Tips For Parents Starting The School Year Right

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Increased parental involvement provides the best foundation for a successful start to the school year.

“Back-to-school offers an opportunity for parents to get to know their children’s teachers and be involved in education year-round,” said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association. “To reach their full potential, students need parents to take an active role in their education. Parents should be their children’s ‘favorite teacher.'”

NEA recommends five easy ways for parents to start the school year off on the right foot:

* Meet the teachers. Tell teachers about your children’s interests and hobbies. Make a date to visit teachers’ classrooms; don’t wait for Back-to-School Night or parent-teacher conferences to open the lines of communication. Provide teachers with your phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

* Get to know all the school employees. Whether it’s the librarian, school counselor, nurse, cafeteria worker or bus driver, education support professionals generally know all of the students in the school, and their relationships with your child will continue from year to year as your child moves from one grade to the next.

* Join the PTA or other parent groups. As a group, participate in school events and see how you can help the school reach its goals.

* Check in daily with your children. Review what they learned in school, determine set times for homework and reserve time to read with them-even if it’s just for fun.

* Check the school’s Web site regularly. Make sure your children are learning what they need to know to meet the standards set for their grade level. Many schools offer class schedules and homework materials online for parents to view.

“There’s nothing like starting the school year off right,” said Weaver. “So go to the head of the class in your kids’ eyes, because learning doesn’t stop at the school doors.”

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