One View: Super 5 Power Moves for a successful school year

Nevada PTA Successful Schools

From the Reno Gazette Journal: http://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2016/09/15/one-view-super-5-power-moves-successful-school-year/90423146/

From Reno to Las Vegas, families across Nevada, including my own, have begun another school year. You may have questions about the challenges he or she may face this year, like: Will my son or daughter be able to keep up? Will he or she feel safe? Will he or she be happy?

As a father, and now as a grandfather, I have asked these questions myself; and as president of the Nevada Parent Teacher Association, I have heard similar questions from other parents across the state. We may be aware of in-school resources and value the role teachers, principals, and counselors play in supporting our students in the classroom, but as parents, we also want to know how to support our children at home.

This year, parents can help children start the school year off right with theSuper 5 Back-to-School Power Moves. The Super 5 is an online, interactive resource parents can use to prepare children for the academic and social-emotional challenges they may face this school year.

According to Parents 2016, a recent national survey commissioned by Learning Heroes in partnership with the National PTA and several national education organizations, parents identified themselves as the most responsible for their child’s success in school – more so than the same teachers, principals and counselors they relied on in the past for their support. Parents also said they could use tools, resources and information as well as the teachers, counselors and principals to help with their child’s academic and social-emotional development.

The Super 5, developed by the National PTA and Learning Heroes (an organization dedicated to equipping parents with information they need to help their children succeed in school) puts actionable, specific suggestions for how to get children off to a strong start this school year at parents’ fingertips, including:

1. Start smart

Schools today teach real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving to prepare students for success in college and life. Find out what your child is expected to learn this year and how to know if he or she is on track by talking to the teacher. You can also find grade-level expectations and other resources on BeALearningHero.org.

2. Support learning anywhere

Find easy ways to integrate learning into your life. Read every day. Ask an older child to add up the cost of items at the grocery store. Ask a younger child to name funny words that rhyme. Find an online learning game to do together.

3. Stay connected

You, your child and your child’s teacher are partners. At teacher meetings, bring your child’s most recent standardized test report and ask what the results mean. Find out what you can do at home to help.

4. Strengthen character

To encourage your child, focus on the effort and the lessons learned, instead of how well he or she did. This will help your child feel less nervous about new tasks or subjects. Teaching your child to embrace challenges can help him or her succeed in the classroom and beyond.

5. Speak openly

Share hopes and concerns as a family. Ask your child what he or she is most excited and nervous about for the school year and why. Then let the teacher know. Take pride in knowing that you are the expert on your child and can help your child live up to his or her fullest potential.

When it comes to supporting our children’s education, parents are the ultimate learning heroes. So let’s break out our capes and get those backpacks packed, pencils sharpened, and use the Super 5 Power Moves to help get our children ready for a successful school year.

David Flatt is president of the Nevada PTA.