Parents and grandparents seeking expert guidance on educational issues are being encouraged by a school principals’ organization to call a toll-free hotline that will operate for three days later this month.

Questions, said June Million, a spokeswoman for the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of Elementary School Principals, will likely range broadly.

She expects some will deal with discipline, others with homework. Those are two of the top questions asked in the past.

The NAESP has been running the hotline program annually for the past 13 years. It’s held in conjunction with the group’s yearly convention. Its 14th hotline will run from Sunday through Tuesday. East Coast callers can speak to a principal, or school psychologist if that’s preferred, from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Million said the organization will attempt to match callers from Maine with principals from the state who will be attending the gathering in Anaheim, Calif.

People also can request that NAESP send them its free booklet, “Fears Through the Years: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Cope.”

The hotline, Million said, is intended to encourage parents and grandparents to quiz educators about any concerns they have regarding schools and educational programs. During the previous 13 years of the program, she said, questions have dealt with special education, school readiness, a growing emphasis on testing, learning difficulties and more.

“They’re all over the place,” Million said.

One caller last year wondered what steps could be taken to help an 18-month-old be better prepared for starting school, she noted.

Million said the hotline will probably handle about 1,000 calls during its three-day run. Besides signing up 150 principals to field questions, the organization also has enlisted school psychologists to offer specialized advice if it’s needed.

Spanish translators will be on hand if needed as well, she said.

Family Circle magazine is a co-sponsor of the hotline program.


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