Thursday, August 29, 2013


The kids are antsy from the long vacation.  The malls are packed.  That’s right – it’s back to school time.  As a parent, what do you need to know?

For starters, it’s important to engage with your child’s teachers early.  According to Eric Sheninger, an award-winning Principal at New Milford High School, Back to School Night is vitally important to attend for face-to-face interaction and also a “good time to address potential problems at home that may interfere with your child’s success at school, such as family illness, divorce or economic struggles…these details can help a teacher better communicate with your child.”  You may also want to consider writing a brief note to your child’s teacher at the start of the school year conveying your interest in hearing feedback about his or her academic performance and behavior in the classroom.  This will create a smooth introduction, should miscommunication with your child or the school ever occur.

In an article “What Teachers Want You to Know” from USA Weekend, staying tapped into social media – whether it’s keeping up to date with your child’s online presence (the average young person spends 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen) or following classroom activity – is integral in a changing age of technology. Principal Sheninger also suggests setting up timetables for long projects and shying away from actually finishing projects for your children in the place of their own learning.

In anticipation of the back-to-school rush, the National Association of School Psychologists advises on re-establishing bedtime and mealtime routines now and weaning kids off the television, so the transition back to a more disciplined education setting is easier.  Additionally, teaching young children to make their own lunches the night before will instill a good habit and reduce stress on you for many years to come.

With that – I wish students and parents alike a much successful new school year!

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce represents parts of Morris, Essex, and Passaic Counties.  She serves on the Education Committee, Higher Education Committee, Joint Committee on Public Schools, and the Women and Children Committee.

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