New to school? Here's what parents think you should know right off the bat
Going back to school means getting back to the same grind of meals, rides, sports, clubs … and going back to running on autopilot. But there is a subset of parents who don’t have these seasoned routines, because it’s their first time having a child go off to school every day.
If you are a parent who will drop off your little one or watch them climb the steps of the bus for the first time this week, here is some advice that has helped other parents find success for their children.
There are so many ways to get involved at a school as a parent, including countless ways to volunteer. It could be cashiering at the book fair, or maintaining lines on picture day, or helping out at your school’s family-fun night.
And then there is always the opportunity to participate in the PTA, which allows for familiarization with administration and the chance to influence school decisions. Laura Rogacki, the president of Commack Road Elementary School’s PTA, says that the best thing parents can do is get involved in the school community.
“There is a wonderful chance to get to know the community and know what is happening in our schools and at board meetings,” said Rogacki, who has two children entering fourth grade. “The more you get involved, the more you will feel part of the community.”
Rogacki added that some parents steer clear of school organizations like the PTA because of cliquiness, but believes parents in Islip School District are not like that at all.
Involving yourself in your child’s education is just as vital as anything when sending them off to school. Communicating with teachers is a must. Amy Plica, a teacher of 17 years who now works at LIU’s Center for Community Inclusion, concurs.
“Ask questions and don’t be afraid or intimidated to play an active role in your child’s education,” Plica said. “It’s fun and you will be fulfilled having been a part of your child’s growth. The teacher(s) only have your child for the next 10 months; you have them for life. Make sure your children see you learning and growing, too. Develop and maintain good relationships and communication with your child’s school, too.”
Another aspect of a child’s education, parents say, is growth. Independence is crucial to that growth. Children should be able to learn new skills in both academics and life.
Every school district has opportunities to help children succeed and for parents to get involved. Whether it’s sports, music, art, clubs, or something else, parents say these extracurriculars help to round out students’ experiences and help them grow as people.
For more information on specific programs that are available, talk with your child’s teacher or visit your district’s website.
-Glenn Rohrbacker contributed to this story.