Meeting your girl’s teacher is a big deal—your girl will be spending a lot of time with this person, and what they say will make a big impact on her in the months, and possibly even years, to come.
But this year’s teacher isn’t the only person you should get to know during the school year. You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? Turns out, it takes a whole school of caring adults to support your girl, and the more of them you know, the more you and she can benefit from the year ahead!
Here’s your guide to the six people you might want to win over in the next few weeks.
- The Front Office Manager
The principal is the one with the big office and the shiny desk, but at almost every school, the person who keeps the trains running and truly knows what’s what is the front office manager—and having a good relationship with her can make your life about a thousand times easier when it comes to anything from replacing a lost permission slip to getting access to special support your girl might need. The front office manager has a lot of power, but she’s also got a lot of weight on her shoulders. Being the calm, patient parent in a room full of exasperated moms and dads will go a long way. A plate of cookies at the holidays can’t hurt, either!
- The Vice Principal
Of course you’d never think of your girl as a troublemaker, but everybody messes up sometimes. If she’s ever involved in a disciplinary situation, chances are she and you will be head to head with the vice principal. Standing with your daughter will be a lot easier if the person in charge already knows you and isn’t seeing your face for the first time. A little goodwill could make a big difference here.
- The Cafeteria Manager
Kids are smarter than most people give them credit for, which is why most bullying takes place at lunch, away from the teacher’s watchful eyes. But that doesn’t mean no one’s paying attention—in fact, cafeteria workers are often the eyes and ears who know what’s really going on when the new kid has no one to sit with or when there’s drama between different sets of kids. We’re in no way suggesting that you crash your girl’s lunch period, but catching the food services manager before or after their shift to introduce yourself could open up a whole new world.
- The PTA President
Tired of the annual pancake breakfast fundraiser, and hoping to switch it up with something more exciting? Wishing the school talent show could be after school or on a weekend instead of smack in the middle of the workday? The PTA president is your best bet for all of the above. Even if you can’t make it to regular PTA meetings, reach out to see if there are ways you can help make a positive change in the school’s community. They’ll be a lot more likely to adopt your pet project half way through the year if you’ve been a helpful presence since day one.
- The School Nurse
Whether your girl needs to have special medication kept at school or is typically in perfect health, you never know when she might skin her knee on the playground or suddenly come down with a case of it’s-test-day-so-my-tummy-hurts syndrome. Plus, the school nurse is the one who often conducts screenings for visual and hearing impairments, which, if undiagnosed, could affect your girl's grades. In short, the school nurse is an invaluable resource and will be your girl’s ally in case her stomach or her ankle goes sideways. You want this person on your team.
- Another Parent from Her Class
Think of it this way: when your girl is insisting for the third night in a row that there was no homework, you’ll want another grown-up you can text immediately to compare notes with. Bonus? You’ll have someone cool to sit with at the annual holiday concert and might even get a carpool buddy out of the bargain. Win-win!