In the first part of our “Making this your child’s best year yet!” series, we discussed the importance of using the principles of Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) to establish a strong, secure relational foundation moving into the new school year. In part two of the series, we focus on how to use those same principles to form strong, meaningful, collaborative relationships with school staff to work together towards jointly-written goals which take into account the needs and desires of both the teachers, parents and student.

The principles of RDI® apply across contexts and situations and provide helpful tools for building relationships from the ground up. An RDI® consultant can work to add to the richness of the educational team by providing teachers with information that will help them establish and strengthen their relationship with their students. When home and school collaborate together, the student has the benefit of accessing similar supports in home and school and is given the appropriate level of challenge to help them grow and progress in the best way possible.

Step 1: Establish and Strengthen Relationships

Spend time building rapport with your child’s school team. Take time to get to know each team member and their strengths and expertise. Value each member for their work and share those positive feelings with them. Taking the time to strengthen these relationships will prove invaluable to you as you find that their connection to you leads to their ability to have a stronger connection to, and better outcomes for, your child.

Step 2: Work Collaboratively

Research shows that maintaining a collaborative home/school team proves to be significantly more successful in improving positive outcomes for students than when home and school work independently of one another. Be a part of the goal setting for the year and make sure that your values and principles are represented in the plan. By educating your team on the value of RDI®, you can reinforce the concepts you have introduced at home. Be open to the work and ideas of others as well, and you may see that as each team member adds their thoughts, you are left with an insightful and comprehensive plan that is acceptable to all parties.

Step 3: Set clear and consistent goals

Work with the school team to develop goals that are clear. Each person on the team should understand how to support your child in their desire to be successful in their goals. Additionally, team members can make goals for themselves. For example, a parent may set a goal that she connects with a member of the team at least once per month to stay in the loop and strengthen relationships.  Deciding on a goal for mastery for each goal helps members to more clearly see and celebrate progress as it occurs.

Step 4: Celebrate accomplishments and reflect

Everyone loves to feel appreciated. Even if your team may be struggling, taking the time to acknowledge strengths and effort can make a big difference. People are more motivated to be helpful when they feel like their efforts do not go unnoticed, and taking the time to reflect upon successes not only helps teachers and staff feel appreciated, but it provides them with valuable information as they move forward in their work.

By working with your school team to start your year off with a few simple relationship-building activities, you can begin to form bonds that will serve you and your child throughout the year and will ensure that your team works collaboratively towards your child’s increased growth and success.

For more information on how an RDI® consultant can collaborate with you and your child’s school team, please contact us at (858) 689-2027 or at to learn more.

-Amber Sobrio-Ritter