Grand Rapids teacher develops process that offers hope to families, teachers of struggling students

A four-step process developed by a Grand Rapids schoolteacher could be just the thing to assist students who are struggling in school, and to help their parents and teachers.

Beth Batts developed the process as a tool for her consulting firm, Leap 2 Success, after experiencing firsthand the difficulty students and parents had in articulating their needs – difficulty that often ended in frustration.

Batts works with families and teachers to help them communicate in ways each can understand. She assesses learning styles and helps families develop a learning environment in the home, a time for homework, and even who will be available to help and when.

"I listen to the family's story, figure out their frustration, their exhaustion," Batts says. "We sit down together and decide how to proceed, and I become their eyes and ears and arms and legs. I go to school and get the school's perception of the child. Then I can stand separate and look at the situation."

The four-step process involves:
  1. Connecting home, school and community – including providing families with community resources they need, such as support groups or tutoring help.
  2. Helping families learn the educational process and the roles of home, school and student within that process.
  3. Facilitating communication to bring educators and parents together as a team.
  4. Implementing an action plan for the family using community resources to meet each family member's needs.  

"I open the lines of connection, help the parent hear the education-ese," Batts says. "I let the teachers know where the parents stand -- the emotional outpouring can often block the parent's ability to articulate what's going on.

"Parents don't want to make their child feel different," she says. "But you know what? He already knows, so what are we going to do to help this kid have the best learning experience?"   

Source: Beth Batts, Leap 2 Success; Craig Clark, Clark Communications

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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