, Salem, MA


March 14, 2014

Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: Tips to help parents manage springtime school ramp-up

Parents, educators and, most of all, students recognize that from now until the end of the school year, academic pressure and demands will increase exponentially. Early indicators of how students are faring with increased expectations are progress reports and reports cards that will be sent home this week or next. If that’s not the case, finals, midterms and gearing up for standardized exams make academic workloads tougher. The period of review that occurred before the end of calendar year is over, and new learning, along with multistep projects and papers, are now the standards.

What can parents do if they already feel overwhelmed, given that it’s just the beginning of springtime school ramp-up?

1. Acknowledge the problem when it’s there. The reason a parent would be reacting is because they see their children struggling and appearing lost or even helpless. First, parents need to acknowledge that this is a potential problem that will get worse if it’s not addressed. Parents can’t do the actual schoolwork for their children, but they can facilitate a path to clear the way for improvement.

2. Accept the reality that academics will be substantially more difficult between now and the end of year than it was during the previous part of the school year, when much of the work was review.

3. Know that with MCAS here next week (or for high schools, MCAS started last week), teachers, school staff and educators in general are going to be feeling more pressure. Try not to react to this by backing off or taking it personally if teachers do not readily embrace your requests for contact and answers. Be persistent and don’t react to teachers’ reactions. They are stressed in general, not because you called them. Insist that your child participate in part of the conference with the teacher. Make a plan with your child present for accessing extra help in school.

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