Day: February 14, 2017

Get More Out of Your School

The resources available at our schools vary greatly from district to district and state to state. The things I have here and the resources available to you might be completely different, but I wanted to talk about different ways to learn about and then utilize what you have within your own school.

The first thing to do is ASK. Ask your teacher. Ask the main office. Ask the librarian or the nurse. Ask the principal. If you are looking for a resource, start at the school. There might be tutors available for free or at a low cost for subjects you are struggling with. There may be extracurriculars you are not aware of. They may have ideas for before or after school care. There may be assistance programs you qualify for but the school keeps quiet to respect the families they assist. If you need more books to read, sometimes teachers or libraries will let you borrow extra materials. You won’t know about any of these things (or anything else) unless you ask. And if the school doesn’t know, the guidance counselor can usually find out for you.

Next, verify that you are receiving information. Make sure that contact form filled out at the beginning of the year still has the right information. This will allow the school to let you know about inclement weather or attendance, true, but it will also allow them to send you pertinent information like the school newsletter. Sometimes these newsletters are put on the school website, emailed to families, or printed and sent home. Emails tend to be the quickest way to let students and their families know about events as they come in at our school. The second fastest way is sending flyers home in backpacks. If you aren’t reading them, you never know what you might miss out on. Science fairs, fun family events, sports clubs, book fairs, tutoring sessions, PTA meetings. The list goes on and on. Our school also has an internet calendar that you can link to your existing online calendar. In this way, parents can see school activities right alongside their own activities on the calendar they are already using.

Lastly, be present at the school. The easiest way to find out what’s going on is to be there. Go to the parent/teacher conferences with your child or parent (depending on which one of you is reading this). Volunteer at yourschool for assemblies or other events. Join the PTA. Get involved in a club or on a sports team. We know that many parents work and maybe can’t go on a field trip, but may be able to bake cookies for the class party. Come in on career day and talk about what you do. If your school is hosting something as a fundraiser, attend. Give what you can. Many teachers end up using money out of their own pocket to buy supplies for their classrooms, so every little bit will help. And if you can’t pay the sports equipment fee, instrument rental, classroom supply fee, or whatever else, let someone know. There is always a solution. Trust me when I say that the teachers don’t want their students to go without, either. We will find a way to make it happen, but we can’t do that unless we know accommodations need to be made.

The more involved in your school you are, the more motivated you will be to do well there and the more support you will have to do so. There is never any shame in asking for help.We will all need help with something at some point!