Want families to feel welcome in your school? A family resource center can provide a vital link between home and school. The most effective family resource centers:

  • Make parents feel welcome. Provide comfortable seating, access to laptops or tablets, and free Wi-Fi.
  • Provide helpful information on a wide variety of subjects, from nutrition to discipline to study skills. Make sure written materials are translated into the languages families speak.
  • Offer classes. Survey families to identify specific topics of interest—from coping with divorce to handling homework.
  • Make services easier to obtain.  Many family resource centers offer a place for parents to meet with other service agencies, such as the health department and various employment agencies.

 

Work with parents to get students back on track

As teachers look through their grade books, they can probably already pick out students who are in danger of failing. Encourage teachers to work with parents to help students get back on track.

  • Cast a wide net. Don’t just alert parents of students who are already failing. Alert parents of D students as well.
  • Write a letter to parents outlining concerns. Invite them to work with you on creating an action plan for their child.
  • Make a list of everything the student needs to do. Include missed assignments and tests. If attendance has been a problem, include that as something for the student to work on.
  • Help the student set achievable goals. Failing students can feel overwhelmed. Help them create a schedule of what they need to do, and by when.
  • Follow up. Check with parents through emails or phone calls.

 

Quote of the Day

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“The fundamental pillars of school leadership are relationships; nothing substitutes for building and nurturing them.”

Joanne Rooney

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Research shows that school-based services delivered by teachers and other school professionals can be effective in reducing mental health problems in students. While not all schools have the staff, training or resources to provide mental health services, all schools can be proactive in identifying at-risk students and helping them get the support they need. .

  • Educate school staff on the warning signs of mental illness. Share a list of behaviors they should be on the lookout for.
  • Implement a clear reporting process. Who should staff members notify with concerns?
  • Develop a list of mental health resources in your community. Share it with staff members, parents and students.
  • Encourage teachers to have open discussions with students about mental health. This will help reduce the stigma and build students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject.

 

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Encourage teachers to ask parents for input

Parents can provide valuable insights into home life and other areas of students’ lives. And understanding the strategies parents use to address challenges at home can provide teachers with additional tools to use at school. Encourage teachers to tap into parent wisdom and ask questions, such as:

  • What are some strategies that have helped your child educationally in the past? Why do you think they have been successful?
  • What is your child passionate about?
  • How does your child spend free time?
  • Does your child display anxiety at home?
  • How much time does your child spend on homework? Are family members home to provide support during homework time?

did-you-know  Did You Know?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than half of lifetime mental illnesses begin before age 14. However, the average person waits 10 years after the first symptoms occur before getting treatment.

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Celebrate National Reading Month by hosting reading celebrations throughout March—and include parents in some of your events. Consider inviting families to a Breakfast Book Brunch:

  • Have a variety of books available so families can read while they snack on breakfast foods.
  • Invite a surprise guest reader to read a short book to families.
  • Provide take-home materials about the importance of reading.
  • Provide reading materials in the languages spoken by your school community.
  • Have mentors available to read with students whose family members cannot attend.

 

Reading support may be closer than you think!

Studies show that children who see older children reading for pleasure are more likely to seek out books themselves. To boost your students’ reading skills:

  • Pair older students with younger students. These reading buddies can meet during specified times to talk and read together. Older students can even make book recommendations.
  • Partner with other schools. Recruit local high school students to come read to classes or to provide literacy tutoring for your students.
  • Send information home to parents about the benefits of having older siblings or other children read with their child.

 

Quote of the Day

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“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

Abigail Adams

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Every child should have the opportunity to realize the American dream of graduating from high school ready to attend college. However, that dream is only possible if schools and parents work together. Schools know that parents have an enormous impact on their children’s academic success. And while most parents value education, they don’t realize that what they do (or don’t do) now determines whether or not their children will graduate from high school and go on to college. Consider hosting workshops and family events that:

  • Show parents how to be actively involved in their children’s education.
  • Help parents understand the important role they play in their children’s success in school.
  • Encourage parents to become partners in their children’s education through elementary school and beyond.

 

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Four ways schools can support low-income families

Students living at or below the poverty rate tend to have the highest dropout rates. Here are four ways schools can support low-income families:

  1. Help families meet basic needs. Parent liaisons can link families with community organizations to help with the basics of food, clothing and shelter.
  2. Provide before-school and after-school childcare. Low-income students are more likely to arrive at school late or be picked up from school early because of parents’ inflexible work schedules. Before- and after-school childcare ensures that students can experience a full day of school.
  3. Consider forming parent support groups. Parents might be able to pool their resources for things like childcare on days off from school and transportation to and from school for their children.
  4. Make sure low-income students have basic school supplies. Work with community business partners to ensure that all children have access to the items on your school supply list

did-you-know  Did You Know?

Next month is Music in Our Schools Month. How will your school celebrate? Consider adding a musical touch to your morning announcements. Try having a “mystery tune” each day, or a music trivia question.

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The most effective school principals use a combination of strategies to make sure their students, their staff––and their school––are the best they can be. Follow these five tips for success:

  1. Have a positive attitude. Your demeanor establishes the tone for everyone in the school.
  2. Support your teachers. Listen to teachers and promote their professional growth. Make sure they feel valued and respected.
  3. Pick your battles. Overlook small issues but fight for what is important.
  4. Don’t worry about being popular. Make decisions based on what’s right, even when you know those decisions won’t please everyone.
  5. Collaborate with other principals. Share what’s working and what’s not working in your schools and brainstorm ways to work together to find solutions.

 

Engage families during Women’s History Month

Next month is Women’s History Month. Start planning now so you can involve students, families and community members in your school’s celebration. Here are some ideas:

  • Have staff members share a short paragraph on a favorite book written by a female author. Post these on a bulletin board or share them on your school’s social media. Invite everyone in your school community to share their favorites using a hashtag, such as #womenwriters or #readwomen.
  • Identify successful women in your community—an elected official, a medical professional, an auto mechanic, etc. Invite them to visit the school throughout the month to talk about what they do.
  • Involve families in researching their family history. During the month, have students interview parents or grandparents to find out about interesting women in their family.

 

Quote of the Day

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“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain

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