Parents, Prepare to Begin the New School Year NOW

Parents, if you have school-aged children and you already know the school that they will attend for the upcoming  year, then you can begin preparing both your child and yourself  now-before the 1st day of school. There are things to be done, besides shopping for new clothes and school supplies in order to be ready for that first day. You can begin to make a list of any and all questions you may have for the teachers and staff as it pertains to your child and yourself, as well.

Whether this a new school for your child or a familiar one, you must be actively involved with those teachers-your child’s teacher in particular. You want that teacher to know your name and your face. The teacher must know that, no matter what your education level, culture or language of origin, your child’s best interest is your main concern. Make some time to visit the school, and introduce yourself to the teacher-with or  without your child.

A few days prior to Day One, staff will be in the school building preparing for the children. A most opportune time for intros will be then. If you don’t know the name of your child’s teacher this year, then when you arrive at the school, visit the main office, and ask someone. You want to know where your child will report on that first day.

Should you get the chance to meet your child’s teacher before school starts officially:

  •  Ask him or her, after you introduce yourself, of course, whether there are any specific demands or requests related to the curriculum, behavior, expectations, etc…
  • Ask about the types of established routines, , and tell the teacher a little something about your child. Mention any allergies, likes or dislikes, special talents, nicknames[or given name pronunciation]The idea is to exchange information , establish a relationship with the teachers and begin partnering in collaboration to maximize your child’s learning growth and achievement.
  • Tell your child’s teacher about your child’s specific personality traits, too. Is your child shy, talkative, bossy[a natural leader] or wear prescription eyeglasses, etc…?

If you are a working parent, outside of the home, you may wish to:

  • Tell the teacher what your normal availability is for emergencies or reporting concerns. Similarly, you may want to ask him or her what times are best for you to reach out, whether during or after school hours. Once again, the idea is to familiarize yourself with the facilities, the floor plan and it is a good for the school-based staff to understand that you are an engaged and involved parent, both in and outside of school.
  • Ask to see the textbooks that will be used to supplement your child’s learning instruction during the year, checking for unedited affirmation in facts and inclusiveness. If you are a person ‘of color’, then I would like to suggest that you ask your child’s teacher to utilize culturally rich and relevant diverse resources to guide instructional strategies and content. In fact, parents should insist upon a curriculum fully-embedded in diversely represented examples to illustrate instruction and reinforce pedagogy in the classroom-every classroom.

spotlightIt is vital that children see themselves and others who look like them in their classroom instruction during the school day-all children. It will greatly enrich their experiences and power up their learning, resilience and intrinsic motivation. This is especially important for children of color. Culturally relevant instruction will certainly encourage and enhance learner engagement and reduce potential boredom or behavior problems. Every child needs to receive a healthy balance of mirrors and windows, and children of color rarely are exposed to their mirrors[reflections in others who look like them] in school settings. This highlights the critical need for immediate everyday access to culturally affirming materials and resources. To help prepare your child for the upcoming school year the following tips will also help:


Set up a sleep routine. It’s best to establish bedtimes and wake-up times at least two weeks in advance of the start of school. By the first  day of school, your child’s body will have become accustomed to the schedule and oversleeping or insufficient sleep at night will be one less worry.

Plan healthy lunches and snacks. The better you plan out the meals in your home, the healthier choices you will make for your kids. When you pack protein-rich snacks and lunches, balanced with fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome items, you ensure that your children will have the energy and brainpower to make it through each school day.

Organize clothing. Of course you will need to donate or otherwise get rid of the clothing that your kids have outgrown, but you should also take the time to carefully organize what is left. From there, decide what items you may need more of before school begins.

Designate a ‘school stuff’ area. Find a central spot to store everything related to school, including backpacks, outfits or school uniforms and a dry erase calendar with family/school schedules. Try to keep this area free of clutter and other non-school items so that you and your child can find what you might need, when you need it—and quickly. Have them help you stock it with school-related items and keep it clean and functional.

Talk about bullying. Research shows that one in three kids experience bullying at some point in their school career—and in the increasingly digital world, the consequences can be extreme. Make sure your children understand the right way to treat their peers, and when to speak up if they see someone else being bullied. Also make sure they know when to come to you if they feel they are being bullied. Talk about classroom behavior and your expectations of good conduct at all times, also.

Talk about classroom etiquette. Encourage your child to speak up, raise their hands and to be unafraid to ask questions to the teacher when they are unsure or don’t fully understand a concept. It is far better to review that which is misunderstood than it is to allow teachers to assume that everyone is on the same page. It becomes more difficult for your child to catch up or move on to another lesson.

Ask your child to talk about any concerns. The start of school is exciting, but can also bring some anxiety—especially when it comes to the unknown. Take a few minutes to ask what your chilare most looking forward to during the school year, and what things may be worrying them. By giving them a forum to express their concerns, you can help them work through any worries in advance of school starting and clear up any issues that could lead to a bumpy start to the year.


Have a great school year, and have an engaged school year! Get as involved as you possibly can in all things learning and school. Teachers need to see you there, for in your absence, many often make an erroneous assumption that you do not care. Today’s parent, whether limited English proficiency, education level or time, MUST not feel intimidated by school staff-the experts on learning- because parents are THE quintessential experts on their children first. When both work together, learning at school is made more meaningful to you, your child, and educators. So collaborate with teachers, attend meetings, visit the school regularly[and unannounced, too], ask questions, address concerns, and be your child’s best advocate. Lastly, continue to build your own capacity to support your child’s development and your own as well.




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