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Monday, October 28, 2013

Advice for Parents

I ran across this article from our Association of School Boards this week;  3 Ways Parents can Help Teachers, and I find it to be a quick bit of solid advice.  In brief, the three ways are:

  1. Get educated about education.  If you're reading this blog I assume I may be preaching to the choir on this one.  As education changes and our districts change to follow best known practices, its always best for all patrons, especially parents, to be informed of the what, why and how of any change.  Staying in touch with the changes and asking the right questions is very important.  Which leads to #2.
  2. Forget your student experience.  Even if was just a decade ago, leaps and bounds of change are happening due to the rapid development of technology and our understanding of what engages current students best in their learning.  The Teacher Leadership concepts being funded by the State is one good example of that, as is the Common Core, Response to Intervention and grading reform among others.  Besides that, how well you did or didn't do in math at school doesn't really predict your children's success, or lack of, very accurately.
  3. Work with Teachers.  Teachers need you as a partner, support for their work and reinforcing it with your children will make all efforts more effective.  Its also OK to disagree, and to advocate for your student.  Just do it through the right channels so you and your child's teacher can understand each other and your opinions.  
Most importantly though, is to remember, teachers want the same for their students as parents do, future success.  A better life with better opportunities and more happiness along the way comes with successes in school.  

By the way, here's another blogger's list of things to help your students:
  • Make sure your kid goes to bed on time.
  • Read them a bed time story.
  • Talk to them.
  • Ask them about their day.
  • Have books in the house.
  • Read in front of them.
  • Eat healthy meals at regular times.
  • Turn off the t.v., the playstation, the gameboy, the iPad, the phone....
  • Have a conversation.
  • Teach your child to take personal responsibility.
  • Let your kid cut and glue things.
  • Teach them to say please, thank you, and excuse me.
  • Teach your child to cook, so they can follow directions.
  • Tell them not to shout indoors.
  • Don't always give them their way.
  • Say no sometimes. And then stick to it.
  • Count things.
  • Point out shapes and colors.
  • Go to museums, plays, concerts.....
  • Etc., etc., etc.,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Growing Pains

Anytime someone gets into a new partnership there will always be those times when one side does not think the other is holding up their side of the bargain.  NFV is not immune to that and it appears that Homecoming has brought out one of the bigger issues we need to deal with.  Two issues actually, and both negatively impact the MS students.

First of all, the Thursday Night parade has been in the works for two years.  We've been discussing it with city leaders and trying to make it work in many ways.  I think it has the potential to be a great homecoming tradition embraced by the communities and schools alike.  However, we missed a scheduling conflict between MS sports and parade night.  This is not intentional and with enough foresight and planning will be corrected in future if we continue to have Thursday parades.  At this point, however, we cannot change the scheduled activities.  We hope that many of the MS students will get back in time to see the parade, or at least the pep rally that follows it, but we apologize for missing this conflict in our schedules.

Along with Homecoming comes many, many different traditions that makes each school unique.  We have found that Valley's Homecoming festivities vary quite a bit from North Fayette's traditions.  While we can say the Parade is a "New NFV tradition"  (Isn't it an oxymoron to use new and tradition together?), we have tried to retain a mixture of old and new for both districts.  One of the Valley practices that they wanted to retain was allowing some of the Homecoming fun to be special for HS students and thus restricted to them.  Things like the dress up days.  In its place, Valley has used Red Ribbon Week as a fun and educational event late in October.  In respecting some traditions of each school's past we have retained that practice for this year.

Aside from Homecoming, I've heard some grumbling about how much more NF has done to change over the colors and signage around the school than Valley.  Please be patient, as it is in the works.  Many of the new things at North Fayette, like the scoreboard, banners, and other outdoor signage, were in the planning stages early last spring.  While NF was planning for these changes, Valley was struggling with other issues,  they just got a later start.  As the year goes on you'll see more and more changes in the outward appearance of the school.  Rest assured though, that inside those walls, all students are treated as NFV students, given expanded opportunities to learn and have a strong staff of caring and dedicated educators making their Middle School experience just as special as the High School students.

Dare I say, its only Homecoming?  Let keep our focus on the quality of education and the relationships we are building.  We know some of these issues will be difficult, and we know we can make them better next year.  The power of hindsight is a great thing, with your help and feedback that's what will make NFV better year after year.

Proud to Be NFV!