San Diego Family August Back to School Issue 2019

Page 18

Malia Jacobson

Back-to-School Basics: Tips to start elementary and middle school At the outset of a new school year, particularly when

kids level up to elementary, middle or high school, parents must prep children for a fresh academic year while simultaneously absorbing piles of new information themselves. Here’s what you need to know to start the school year strong at every stage.


What Parents Need to Know about ELEMENTARY SCHOOL


Get Involved Elementary school is an excellent time to plug in to parent involvement opportunities. According to nonprofit research center Child Trends, parent involvement in school activities and events has been on an upswing since 2016. Do your best to attend the school’s back-to-school night and first PTA/ PTO meeting — you’ll learn about events and activities that can enhance your child’s school experience. Bonus: You’ll start meeting other parents.

Undercover Volunteer When parents volunteer at school, students and teachers benefit. Parental involvement in school is linked to better grades, fewer behavior problems and increased teacher job satisfaction. You don’t need an open calendar to help at school — working parents, those with small children, and those who can’t spare an entire day for a field trip can still make an impact. Parents can help sort box tops, organize student folders, or prep supplies for classroom art projects from home. Contact your child’s teacher to find out what kind of support she needs. Don’t forget about “specialist” instructors: music, art or PE teachers and librarians may have volunteer needs, and usually have fewer offers for help.


18 • • August 2019

Get Organized and Prepared For brand-new elementary students (kindergarten and first grade) homework loads will likely be light. But it’s a great time to plan ahead for upper elementary grades, when homework