Six Steps for School Success
Days before school starts, many students already know what they're going to wear on the first day, parents are double-checking supply lists to make sure their child has everything he or she will need and are preparing for that first morning when lunches need to be packed and students out the door in time for the bus.
But what should parents do once the first day is done? There are six steps parents and families can take to help students be successful throughout the school year.
First, establish a daily family routine. Schedules get busy once school starts, but it's important to set aside time for studying, a family dinner, chores and going to bed. A routine helps parents keep that schedule in order, and ensures students get a good night sleep before starting the next day.
Communication with Teachers
Second, parents should plan to have frequent conversations with their child's teacher. When parents and teachers communicate regularly, and not only when there is an issue, it allows everyone involved to be clear on expectations, stop potential problems early and ultimately increases student success.
Next, look for opportunities to be involved in the child's education. Many parents have jobs and other obligations that keep them from physically attending school functions, but there are other ways to get involved and support their student. The best resource for Guilford County School parents is the Guilford Parent Academy, which provides online resources for parents to help their children succeed in school, holds workshops for parents and offers additional opportunities to get involved.
Parents should also make an effort to attend school-sponsored meetings and informational sessions to stay updated on what is happening in the school. If a parent can't attend the meeting, they should call the school and request any handouts so they have the information.
Parents should encourage reading, writing and discussions among family members in their home. Research shows that 20 minutes of time spent reading gives students the maximum benefit of increasing vocabulary and strengthening overall literacy. Studies also show that students who read at least 20 minutes a day demonstrate better test scores in all subjects, not just reading and English.
Monitor out-of-school activities. What a child does outside of school is just as important as what he or she does inside school, so parents should set limits on how much time their child spends watching TV, check-up on students when parents aren't home and arrange for after-school activities or supervised care until a parent is back at home.
Finally, parents should work with their children on setting realistic expectations for achievement. By talking to a student and their teacher at the beginning of the year, and setting goals based on their age and maturity, students know what is expected of them and can work toward achieving those goals. Also, be sure to celebrate their successes so they are encouraged to continue raising the bar.
By taking these six simple steps and working side-by-side with teachers and administrators, parents can give their children a leg-up in the climb to success.
Lindsay Whitley is the Director of Guilford Parent Academy. For more information, call 279-4924 or visit the GPA online.