1. Communication with school personnel is the key. When there is a remarriage, inform the administrator, teachers and counselor right away. Check registration cards to make sure addresses, phone numbers, cell phone numbers and email addresses are current. Keep in regular touch with your child's teachers. Attend Open House, Back to School Night to acquaint yourself with the school personnel.
2. Ask teachers or school counselor if there are groups for children in stepfamiles. If your school doesn't have a group, ask the school counselor to consider forming one.
3. Ask about stepfamily classes through Parent Education or Family education classes.
4. If there are unique/and/or unusual custody arrangements, provide the school with a copy of the custody arrangement for the child's cumulative folder. If there is joint custody, ask the school to send progress reports, newsletters, report cards and other school news to both families. Providing teachers with self-addressed, stamped envelopes will help school personnel keep in touch with you.
5. Make sure the stepparent's name is also on the school registration form with work, cell and pager numbers. It helps if the biological parent writes a letter to the school giving permission for the stepparent to pick up the children.
6. When biological parents are absolutely unable to meet together for parent/teacher conferences, ask for two separate conferences.
7. Nurturing stepparents can be an important support system for stepchildren, and often gladly assist with homework and other activities; (ie) having lunch with stepchildren and volunteering in the classroom.
8. Join the Parent-Teacher Association and become involved in supporting school activities with children and stepchildren.
9. Develop a regular study routine where parents and stepparents discuss daily assignments and the school day with children. If possible, have the same consistent homework routine in both families.
10. If stepfamily members discover insensitive attitudes and language about stepfamilies in the school setting, "educate" the educators! This is the perfect opportunity to provide information and education to school personnel. Call the Stepfamily Association of Idaho for brochures, etc, (208-322-2908), or call the Stepfamily Association of America (1-800-735-0329) for assistance.