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Keys to Successful School Year Involves Parents, Teachers and Children Building Strong Relationship and Partnerships

HOUSTON- A successful school year starts with parents and children being on the same page and committed to strategies of cooperation and communication with teachers and administration.

Career educator and school expert Dr. Shanessa Fenner believes that starting on the right foot begins when clear goals and objectives are established with parents and children and each understands their roles in making that school experience the best it can be.

“The success and education of our children is a priority,” Fenner said. “I want all children to have the best opportunity at achieving success at every level of their education experiences. We are partners in preparing them for life.”

Fenner, is an Elementary Principal at William T. Brown Elementary School in Spring Lake, N.C. for over a decade. She also is also a print model, actress, songwriter and has her own local TV show, “Let’s Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner.” and has been featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the nation’s most eligible bachelorettes, received numerous awards, and has been voted one of the most influential women.

Fenner offers guidelines for success for both to start the year off and set the course that results in building stronger relationships, good behaviors and ultimately good grades.

For parents, she offers the following tips and advice for parents to have a positive school year.

One of the most important elements of educational success is to become actively involved in your child’s education.

“The child needs to see that you and the teacher are on the same team from the beginning,” Fenner said. “We wants parents to form and have positive relationships with the school.”

She said one of the problems with developing these relationship occurs when teachers and principals only visit the school when your child is in trouble.

“Remember that the school is on your side,” she said. “Do not let your child see you argue with the teacher.

She said that one of the best ways to keep communication lines open is to visit the school and have lunch with your child, become a volunteer or join the PTA/PTO.

Reestablish school routines

Fenner said about two weeks before school starts have your child wake up at the time he/she gets up when school is in session. This will prepare them so they won’t be so sleepy and tired when school begins.

“Begin talking with your child about the school routine and what is expected,” she said. “Your child should report to school daily and on time because instructional time is precious and every minute counts.”

Go to the school and register your child for the upcoming school year

The first day of school can be hectic so plan to register your child ahead of time.

She said to make sure your child has the required vaccinations before school starts. Also, the school should have all of the correct phone numbers to get in touch with you and in case of an emergency.

It is a leader’s fear to not be able to contact a parent in a serious situation,” she said.

Attend open house to meet your child’s teacher.

Fenner said it is important to schedule a conference with the teacher as soon as possible if you have things you want to discuss about your child. Also constant communications daily and weekly are very important and ensures the goals and objectives remain at the forefront and child does not get lost in busy schedules and life priorities.

“Keep in touch with the teacher via email, phone, or student agenda,” she said. “These are key things to use as a communication tools from the school to the home.”

Fenner added to make sure that if the child has any medical conditions, please let the teacher and school nurse know immediately.

Limit TV time and video games.

“It is very important to read nightly with your child for at least 30 minutes,” she said. “This help prepare the child for learning and improves his reading skills and comprehension abilities.”

According to Fenner, it is important to also have your child read to you and you read to your child and ask questions for comprehension in the process.

“Get them into the routine of reading and never use reading as a punishment,” she said. “Reading opens the mind up for learning and that helps the teacher as she teaches the children.”

Other ways to promote education during off school hours it to have a designated quiet area where your child can read and do their homework. Also, set up regular times to schedule taking children to the library and let children choose books that they want to read and on the correct level.

If your child has a problem or is being bullied make an appointment with the Principal immediately.

Do not ignore issues with children. Bullying is a serious matter that can have devastating effects.

“Have conversations with your child about what is happening in their lives,” she said. “If they are being bullied, know the signs and communicate information to school principal as soon as possible.”

Fenner said opening lines of communication can effectively prevent and underlying problems or concerns over bullying, peer pressure or other problems.

Discuss the importance of education with your child and how efforts lead to rewards.

She said parents need to know and understand that learning begins at home.

“We want parents to instill in your child that it is imperative to become a lifelong learner,” she said. “Please discuss with them your expectations about academics.”

It is also valuable to educators if parents celebrate the academic successes and achievements of their children.

According to Fenner, helping youth understand that their education is a lifelong undertaking, is powerful and that should not be taken for granted.

“Education is the one thing that cannot be taken away from you,” she said. “A quality education should be valued.

 By: Darwin Campbell