To the agony of millions of students across the country, the school semester is fast approaching and that means it is time to get back in the routine of normalcy.
The beginning of the school semester is a week away for many students, and school officials from various districts are encouraging parents to prepare their children sooner rather than later in order to ensure a smooth transition from summer habits to school routines.
During summer months, adolescents and children frequently stay up until the wee hours of the morning, sleep in until midafternoon and replace the mental weight of studies with three months of fun and relaxation. However, as school quickly approaches parents should stress the importance of a conventional sleep schedule.
“Parents should be easing their students back into a school year sleep schedule a week before school starts,” said Amy Cmaidalka, counselor at Bay Colony Elementary in Dickinson Independent School District. “It is also important to have clear boundaries, meaning if their bedtime is 9 p.m., don’t let them say, ‘just five more minutes.’”
Cmaidalka advises parents to provide their children with alarm clocks in the bedroom so they can monitor the time themselves as well.
It is common for children to become pessimistic when referring to going back to school. But parents can talk about all the fun activities school will offer and the new friends they will meet in class.
Annette Scott, assistant superintendent for Galveston Independent School District, encourages parents to stress to their children how important it is to strive for success.
“Set positive expectations for the upcoming school year by verbalizing that it will be a great year,” she said. “Tell your child that he/she will be successful with effort. Some work will be difficult but with effort, difficult tasks can be achieved. Stress the importance of trying.”
For younger children, Scott tells parents to practice with them their full name as well as other family members’ names rather than calling them Mom, Dad or Grandma. Additionally, “Make sure your child knows at least one family member’s telephone number by memory so someone can be reached in the event something happens.”
Back-to-School sales are an enticing practice for parents to attain all the necessary tools a student may use to excel for the upcoming semester. Clothes, school supplies, electronics and other items are listed at discounted prices throughout several retail stores around the county.
Immunization shots are a requirement. Texas schools will not accept a student into a classroom full of other children without the proper vaccinations. This is to protect not only the other students but the teachers and school staff as well. Vaccinations include measles, mumps, tetanus, Hepatitis and more.
Don’t forget breakfast. It is a widely shared belief that a good morning breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Texas City Independent School District offers a complimentary breakfast program for all students in the district, said Melissa Tortorici, director of communications for the district.
“Proper nutrition in the school age years can reinforce lifelong eating habits that contribute to a student’s overall well being. This will help them to grow and learn to their fullest potential and then go on to lead a long healthy life,” Tortorici said.
It is helpful to have a homework station that is free of distractions, such as Internet — unless being used for homework — television and cellphones. Schedule an allotted time period for your child to complete homework. Be sure it is well lit and free of clutter. Discuss the homework station with your child before school begins so he or she will anticipate the routine.
Cmaidalka said that all children are not the same; meaning different homework techniques may work differently for certain individuals.
“Know what works best for your child. Some students work best in a quiet area, while others work better with a little noise such as playing music in the background,” Cmaidalka said. “For most students it works best to come home, have a snack and get homework done before allowing them to play.”
Debbie Phillips, executive director of curriculum and instruction for Clear Creek Independent School District, recommends keeping in contact with the child’s teacher throughout the semester.
“Communicate often with your child’s teacher if you have questions or concerns,” she said. “Also, be involved with your child’s school as much as possible. It takes a partnership to educate our children, and our parents are critical to our work.”
When classes resume for area schools
• Satori students return today
• Ambassadors Preparatory Academy and O’Connell College Preparatory School return Thursday
• The following schools will go back Monday: Clear Creek, Dickinson, Galveston, Friendswood, La Marque, High Island, Hitchcock, Santa Fe and the Texas City independent school districts, Premiere Learning Academy and Upward Hope Academy at St. Vincent’s House
• College of the Mainland, Galveston College and the University of Houston at Clear Lake begin classes for the fall semester Aug. 25; and Texas A&M University at Galveston begins classes Sept. 1