participated in the process. To make a request it is important to understand the teacher choices and teaching styles. Find a trusted parent and ask for advice. Ask the parent to share the positive and negative learning experiences of his / her child.

4. Draft a letter or schedule a meeting. Once you have done all your homework, initiate the process of the request. If a letter is required, take some time to draft a letter, following the guidelines presented by your school. If a meeting is required, draft an outline of the important points you hope to discuss.

5. Support your child’s learning and the school’s decision. Whether your teacher request is honored or denied, it is your job to encourage and support your child throughout his schooling. Student placements are taken seriously by the staff at your child’s school. The staff wants to promote a positive learning environment for all students and there are many factors that go into scheduling. Approaching a school year with a positive attitude can make all the difference in the world.

Remember: A parent should be the most important teacher in a child’s life.