8.2 Scoring “I’m worried about what this means”


Scoring guide for worry

Here’s how it is scored:

    • High Acknowledges the empathetic opportunity directly and also asks a follow up question about the empathetic opportunity, affirms the parent, focuses on their partnership, legitimizes the concern or child’s behavior, offers support related to the concern, or self-discloses a similar challenge or experience.
      • Note 1: Direct acknowledgement can include asking about the opportunity, reassuring the parent, restating a key word from the concern, or connecting to the purpose (if relevant).
      • Note 2: Partnership includes collaborative statements that are somehow connected to what the parent was sharing and an explicit focus on being partners. Partnership does not include telling parent what to do, saying we will meet again; using “we” alone is not enough either. Legitimizes means normalizes like “This happens to so many kids,” and “I can understand why you would be worried.” Affirm includes thanking the parent for sharing the empathetic opportunity, complimenting a specific idea the parent shared, and complimenting the parent’s parenting.
      • Note 3: A combination of a question about the empathetic opportunity followed by listening and reassurance/ direct response to new content shared counts as high too.
    • Medium Acknowledges the empathetic opportunity directly, but does not follow up on the opportunity, or a high/low.
      • Note 1: Direct acknowledgement can include clarifying or probing questions about the opportunity, reassuring the parent, restating a key word from the concern, or connecting to the purpose (if relevant).
      • Note 2: Not following up on the opportunity includes ending after acknowledgement, or after acknowledgement asking a question about the child or something unrelated or pivoting to next steps for the plan.
      • Note 3: A high/low is where there is an attempt to reassure related to the emotional opportunity, support the parent, or to thank them for sharing the empathetic content (e.g., not for sharing an idea or their parenting, but for sharing their concern), but the acknowledgement is indirect (present but not explicit).
    • Low Does not directly or fully acknowledge empathetic opportunity.
      • Note: This includes ignoring what the parent said, asking a question about something unrelated to the emotional content shared, focusing exclusively on the child, or responding in a perfunctory fashion before moving on (Okay, I see, sure)


Now, let’s see what that looks like in practice!

If the participant says….is Katie social outside of school, does she hang out friends outside of school?

They would be scored…Low

Because… There is no direct acknowledgement of what the parent says. We can infer that the teacher is asking the question because of what the parent says– but the response has to be direct to be scored above a low.


If the participant says….Yeah, I’m not worried about her academics at all. I’m not really worried about her as a person. I think that she does really well, and she seems so I just want to make sure that she feels a part of the community. And, …Yeah, I think that it’s really helpful for students to have connections with their peers. It helps them feel welcome. It helps them learn better, because then they’re able to have conversations about the topi

They would be scored…Medium

Because… Here the teacher is trying to reassure the parent, but they are not both acknowledging the empathetic opportunity and following up. They are reassuring but the acknowledgement is indirect.


If the participant says….And I understand how you could be worried by that…So I, I can tell you that you don’t have anything to be worried about when it comes to her academics,

They would be scored…High

Because… Here the teacher is directly acknowledging what the parent said and then reassuring so this is scored as a high. The difference between this one and the last is in the acknowledgement and how direct it is.


If the participant says….I totally understand that. And I think I know that you care about your daughter and for her and I do too. And so, um, I think it’s, she’s, she’s gonna be fine and she’s gonna, we’re gonna figure out the best way to help her and I think like, the book club idea is such a great one to have her. Okay? interact with her peers around something that she really enjoys.

They would be scored…High

Because… This is a different way to acknowledge what the parent said, but the “I totally understand that,” is directly related to what the parent said and so this one has both an acknowledgement and a follow up through the reassurance and focus on the partnership between the parent and teacher.


If the participant says….Mm hmm. Your⁠—what are your what are your concerns specifically?..For sure. I understand your concerns Mr. Reed. I will say right now. I don’t think that any of those concerns are on anybody’s radar right now concerning Katie.

They would be scored…High

Because…One last high. This teacher is acknowledging through a question and then reassuring.


Now it’s your turn! Click on the quiz below to try this scoring out!