This Monday is the first day of school for thousands of Palm Beach County students, and the final high school opening day for those in the Class of 2017.
Teachers, support staff and administrators across the School District of Palm Beach County returned this past week to take part in the planning process, complete with attending faculty meetings, meeting new colleagues and studying up on adjustments to individual school protocols. In some cases, educators are adjusting to new curricular roles or assignments, or have transferred from a different school to replace a recent retiree. Some are even just starting out in the world of teaching.
And yet, in many ways, it’s “déjà vu all over again.”
Yes, everything old is new again in the world of education. Veteran teachers greet an entire squad of new students, hoping the previous year’s few problem children have been replaced by angels, and hoping the previous year’s many angels have been cloned into new bodies. Testing coordinators gear up for scheduling the multitude of high-stakes tests that will take place over the next nine months. Parents, fresh off of Florida’s tax-free school supply weekend, hope they’ve bought enough paper, writing utensils and other essentials for the upcoming year, knowing full well they’ll probably have to re-stock sooner than expected.
With all this as a backdrop, let’s focus on a few ways for parents to make life easier for students transitioning from the lazy-hazy days of summer break to the helter-skelter days of school.
First, help your children resume a good sleep schedule for the early-morning wake up for school. It may take a week — hopefully less — to reset your child’s’ inner clock following sleepy summer hours, so start immediately if you haven’t already. Don’t forget to leave time for healthy breakfasts. After all, it is the most important meal of the day (and there are plenty of studies to back this up).
Secondly, get to know your child’s teachers. Many educators upload grades online regularly, and can be contacted by e-mail with questions and concerns about grades and assignments. If you can exchange contact information early in the year, this may help you both deal with any issues that may arise.
Students hate homework, and many teachers loathe the tedious grading process, but it is a part of the educational world. Try to dedicate several hours at night to creating an environment where students can work on reading and writing assignments, factoring math equations and other education-important projects.
We also encourage parents to volunteer at their child’s school. There are plenty of opportunities for volunteering to take place, from assisting the high school marching band to chaperoning field trips to serving on a school advisory committee or parent-teacher association. If “education” was a business, the parents are those shareholders whose investment — their children — are the product they want to be a success. That means that all parties need to have a vested, active interest.
Welcome back, and may 2016-17 be an amazing school year!