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The Academic Year: Set the Stage By Latasha Schraeder

The first day of school is quickly approaching! We’ve all purchased new school clothes, backpacks, and supplies. I’m hopeful your children are eager to get started. As a parent and educator, I am always excited about the limitless opportunities for growth that await us in the classroom! As the academic year begins it is time to set routines, set expectations, and build relationships.

Routine plays a significant role in creating an environment conducive to learning. Dedicate a time to review homework and practice basic math, reading fluency, and reading comprehension skills. I also strongly suggest creating a bedtime routine. For younger students, a routine could include reading a book together after a shower or bath. For older children, a routine might include removing electronics and a twenty-minute silent reading time before an established bedtime.

Setting and discussing behavior and academic expectations will set the tone for the year. This is extremely important. Have a conversation with your children about following behavior expectations at school to increase the amount of time they have to learn! Reassure them their best academic effort is enough. I think we focus too much on letter grades. The goal of school is to experience academic growth. If your student is experiencing continuous improvement, the grade is irrelevant. Don’t add the pressure of being an “A” student. Do not get caught up in grades!

Finally, the most important part of the academic year is relationship building! Build relationships with your children’s teachers and administrators. Take advantage of meet the teacher and open house nights at the beginning of the school year. If no formal meeting is planned, email or send a note to each teacher to introduce yourself and talk about your child’s strengths and what areas he or she may need support to be successful. For example, your note could read something similar to: “My son is a very good writer, but he struggles to comprehend reading passages. I find it helpful to have him summarize after reading each paragraph.”

Here we go! I wish you and your children a phenomenal year! Be your child’s fiercest advocate.