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How To Help Kids Have Positive School Year

August 25, 2018

As public schools across the commonwealth begin classes this fall, we are reminded that our tax dollars make education possible and that we are all stakeholders in the educational system regardless of whether we have children enrolled. It also becomes more and more apparent that the quality of public education is dependent of factors beyond tax dollars — and even beyond district operations. Parents’ and families’ positive involvement and participation in education also influence a student’s experience. Parents and families can practice simple, positive strategies to advocate and support their child’s education. For example: ■ Review your child’s class schedule and prepare him for the type and level of courses scheduled. Prepare your child for the “pace” of the school day, which will vary widely based on grade and school district. ■ If you anticipate your child needing a tutor for some subject or even one segment of class, make sure you know who the tutors are, when they are available and how your child can access them. ■ If your child is an athlete and needs to miss class for school-sanctioned athletic reasons, ensure that he or she develops a good relationship with teachers and proactively requests assignments. ■ Check the bus schedules to make sure that your child gets to the school in time for breakfast and/or classes. ■ If the student’s first language is not English, make sure that ESL or other services are provided as soon as possible, and prepare your child to ask for assistance. ■ Get a list of PTA/PTO meetings in advance of the school year so that you can arrange to attend each one-maybe even join the organization to help influence positive change. ■ Establish a strong mutual relationship with your child’s teachers and present yourself as a supportive advocate to echo classroom expectations. ■ Obtain a list of school board meeting dates and corresponding agendas so that if there is an issue related to your child’s experience, you can attend and be informed about what is happening and the rationale behind the decisions. ■ Familiarize yourself with the district’s website and school portal for easy access to your child’s grades and progress. Do not hesitate to follow up with teachers to have a positive discussion with them. ■ Know and believe that the school personnel genuinely want to help your child succeed. Approaching a principal, teacher or school counselor positively with the idea of helping your child is always the best approach. These 10 simple strategies can help parents and families make the most of their child’s educational experience. Make this school year a healthy and successful one for you, the district, and most of all, your child.