Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back-to-School Tips and the Common Core

Back-to-School Tips and the Common Core

The new school year starts on Monday September 9th for New York City students. Getting off to a good start can influence children’s attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically. Here are a few suggestions to help promote a successful school experience.
It’s important to know the people who will work with your child during the school year. Try to introduce yourself to your child’s teachers, paras, school secretary, pupil accounting secretary, the principal and assistant principal Make sure you have their full names and titles, their telephone numbers and location in the school (room numbers) and an understanding of their roles and responsibilities. In addition, there are a number of important documents that you should either have or request. These include the school’s discipline code and your child’s most recent individualized education plan (IEP,) When dealing with school officials, teachers and service providers, it’s important to document, document, document!  Write things down, keep a record of phone conversations, and establish a “Paper Trail. Also become informed about your child’s special needs affects their behavior and their ability to learn in the classroom and at home.

You should have a conversation with your child’s teachers and tell them about your child’s interests, fears, health concerns, etc. The best way to support your child’s needs is to build and maintain a strong, positive relationship with all the people at school who play a role in educating your child. Now is the time to nurture alliances with teachers, support staff, parents, students and others who impact you and your child.

Parents should also note that this is the second year that the Department of Education is carrying out the Common Core Learning Standards or the Common Core. These are national standards for teaching reading and math designed to a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn. The Common Core focuses on testing students from the third grade through high school; while students in kindergarten through second grade will not be tested, the Common Core will also affect them. Because the Common Core has more challenging expectations, many students who take these new tests will encounter great difficulty in achieving a passing score. Parents should be aware of this situation and be prepared to lend greater support to their children.

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