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The issue: New school year
Our view: There's work for everyone
Summer break is over and it is time to get down to the business of education.
A new school year means a blank slate for students, but also parents, teachers and school administrators at all levels. Gearing up with the right supplies gets the year off to a good start.
A back-to-school list to optimize academic achievement should include more than binders, pencils or the latest calculator and involves not just students, but all who have a part in their success.
Before the first bell of the new school year rings, establishment of high standards will set the tone for each classroom and student.
School districts need to challenge themselves to be the best they can be, holding themselves accountable for excellence. Students and faculty will rise to a level of expectations and the bar must be set to ensure all students reach their full potential. If performance is not challenged, opportunities are missed — opportunities that cannot be made up.
Another vital part of a making this a successful school year is to approach each day with enthusiasm. Teachers create an atmosphere in the classroom and can do much to spark a student’s interest in a subject or conversely squelch a student’s desire to learn and grow. Even the most uninspiring subject can be exciting given the right approach, relevance and enthusiasm. Attitudes are contagious.
With high standards in place and enthusiasm sparked, a parent component becomes critical. Parents teach children to set priorities.
The foundation of learning in a child’s life begins at home. Placing priority on being prepared for class goes a long way in setting the stage for a positive, successful school year. Setting structured expectations and boundaries — such as weekday curfews, placing importance on homework and providing an atmosphere conducive to studying at home — sends a message that school is important.
Taking time to show interest in what a student is learning and celebrating efforts and successes reinforces self esteem and builds momentum toward future accomplishments. Also, being involved in a child’s school as a volunteer, learning teachers’ names and keeping communication open for honest feedback demonstrates a parent’s commitment and reaffirms that school is important.
When all the pieces of a student’s educational support network come together, he or she is responsible for organizational skills. Students who know what their assignments are, what to study or where to find materials they need can enjoy the process of learning with less stress and more opportunity to absorb material.
Ultimately, the success of a student lies within the heart and effort of that individual. While he or she can be encouraged, disciplined and guided by family and teachers, students need to learn to internalize personal responsibility of managing time and work as part of their education.
Going into a school year with the right tools determines the direction of the rest of the year. Getting a new year off to the best start possible increases odds that students will achieve goals — regardless of past efforts or results.
Education is such a vital part of our present and future as individuals and as a community. Striving to reach beyond self-imposed limits and encouraging others to do the same leads to exceeded results for students and across classrooms, schools and districts. Taking the time to get the year started right is worth the effort of everyone who has a role in a student’s success.
Let’s make the first day of class this year the best one yet and do the same with the days, semesters and years to follow.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.