Back To School 2016: What Parents Need To Know

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Welcome back! Yes, another school year is here. Here are a few tips for parents to make a smooth transition from summer fun to meaningful learning for students:

Before the school year starts:

  • Establish the school routine two weeks prior to the opening of the school year. Your child should go to bed at a set time to ensure they will get an adequate amount of sleep. You want your child to be awake in order to receive a quality education when school begins.
  • Obtain a school supply list to purchase supplies. If the school has uniforms, obtain a copy of the uniform policy.
  • Make sure all immunizations are up to date and take your child to the eye doctor, dentist, and physician for examinations.
  • Attend the open house to meet your child’s teacher. If you need to discuss important information with the teacher about your child, set up a time to meet. Establish a form of weekly communication with the teacher such as email, text, homework agenda, or phone call to check on the progress of your child’s academics and behavior. Do not wait for the report card to come home to find out about your child’s progress. Communication begins day one and should be consistent throughout the school year.
  • If your child has any food allergies let the teacher know during open house. Ask for a school menu to see which days your child may have to bring their lunch.
  • Make sure the school has the correct phone numbers to contact you. One of the greatest fears of a principal is for something to happen to a student and the school cannot contact the parent because of incorrect phone numbers on file.
  • Fill out all paperwork that your child brings home on the first day of school and return it to the school immediately.

Once the school year begins:

  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast each morning. It is hard to focus and learn when you are hungry.
  • Make sure your child is on time each day for school. When your child is late, he/she is missing valuable instructional time. Every minute counts and you want your child to learn and perform well on the various tests that will be administered.
  • Discuss your expectations about school with your child and the importance of obtaining a quality education. Your child also has a responsibility in obtaining their education. Encourage your child to do their best in academics and behavior. Maintain a positive attitude when speaking about school.
  • Create a calendar and place it in a centralized location. This is an excellent tool for time management and the organization of school and other family events.
  • Do not only show up to the school when you are upset. It is imperative that you do not let your child see you argue with the teacher or school staff members. The relationship between school and home should be positive. Your child needs to know that you will communicate with the teacher on a consistent basis.
  • Designate a quiet area in your home where your child can do homework. Allow your child to do the homework on their own.
  • Your child should read for at least 30 minutes each night. It is a good practice to take your child to the library and get into the routine of reading.
  • Attend parent nights, awards day ceremonies, PTA/PTO meetings, parent workshops, and other scheduled school events. Your attendance shows support of the school and your child’s education. Parent nights help you to learn more about what your child is learning and strategies are taught so that you can help your child with their work.
  • Volunteer to become a testing proctor, chaperone for a field trip, run a station at field day, become a classroom mom, and join the PTA/PTO.
  • Ask your child about their school day. It is important for your child to know that you have a vested interest in their education.
  • If there are any issues or concerns, contact the school immediately to set up a conference. Do not let situations fester. Discuss them early in order so that you can nip any problems in the bud and set up interventions.

dr-shanessa-fennerDr. Shanessa Fenner is an elementary school principal, writer, TV host, and radio personality.

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