Preparing for a Successful School Year
Preparing for a Successful School Year

August 8, 2023

Preparing for a Successful School Year

The start of the school year is on the horizon, and with it comes the time to begin preparing students for their return to the classroom. Students and families have very diverse needs and expectations during this time, from early learners entering preschool and Kindergarten to seniors in high school who may need to begin planning for their futures after graduation. This can quickly become overwhelming, so CTA is here to provide some tips to make preparing for the school year easier, keeping those diverse needs in mind.
  1. Find a Routine: One essential for all families, regardless of the age of their students, is to find a routine that works for everyone. Though this routine may change as the school year progresses, families can start preparing their students for the anticipated schedule a few weeks before the year begins. Waking up and getting ready for the day closer to school time and adding extracurriculars to the family calendar are small ways to integrate a new school routine into daily life. Beginning this work early can also reveal parts of a routine that are hard for a family. Embrace your mistakes and find ways to have fun while problem-solving. Include the students in conversations about their routines and challenge them to participate in age-appropriate responsibilities. Turning early-morning chaos into an opportunity for teamwork can encourage constructive uses of individuality and reveal how fulfilling it is to help each other as a family. 
  2. Establish Connections Early: All schools have different cultures, and when selecting your child’s best-fit school, it’s important to ensure that the teachers and administrators there will accommodate your family’s needs. If your child is entering a new building, see if you can find time to tour it and talk to school leaders about their methods and values. Email teachers before the first day of classes to introduce yourself and build an understanding of their expectations. Not only will this help soothe back-to-school anxieties, but it will establish a working relationship between you and your child’s educators that will be long-lasting. In the future, if unforeseen problems arise, you can feel empowered as a parent/caregiver to reach out to the school and return to those expectations set out at the start of the year.
  3. Introduce Self-Advocacy: Schools are imperfect, and sometimes the classroom can introduce difficult and unique challenges to children of any age. One way to combat anxieties around the beginning of the school year and entering a new space is to lean into discomfort and begin conversations about resilience and self-respect. Depending on age and household values, find ways to teach your child about what is and isn’t okay at school and how they can speak up for themselves if classmates and adults were to cross boundaries or treat your child in a way that feels unkind. It is never too early to teach empowerment and advocacy, whether the simple “Golden Rule” or more serious pursuits of College and beyond.
Back-to-school stress is difficult for any family to handle. While these ideas may not remove those challenges, they can introduce value-driven practices to make everyone’s return to the classroom more fun and fulfilling. The Cleveland Transformation Alliance offers other tips, tricks, and resources on our Family Resource Corner.  Use it as a resource throughout the school year!  CTA would like to wish you a successful start to the school year, and we are here to support families in achieving that in every way we can.

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