Greetings, parents! I am honored to represent Volusia County as the 2025 Teacher of the Year! In the spirit of shared learning and growth, I am thrilled to share with you five valuable tips for parents from the perspective of an educator deeply committed to fostering academic success and a love for learning. These little tidbits aim to create a collaborative and supportive environment between teachers and parents, ultimately benefiting your child’s educational journey.

  1. Be Involved in Your Child’s Education: We are starting the list off strong! A collaborative approach between home and school contributes to a positive and effective educational experience for your child! Attend parent-teacher conferences, volunteer for school events (we are so appreciative of any support we can get!) and participate in the parent-teacher association (PTA) and/or school advisory committee (SAC). We truly value your input and want you to love your school!

  2. Foster a Growth Mindset: We encourage you to praise your child’s efforts and perseverance rather than praising innate abilities. Encourage the use of positive self-talk, emphasizing the belief that intelligence and skills can be developed through dedication and hard work. Upon learning new skills or concepts, students will not always get it at first. This is why I’ve always told my students about the acronym FAIL…First Attempt In Learning. We are at school to grow together

  3. Open Communication Channels: Please reach out to us! Establishing a partnership where concerns and achievements are shared helps in addressing issues promptly. There is no such thing as too much communication. Teachers have various means of preferred communication. If you can’t reach your teacher(s), please contact your school’s office. I recommend following your child’s school and Volusia County Schools on social media platforms to also help keep you up to date. You are our stakeholders…we are here for you!

  1. Set Realistic Expectations: Set realistic expectations for your child. Every child is unique, and it’s important to celebrate individual strengths and progress. By acknowledging your child’s distinctive qualities, you can create a supportive environment that encourages learning, self-discovery, and a positive attitude toward challenges. At the age of 5, my son was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD). He had an individual education plan (IEP) from 1st through 8th grade. I knew that his academic grades would look different from those of his siblings. We had to set realistic expectations based on his capabilities to make sure we promoted a lifelong love of learning.

  2. Monitor and Celebrate Progress: Regularly monitor your child’s academic progress and celebrate milestones and achievements. Recognizing their efforts boosts confidence and motivation. Be sure to regularly check Parent Portal to review report cards, assignments and assessments. By staying up to date, you can communicate with your teacher(s) to gain insights into their strengths and areas that may need additional attention.

Emily Fagerstrom, the math instructional coach at Champion Elementary, has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to education. With 11 years of dedication to Volusia County Schools, Emily’s impact is truly commendable.