Back to School!
Yes, it’s time to head back to school. Bittersweet for students, and possibly a celebration for parents! ☺
As a school administrator and former band director, I’ve had the privilege of sharing conversations with many stakeholders (students, teachers, parents, staff members, business leaders, district officials, etc.) within the school community over the past twenty years. No matter the purpose of the conversation, the bottom line is always this – we are all here for the students and want them to succeed!
Parents often ask me how they can be more supportive to their high school student or even more involved in their child’s school experience. Here are some “tried and true tips” to that I share and offer to you as you send your student back to school.
Review your student’s course schedule and talk through what their school day will look like. Where does the student have angst or worry? What excites them? Talk about it and continue to discuss as the year progresses.
Celebrate the beginning of another school year – parents/adults have the power to create special moments, and this is an opportunity to celebrate your student as they embark into this school year!
Encourage your student to get involved in their school above and beyond the academic courses. Students who are involved in co-curricular/extra-curricular activities develop leadership and teamwork skills to use for a lifetime! And bonus…..they get to be part of something so much bigger than themselves. It’s a beautiful thing to see your student playing on a team, singing in the choir, serving the community with NHS, or developing projects with their club. When a student finds “their people” in the school, their self-confidence will burst forth and the positive outcomes can be seen in the academic side of things as well.
Ask questions when you have them but give educators time to respond. They are juggling all of their students at school and life beyond.
Consider the best way to communicate for any given circumstance. What age is your child? Would this be the opportunity for them to begin handling their conversations and questions?
If you have concern after your child has talked to a teacher, reach out to the teacher for clarification, seeking to understand. Often times, teachers become defensive because they weren’t brought into the conversation until after the school administrator was notified. Talk to the teacher first, it’s worth it!
Your student’s guidance counselor is a resource! They work on behalf of students for SO many things related to academics, graduation, mental health, and much more.
Get involved with your student’s activities. Be in the crowd cheering them on, clapping for them, and hugging them when it’s over! They may say that they don’t want you there, but they really are glad you’re there. I’ve seen this so many times as a band director and school administrator. The joy for students and parents sharing in these activities is immeasurable.
Be a band mom, a football dad, a volleyball mom, a cheer parent………do it! The teams/groups need parent support, and your child will benefit from your service. PLUS, the memories you make will be priceless. What a joy it was for me to see marching band students hugging their parents after a competition, as the parent handed them their supper meal or loaded their instrument into the equipment trailer.
Take a moment to read the email messages from the school. It’s worth it, because that’s where the school leaders can convey what has happened, what needs to happen, or share celebrations that you don’t want to miss.
“Like” your school’s social media – it’s often times the place where victories are celebrated, information is shared, and you may even get to see pictures of your student!
Celebrate your student’s successes (small and large) throughout the year. Your encouragement and support mean so much, even when your student doesn’t say so. Yes, the years go fast but the days are long, but you are a HUGE source of strength and encouragement for your student.
May this school year be full of great success!