Ep. 146: How Parents and Educators Can Collaborate to Help Students Thrive with Shelley Lawrence

Aug 15, 2023 | 0 comments

For many families, it is hard to hear that your child has been struggling in school. Some parents may already know or have a feeling their child is struggling.  They have even received assessment results, only to feel worried about the negative stigma or sharing that information with their school. Today, we are re-airing a discussion about the importance of collaboration between parents, families, and educators.

Today’s guest is Shelley Lawrence and she comes to us with two decades worth of experience as a school administrator. In this episode, her experience shines and she shares her knowledge of how evaluations are used in schools, what to expect after an evaluation is completed, and she really drives home the need for developing a team. Feeling worried is absolutely a normal reaction, but communicating the needs of your child to schools and educators can make a world of difference in their educational progress.


Show Notes:

[2:03] – The parent/educator relationship is so important.

[4:36] – It’s not about a diagnosis. The purpose is to better understand why a child is struggling.

[6:24] – Shelley shares a story of a student she worked with and demonstrates how the teachers’ knowledge of weaknesses helped him.

[7:56] – Phrasing this information in a certain way can bolster student confidence. 

[8:45] – Strengths and weaknesses are harder to determine in some students.

[9:56] – As an administrator, Shelley has found that many parents are worried about the negative stigma of having an IEP or 504 plan.

[11:40] – When an evaluation is recommended, Shelley explains that many parents are worried about going through with it.

[13:31] – It is normal to feel worried, but educators can rephrase the need for an evaluation.

[14:47] – Every family Dr. Wilson and Shelley have worked with do not regret the assessment process and getting their child the support they need.

[17:29] – After completing an evaluation, it is important to break it down based on priorities.

[18:51] – Everyone needs to be working together, including the parents and teachers.

[20:43] – Some parents are also concerned about making more work for teachers, but teachers want and need to know how to help their students.

[22:20] – What should parents expect from the school after an evaluation?

[25:01] – Look beyond the IEP goals. Parent and teacher observations are markers of progress as well.

[27:50] – Sometimes progress is very slow. Different interventions can be implemented.

[29:20] – The point is to make sure the child is learning rather than spinning their wheels.

[32:20] – Emphasizing that it is a team that helps the child can make things more impactful for parents and educators.


About Our Guest:

As an Independent School administrator for two decades, Shelley Lawrence had the unique experience of working with families of students who were striving to succeed in school. She is adamant in her belief that, with the proper supports in place, all children can succeed in school. Shelley brings her passion for children, her strong connections with outside providers in the community, her keen observation and listening skills and her understanding of the complexities of learning, to help families navigate the school journey with their child. In addition, Shelley is a trained advocate who can help families navigate the IEP process.


Connect with Shelley Lawrence:

Links and Related Resources:


The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.