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Tips for the New School Year

In a couple weeks, many students will be heading back to the classroom. Beginning a new school year can cause unsettling emotions for students if they are switching schools, starting a new grade level or have academic concerns. Preparing students beforehand to eliminate as many elements of surprise or the unknown is a key to help them be happy and positive about beginning the school year--regardless of their age. Here are some tips to help make an easier transition for your child’s New School Year:

1. Review Updated Policies
It is important for students and parents to review the school’s handbook before any new year begins to become aware of any changes in attendance, grading or new policies. For example, if a student has to miss several days due to medical issues, parents will want to know the appropriate documentation that needs to be submitted to the school district. It also can help to know the make-up policy for any days students may have to miss. It is critical to review any changes regarding the school’s grading scale such as the weight of comprehensive, honor, and advanced placement courses.

2. Establish Time Management
Students should establish some form of time management during the school year. It can help if they come up with a daily scheduled time to do their homework and prepare for tests. Students may want to use a calendar or a planner to keep organized and remind themselves of different deadlines on a weekly basis. Tech savvy teens can utilize their smart phones to set alerts and reminders for assignments. If they practice good time management, they will be better prepared to achieve short and long-term goals. Students also may want to use flash cards for definitions and make sure to review their notes after every class.

3. Know Your Teachers
Students will want to know the teachers for each of courses they may have throughout the year. If they can attend any open houses or back to school events with their parents, it will help to establish a strong relationship with administration and staff. It is vital for parents to ask the teachers how they prefer to be contacted. Is it through email, phone, or scheduling a conference through the main office? They also may want to ask what time is usually good to contact the staff. This way if a teacher needs to be reached, parents know the appropriate method to ask their questions.

4. Seek A Balance
During the school year, students sometimes like to participate in extra-curricular activities such as sports, band, clubs, and organizations. It is important for them to seek a balance between academics and after school programs, so they don’t fall behind in school. Parents will want to keep an eye on their child’s progress in school to see if grades are slipping. Typically, parents and students can keep track of grades on a weekly basis through the school’s online gradebook

5. Ask for Help
Parents may want to encourage their children to ask for help when they are struggling with assignments and projects. If students allow their pride to get in the way, it could result in poor homework grades and possibly failing the course for a marking period or even the year. Students will want to attend any office hours or help sessions the teachers offer in case they are struggling with the material. They will want to begin the year with a strong foundation of their courses, so they can continue to build upon new concepts as the school year progresses

Good Luck in the 2015-2016 School Year!