Welcome back to what we hope will be another great school year. I like to look at the beginning of a school year as an opportunity to get a new start, to set new goals, and for some students finish out their high school career in a strong fashion. One thing that I am sure of is that if a student puts in the effort, communicates with their teachers, asks questions, and “jumps through the hoops,” as I call it, they can be extremely successful. If the student breaks the chain, things can become a slippery slope. Not that the student can’t pause and reset, but just sticking to a game plan will ensure that success. I’ve seen it happen for years and years, and the formula does work. Does it mean that everyone will be a straight “A” student and get all of the answers correct 100% of the time? Of course not. But the effort, that sustained effort, will make school a positive experience for the student and prepare them for the next step in life, whatever that may be.
For parents the same thing may occur. A new school year can mean getting off to a good start with your child’s study habits, responsibilities like bringing books, laptops, and materials home, and checking for child’s progress on-line or with a simple e-mail to an instructor. Ask your child each night if they have homework to be completed. Ask to see it. Eventually you won’t need to. There should be no surprises when it comes to a child’s grade, or if they turned in an assignment, how they did on a test, etc. You can look online every day. A teacher will input grades as soon as possible, but of course sometimes it takes a little time to get things graded. Don’t wait for your child to get into a hole that is hard to get out of. I know that my own children came in early or popped in to see a teacher after school to get clarification on an assignment, and individual question, or just a quick review of a math method, etc. Students must learn to be self-advocates, ask questions when they don’t understand, and pay attention to instructions. Keep an assignment book or keep it on their phone or laptop. Teachers will provide the tools, and children should know that it’s OK to do review or read ahead if they don’t have a specific assignment due the next day. Procrastination can be a very bad thing.
Involvement in school activities, or out of school activities, is linked to school success, as well. Those students who participate in activities traditionally do much better academically than those who do not. Kids, however, do not have to do everything! Being involved teaches other skills, like time management, teamwork, compassion and empathy for others, and can just be really fun. There is something for everyone. You don’t have to be a “star” to benefit from an activity. There are many roles to play and one can benefit from each role. It looks great on your resume your senior year when you are applying for college admission and scholarships. It’s great for future employers and military recruiters, too. Do more than just the minimum. That’s how you get ahead. We want all of our children to end up being lifelong learners, good citizens, and positive contributors to our society. Developing good habits now is the time. Here’s to a great 2018-2019 school year!
R. Todd Porter-Superintendent