Bright News

Some helpful tips for making the school year a success

Students are returning to school, and the often-lazy days of summer will be replaced with the almost-always busy days of school.

Students will face busy schedules and stress as they deal with classes, homework, tests, sports, clubs, after-school events and even drama (uh, the emotional kind, not the performing arts version).

How can parents make the school year a success – or at least as much as possible – with better grades, more fun and, yes, less drama?

Tim Reid, Director of Pupil Services for the Nevada Joint Union High School District and a Bright Futures for Youth Board Member, offers some helpful tips on making the next school year a success.

What is the best thing that parents can do to make the school year a success? Or does it depend on the student and, to some extent, the grade?

The most important thing parents can do to make the school year a success is to provide consistent support and involvement in their child’s education. This includes establishing a routine, communicating with teachers, and showing interest in their child’s progress. While the specific approach may vary based on the student’s needs and grade level, parental engagement is universally beneficial.

Does success change from the first year of middle school and the senior year of high school?

Expectations and goals evolve for students at different grade levels. The definition of success may vary based on factors such as academic achievement, personal growth, extracurricular involvement, and college or career readiness. It is important for parents to understand these changing dynamics and support their child accordingly throughout their educational journey. The great part of this is students are open books and eager to learn and grow. Don’t be scared to let them follow one or a dozen passions.

What are some of the biggest challenges for students? Or does it depend on the student and grade?

The challenges students face can vary depending on the individual and their grade level. However, some common challenges include managing time effectively, dealing with academic pressures, adapting to new environments, maintaining focus and motivation, balancing extracurricular activities, and navigating social relationships. It is important for parents to be aware of these potential challenges and provide support and guidance to help their child overcome them.

How should parents deal with homework and ensuring their children hit the books, complete the assignments and still have time to be a kid?

First, establish a consistent homework routine and provide a quiet, organized study space. Encourage your child to break tasks into manageable chunks and prioritize assignments. Offer guidance and support without taking over the work. Teach time management skills and help them create a schedule that allows for breaks and recreation. Lastly, communicate with teachers to understand the workload and seek assistance when needed. But also encourage and help teach your students to be independent and try to encourage them to work at school when time is given and to engage in primary instruction. No better teacher than the teacher of the class.

Kids often have endless access to their smartphones and even video games during the summer. How do you change these habits during the school year?

Transitioning away from excessive smartphone and video game use can be done by gradually implementing new routines. Start by setting clear limits on screen time and communicate the importance of balancing technology with other activities. Encourage alternative interests such as reading, outdoor play, or creative hobbies. Establish specific times and tasks for device usage, like after completing homework or during designated breaks. Engage in open conversations about the benefits of limiting screen time and the importance of focusing on academics during the school year. By gradually shifting their habits, children can adapt to a healthier balance between technology and other activities.

How do you discuss expectations for the school year? What you expect from your students as they return to school, from academics to socially?

Discussing expectations for the school year with your child can be done through open and supportive conversations. Clearly communicate your academic and social expectations, emphasizing the importance of effort, responsibility, and respect. Encourage goal-setting and discuss the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Collaboratively establish specific academic and behavioral goals, and provide guidance on how to achieve them. Encourage your child to ask questions and express their own expectations and concerns. Regularly check in with them on their progress and offer support when needed. By fostering open communication and setting clear expectations, you can help your child navigate the school year successfully both academically and socially.

How do you discuss that changes sometimes happen over summer? For example, your bestie could become your frenemy?

Discussing the possibility of changes in friendships over the summer can be approached in a supportive manner. Encourage open communication with your child about their relationships and experiences. Explain that people and friendships can evolve over time. Emphasize the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, even if dynamics change. Encourage your child to be understanding and empathetic towards others who may be going through changes as well. Remind them that it is natural for friendships to shift, and that they can always seek out new positive connections. By promoting open dialogue and fostering resilience, you can help your child navigate potential changes in friendships with understanding and grace.