This is a guest post by Cindy Golden from Cindy is a Special Education Supervisor with the Cherokee County, Georgia School District. She has been in special education for the last 26 years. Cindy was employed as a Psychologist, serving several schools K-12. She also served several years as the Psychologist in a psychoeducational center which served students with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities in addition to Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Cindy is the author of a popular blog: which focuses on the education and parenting of students with autism. Cindy also has a book on autism that should be published soon.

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Remember that line? Well, if you have walked into today's classrooms, you might very well be echoing that sentiment. Things are not the same as when you grew up. Still, in order to help your child be successful in school, you have to understand today's classroom.

In order to understand today's classroom, you have to be informed and be involved.

Here's what you need to do to be informed:

• Know the Standards

Teachers' plans are based on state standards and the students' standardized testing is, of course, also based on standards. Do you know the standards on which your child's academic day is based? There are ways to find these. You can contact your school district or your state's Department of Education website for a copy of these standards.

• Understand the Curriculum Map

Do you remember getting your new books at the beginning of the school year? As children, we would flip through the books, scanning the chapters and what we were going to study. The teacher's goal would be to complete the book by the end of the year - not before - but timed perfectly to the end of the year.

Well it isn't done that way anymore. Today, curriculum is based on standards and not the textbook. Teachers use a plan or a map to accomplish the standards, hence the name 'curriculum mapping'. Ask your child's teacher for a syllabus or plan for each subject for the year. It helps you to know what is coming up and when.

Now here's what you can do to get involved:

• Get a copy of the standards for your child's grade
• Create a calm, peaceful home area in which your child can do schoolwork
• Establish a routine
• Be available to assist your child with schoolwork
• Plan ahead with your child for upcoming projects and tests
• Don't do anything for your child that he or she is capable of doing
• Be in weekly contact with your child's teacher.
• If your school district has an online website that enables you to track your child's grades, learn how to use the website
• Get involved in your child's school