Teacher Interview
- Parent Involvement -

I interviewed the Resource Teacher at Parker Elementary, Lonna Hertel.  She has been teaching a total of almost 10 years, with 5 of those years being in Parker.
In many of the courses I have taken, we have discussed the importance of parents being involved in their child's education.  As a student studying Special Education, I wanted to hear first hand how Mrs. Hertel connects with parents and what she does to keep them involved.


Interview Questions
Do you have a classroom website?
     "Yes I do.
 Right now, it does not have as much information as I'd like.  One day I hope to include more resources for parents."  http://lh109.k12.sd.us/

Do you use email to communicate with parents of the students as a whole?  

     "I do use email to communicate with individual parents, but I would like to use it more to communicate with all parents.  As the resource teacher, many of my emails need to be individualized."

Do you send home printed classroom communications?

     "I do not send home printed classroom communications.  I am required to send home special education information for the students' Individualized Education Plans (IEP)."


Do you use a digital camera in your classroom as part of the communication or anything else?

     "I have used a digital camera to take pictures of events that go on in my classroom.  I like to the parents to see them."

Are parents or community members encouraged to volunteer in your school and your classroom?

    "Yes!  Parents are always welcome in our school and we encourage that they do so.  Not only in my classroom, but any classroom."


Are parents or community members involved in daily activities in your classroom, i.e. correcting, supervising, field trips, general classroom help?

     "I do not currently have any parents or community members involved in daily activities in my classroom.  I have before and enjoy having extra hands around."

Most challenging thing about working with parents?

      "For me, as the special education teacher, contacting parents to attend IEP meetings and setting up times that work for them is challenging.  This is an area in which I wish more parents would use email.  The response time is so much quicker with email."


Most enjoyable thing in working with parents?

     "The input they can give about their child.  Also, the help they can provide their child to become better learners.  Majority of the time, we all want what's best for the child."

Is parent involvement increased or decreased since you began teaching?

      "I would almost have to say both.  Parents are involved in certain things more than others.  For me, I feel it is a lot more difficult to get a parent to come in and attend an IEP meeting in the past few years."


Lastly, Demographics grade level or subject taught number of years taught number of students taught each day.

"I teach K-6 Special Education - taught 10 years total, 5 years at current position - on average, 10-12 students per day."


Classroom Website


Mrs. Hertel's website is very basic.  It contains information about herself, contact information and links to the Parker School District website and Cornbelt Website.  On a daily basis, Mrs. Hertel does not have many students and she says many of her parents do not use internet often.  She would like to add more to her website eventually because she feels the internet is a great resource. 


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