Making Today Count: Preparing for Back-to-School!
The 2018-2019 school year is upon us!
I have always looked forward to the start of a new school year, as a teacher, administrator, and Superintendent of Schools. The excitement is contagious for both our school staff and students. I recently spoke with a student and her mother at the local Target store while they were purchasing school materials in preparation for the upcoming school year. Both the student and parent were enthusiastically talking about the possibilities that the new school year could bring, from time spent in the school marching band to new challenges from an Advanced Placement course. I felt the excitement of the student as she spoke about her hopes for the upcoming year. It reminded me of the excitement felt each year as I plan for the implementation of our annual goals, initiatives, and planned visits to each of our schools. Expecting the unknown, and experiencing feelings of uncertainty, can be both invigorating and a bit worrisome.
Feelings of uncertainly can be heightened for our students in the “transition years,” – students entering kindergarten or first grade, students moving from elementary to the intermediate school, or students entering middle school and high school. We recognize that these transition years bring more challenges to students as they enter a larger building with more students and staff, encounter different expectations, and experience new self-management skills. The anxiety that students may feel in anticipation of this transition is quite normal, and they need to be reminded that school staff will support them during this important time.
I recently read an informational article about back-to-school planning published by MindShift, an educational podcast focused on the exploration on the future of learning, cultural and technological trends, and innovation in education: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/49130/tips-to-help-kids-with-back-to-school-anxiety. The article titled “Tips to help kids with back to school anxiety,” offers strategies to help students make the transition effectively back to school. As noted in the article by Lynn Bufka, a practicing psychologist who also works at the American Psychological Association, “Going back to school is a transition for everyone …. no matter the age of the child or if they’ve been to school before.” This applies to both students and their parents. The transition can be significant to everyone in the family, but there are proven tips for making the transition successful, from creating a positive expectation to starting the back-to-school routine early.
We have been busy preparing for the start of the school year, and are excited for students to arrive on August 27. The day will be special for everyone, both students and staff!